AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Campus FireWatch made a video that encourages parents to tour the house or apartment where their child will be living before they sign a lease. If you can’t do it in person, you can also do it through Skype.
In Amherst, there have been 4 fire-related deaths in off-campus student housing since 1988. Nationally, 170 students have died in off-campus housing fires since 2000.
The Amherst Fire Department told 22News landlords need to be responsible. Assistant Fire Chief Don McKay said, “It’s difficult for us to discover those areas where the landlord is not paying as much attention unless we have parental and student involvement.”
According to Ed Comeau, a publisher at Campus FireWatch, “Right here in the Five College area there are so many students. There’s definitely not enough housing on campus, so it’s critically important that this time of year, when everybody is finalizing their leases for next fall, the parents are engaged in looking into the conditions of the places that their kids are going to be moving into.”
Parents should look for smoke detectors, and make sure there are two ways out of a building. It’s also a good idea to inspect the stove and electrical outlets for damage.