It’s getting to be that time of year again – the holidays! Many residence halls will be having decorating contests to see who can be the most creative or outlandish. Most kids don’t think of the potential dangers posed by their holiday decorations. I have to admit that I never thought much about college dorm rooms or apartments, but as the parent of a college freshman, that has changed. Even though my daughter is a commuter, many of her friends are in dorms or off-campus housing. When I think of her staying over with her friends, I get a bit nervous (okay, terrified!). I ask that you share the following important tips with your students this holiday season from NFPA and The Center for Campus Fire Safety.
- Candles – the best type of candles are battery operated. There is no open flame to worry about, and their effect is just as pretty. Be sure to turn them off when leaving or going to bed.
- Ornaments/Hanging Decorations – don’t hang anything from the fire sprinklers or smoke alarms. Don’t use real garland or trees, they are potentially flammable. Use only decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant. Do not block doors or windows, they could be escape routes in the event of an emergency.
- Lights – be sure to use strings of lights meant for inside if decorating inside your residence. Use strings of lights labeled for outdoor use when decorating outside. Read the packaging for the number of strands you can connect. Check to make sure the cords are in good condition. Replace any string of lights with worn or damaged cords. Don’t run cords of any kind under rugs, and unplug them all before leaving your residence or going to bed.