When your son or daughter went off to college this fall, did he or she find a safe place to live?
Big old houses near a campus are traditional accommodation for many university students. Formerly single-family dwellings, some of these buildings were first converted to student housing a half-century ago. They may have been adequate at the time, when the average student arrived with an electric radio and a manual typewriter. Today’s student typically hauls in an array of electronic devices—computer, printer, television, video player, game gadgets, microwave and hair dryer. And typically, the houses have not been updated with wiring to handle this electrical demand.
Besides outdated and inadequate wiring, a historic house might also lack fire protection equipment such as alarms and escape stairs. Early-day insulation and wall coverings may burn more easily than today’s building materials. In addition, security and good lighting may be lacking. Maybe you should have a look at your student’s new home. If it is not safe, consider helping with a move to better quarters. Other ways to assist would be installation of smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, portable escape ladders and security bars.