• Look before you lease: Make safety a priority when selecting off-campus housing

    August 12, 2016

    Make safety a priority when selecting off-campus housing

    93458bbfa2a8829ebe34ff2ba3e689f8_f2771.jpgYour college kid sounds very excited over the phone. She and her friends have found a great old apartment building with a three-room unit they can afford. Can she sign the lease?

    "The apartments were built in 1911," your daughter says. "You should see the old ironing board that springs out from a kitchen cabinet! It's so cool."

    She's right about one thing: You should go see the apartment. Not for the ironing board, but to check the building and her unit for safety.

    According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), 94 percent of fatal college fires between 2000 and 2015 occurred in off-campus housing. In nearly 60 percent of fatal fires, there were no working smoke alarms. Electrical problems caused 11 percent of fatal fires, and 9 percent were caused by cooking.

    So take a tour of your daughter's dream rental, whether it's an apartment or a house. If you can't check off all the items below, it could be a nightmare—and you might not want to sign the lease

    • A working smoke alarm should be outside every sleep area and in every bedroom on every floor.
    • Every room has two unblocked ways to get out. (A window counts as an exit.)
    • Any bedroom above the first floor has an escape ladder or stairway.
    • The apartment (or house) has two unblocked ways out.
    • The unit's electrical system can safely handle the power demands of computers, printers, TVs and other appliances. One thing to look for: multiple electrical outlets throughout, which help avoid electrical overload.
    • The stove is in good working order.
    • Smoking is not allowed in the building. An indoor ban may not be good enough, however,keep in mind that many off-campus smoking-related fires start in upholstered couches and chairs on outside porches and decks, according to the USFA. Look to see if neighbors have upholstered furniture sitting outside their home. That may be a cause for concern.

    Additional sources: Campus Firewatch; U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

    • Loud Snoring May Be a Sign of Sleep Apnea

      If you frequently wake in the morning without feeling completely rested and have a difficult time staying awake during the day, or your bed partner complains about your loud snoring at night, you may have sleep apnea.

      read more

    • Cardiac Ablation Therapy at Bassett Healthcare Network

      Fred Hendricks lived with an abnormal heart rhythm for years and because his heart wasn’t working right, he had significant trouble getting around. Then he met Dr. James Storey and the rest of the electrophysiology team at Bassett, who fixed Fred’s bad heart using a technique known as cryoablation.

      read more