Being a student is great: you get your independence, get to choose what and when to eat, and there’s no curfew! However, being an adult also includes a number of responsibilities that many people – young and old – often ignore.

Whether it’s your first time moving into halls or you’re in your final year before graduation, here’s a few tihngs you should be doing (or not!) to keep yourself safe.

Don’t cover your detector in your bedroom

It’s a legal requirement for landlords and university halls to install detectors which will typically be placed in bedrooms as well as communal areas such as kitchens and hallways. There is a reason for this: it’s a life-saving tool! Covering it up to avoid setting it off due to bad cooking or whatever other reasons is typically prohibited and should never be done. Should one of your appliances overheat at night, the detector won’t go off and you may find yourself in a room full of toxic smoke. Keep safe by leaving detectors uncovered.

Never leave your cooking unattended

Cooking

It’s tempting to walk away from the kitchen to use the bathroom or simply just to let things simmer (after all, that student recipe book your Grandma got you did say to leave it simmering for 15 minutes, right?) but kitchen fires can be lethal. Students have a reputation for not being the cleanest adults but in the kitchen, a dirty surface or appliance can cause serious problems. Overflowing pots, greasy hobs and ovens, and uncleaned appliances can ignite with little warning and it only takes minutes for the whole kitchen to be ablaze. To be on the safe side, ask a friend to watch your cooking if you do need to leave the room.

Always lock your door and never leave windows open

Open window

We’ve all seen the hilarious photos of people coming back from lectures having left their room door on the latch only to find their housemates have wrapped everything in foil. However, it may not always be innocent fun that awaits you when you come back. By not locking your door, you’re leaving your possessions open to anyone walking through (who may not be part of your flat or even a student at all). It is also very important to lock all doors of private houses when you leave and before you go to bed. Intruders know the student areas of town and are likely to take advantage of poor security concerns like leaving doors on a latch or having windows open while you’re out.

Make sure your housemates are equally cautious

keys

You may have the best intentions but some of your housemates may not be as interested in safety. Many young people follow the attitude of “I’m sure it’ll be fine” but there’s no harm in protecting yourself just in case. Make sure your housemates are locking the doors if they’re the last to leave and that the kitchen is kept to a safe standard of clean. Also, having multiple keys makes you more of a risk as there are multiple opportunities to lose them or leave them lying in easy-to-reach places. Speak with your housemates to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to the importance of security, especially if your house doesn’t have an alarm system in place.

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