Many college students throughout the country are set to move into dorm rooms this autumn after a year of coronavirus shutdowns and online learning. Students must first gather all of the items they’ll need to make their dorm both homely and functional, from general bath and kitchen necessities to design and style solutions, before they can move in. Cooking utensils are also on some students’ minds: While most college dorms include a communal kitchen — either in the building or on campus — these modest appliances allow students to prepare meals in the privacy of their rooms.
Small kitchen appliances can assist students in preparing food when the meal plan is unavailable or in reducing their reliance on takeout. However, due to fire and safety concerns, schools and institutions often have severe guidelines when it comes to cooking appliances in dorm rooms. From 2015 to 2019, fire departments responded to an estimated average of 3,840 structural fires in dormitories, Greek housing, and other similar facilities, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Each year, these incidents resulted in 29 civilian injuries and $11 million in direct property damage. According to the NFPA, cooking equipment was responsible for about 87 percent of reported dormitory fires during this time period, with peak months being September and October at the start of the school term.
We asked university housing and campus fire specialists which appliances are too risky to store in dorm rooms, as well as their advice on how to be safe if you do bring any equipment with you. Always double-check the guidelines on your university’s website and housing policy papers to confirm that everything you’re bringing will fit in your room.