Cars are full to bursting and mums are clutching a box of tissues, it can mean only one thing —students are heading off to university.
Your young ones might only be interested in Facebook updates from friends, but have you checked out the standard of the student accommodation? Whether they are in halls or digs, you need to be aware of the potential hazards. Put simply, it could make the difference between life and death.
Here are a few of the most obvious dangers…
Dubbed the silent killer, carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas which has no smell or taste. It is produced when fuels such as gas, oil and coal don’t burn properly, so household appliances such as gas boilers, gas fires, gas cookers and open fires need to be checked.
Breathing in carbon monoxide can be fatal, while smaller doses will leave you feeling unwell. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning aren’t always obvious, particularly at low levels. If you suffer from headaches, dizziness, nausea, tiredness and breathing difficulties, consult a doctor immediately.
The best and easiest form of defence is to ensure that there is a tested and working carbon monoxide alarm in rooms containing a fuel burning appliance. If the property contains gas appliances, ask the landlord or letting agent for the latest gas safety certificate to prove that servicing has been done annually.
The law states that smoke alarms should be installed on every level in student accommodation and that they should be tested weekly.
The most common causes of fires are cheap electrical goods, such as phone chargers. Cheap chargers might look the part, but inside they contain poor quality components which are prone to overheating. In fact, most would fail UK safety regulations. Always use the manufacturer’s charger which has been supplied with the phone and never leave any electrical device to charge overnight.
The Master Locksmith Association, the leading trade association of the locksmiths, has just issued new advice to landlords of student properties. A recent study discovered that one in four students are burgled during their time at university, with £25 million lost to thieves since 2014.
Some 80% of student thefts occur at city universities, where privately-rented, multiple occupancy student accommodations are more common.
Prevention is key, so check your accommodation for security measures, identify potential weak spots such as old doors, and bring your own lockable containers such as safes.
Going to university or college is one of the best, and most defining, experiences of a young person’s life, so make sure it is also one of the safest.
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