Within the next few weeks, college campuses across the country will be jammed full of excited kids and weeping parents as these students move into their new quarters for the school year. Many students are getting their first taste of living on their own. Below are some safety tips to share with college students to help keep them and their belongings safe during the school year.
o DO keep your dorm room door locked at all times. Many kids will keep their doors unlocked when visiting a friend a few rooms away, thinking that no one will enter their room if they are only gone for a few minutes or are so close to their room. This cannot be further from the truth. Many electronics are small and portable and can be stolen in 30 seconds if left unattended. Whether you are making a quick trip to the restroom or hanging out in the room next door, keep your door locked.
o DON’T leave candles/incense unattended. Candles and incense are big on college campuses. Small rooms crammed with at least two people can smell a little funky, so many students use these items to help freshen up the air. Leaving these unattended while lit can be a huge fire hazard. The flame is not the only issue with candles and incense. The heat from the candle and the ash from the incense are enough to start a fire.
o DO remove dryer lint from lint trap before running dryer. Many students, I am sure, are used to Mom and Dad doing their laundry. Living at college is their first real experience with washing and drying their clothes regularly. Dryer fires are common on college campuses because many students do not clean the lint trap in the dryer and dispose of the lint properly. Dryer lint is like kindling and can catch fire from the heat put off by the dryer. Be sure to clean the lint trap before turning on the dryer every time you use it.
o DO plug electronics into surge protectors and frequently save all work. There is nothing worse than being up until 2:00 a.m. finishing a 20-page paper only to have your computer shut down or short out before you’ve saved your work. Surge protectors will help keep your electronics from being fried due to an overload from your neighbor’s hair dryer. Saving your work frequently will help prevent a late night meltdown when the computer shuts because the battery dies or someone kicks the plug.
o DON’T post when you will be away on Facebook or other social media sites. In today’s social media-crazed society, many people think nothing of posting their plans, even when it means they will be away from their home for a weekend or longer. If you post that you are going home for the weekend, this may give someone who sees that post an opportunity to break into your room and rob you blind. Posting on social media is not like telling your friends your plans. It’s more akin to posting your plans in the newspaper.
Some of these tips may seem like common sense, but they are all derived from actual incidents. Many people have that old “it won’t happen to me” mentality, but these situations can and do happen. Do you have any other safety tips for college students to protect themselves?