Dorm Room Safety: What Every Student And Parent Must Know

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With back-to-school just around the corner and many students going off to college for the first time, it’s the right time to discuss dorm room safety. Most students will end up in a dorm room or off-campus apartment, and that means they will most likely end up living next to some pretty interesting people at some point. To help navigate this new experience, Frank Rivera, director of digital marketing for ADT Security Systems, recently shared some helpful tips for establishing and maintaining a safe environment. Here’s what he recommends.


Develop A Personal Security Plan

The first thing to familiarize oneself with when going to college is campus security. Every campus has some type of staff devoted to this function, and according to Rivera, they can be invaluable. “Most schools offer orientation and guided tours of the campus. With a personal security plan in mind, make this a perfect opportunity to discover the fastest routes to the security office and to make sure you get the correct emergency numbers to dial.”

Parents, Rivera also encourages you to become an active participant in your college student’s security plan. “Once your child knows their schedule, it’s very important that they share that information with you and someone they really trust as part of the security plan. Planning different walking routes between classes and their dorm is a great way to protect your child from being followed.”

Rivera continued: “Security awareness is crucial. Dorm rooms have a lot of visitor traffic. Explain to your child that if they feel unsafe or see anything suspicious happening, it is better for them to contact campus security immediately rather than let the issue go on.”


Dorm Room Mobilization

One of the most frustrating things about dorm life is that a freshman rarely gets to pick who they end up having as a roommate. Not all of these assigned roommates will be trustworthy. “In order to protect against this uncertainty you may need some dorm room security products such as room safes, insurance, and laptop locks to keep your things safe,” Rivera cautions. “Room safes can be as inconspicuous as a book or can blend in to a drawer without notice. Locking up jewelry, checkbooks, and other valuables when not around can deter would-be snatch and grab thieves.”

Parents, do you have any students who play music, or do they own any expensive jewelry? If so, Rivera urges you to purchase an insurance plan for recovering the value of stolen or destroyed items as the added cost is much cheaper than replacing the items out of pocket.

Rivera continued: “Valuables that don’t fit in a safe or are uninsurable could benefit from something as simple as labeling. Labeled items help solve ownership disputes and act as a simple but effective theft deterrent.”


Fire Safety

When a student moves in to a dorm, they are sharing a building with potentially more than a hundred people. The opportunity for accidents to happen is greater than anyone would care to admit. Rivera urges parents and students to brush up on their fire safety intelligence before moving day.

He suggests checking smoke alarms regularly, and unplugging hairdryers, curling irons and straighteners when not in use.

“In some older buildings,” Rivera adds, “replacing high wattage light bulbs with energy efficient or lower wattage light bulbs can prevent overheating and fire. Candles can be the most dangerous item in a dorm room. A lot of colleges do not allow the use of candles in dorm rooms but for those that do, watch and wait for an extra second or two to ensure that the blown out candle doesn’t reignite. Extinguish all flames when not in the room or before going to bed. Some simple, common-sense fire safety precautions can keep everyone safe from common accidents.”


In Summary

While it’s true that you can never be 100 percent guarded against an accident from happening, you greatly reduce the risks by being equipped with knowledge and paying attention to your surroundings. By talking about safety and planning properly, you or your child’s semester can be a great one.

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