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Why Are Students Falling Out of Windows?

April 9th, 2014 · No Comments

There seems to be an epidemic of young people, especially university students, falling out of windows as of late.
Unfortunately, drugs and/or alcohol seem to be involved in many of the cases.

Some Recent Cases:

  • April 8, 2014, a University of Washington student is found critically injured outside a Fraternity house after apparently falling three stories out a window.
  • March 23, 2014 a student at a UNC in Charlotte fell out of  a dorm window to his death.
  • January 21, 2014, a 19-year-old Penn State student suffered  injuries after falling from a second-floor balcony.
  • September 2013, a 19-year-old University of Minnesota student dies after falling from a 6th floor window.

…and the list goes on.

In this most recent case of the the critically injured UW student, there was alcohol reported on the scene, but the Seattle Times reported that  UW Police Chief John N. Vinson said “we don’t know what happened yet, and I hesitate to speculate.” The student was taken to Harborview Medical Center and has been reported to be in serious condition.

The question that needs to be addressed is how to get the word out to this vulnerable population of young people to pay attention to safety hazards when they are out partying, or hanging out with friends.

It’s entirely possible that some of these kids are living on their own for the first time and are just not making informed choices as to placement of furniture and beds in proximity to windows. Another problem is the overcrowding on balconies during parties or gatherings. That’s how the Penn State student fell; after navigating his way through a crowd, he was apparently stepping on chairs and other furniture and he stumbled over the balcony.

Mistakes are made, especially for an age group that is notorious for risk taking, but these unfortunate mistakes could be prevented with some good old common sense. Here are a few tips I modified to speak to college aged kids from The National Safety Council on Window Safety:

Windows play a vital role in home safety, serving as a secondary escape route in the event of a fire or other emergency, but they can also pose a risk for a fall if safety measures are not followed. Follow these guidelines to prevent window-related injuries in the home:
  • Keep windows closed and locked when not in use
  • Don’t rely on insect screens to prevent a fall, they are designed to provide ventilation, not to prevent a fall from a window
  • Keep furniture, or anything guests can climb, away from windows
  • If you notice someone is intoxicated and in dangerous proximity to a window, take measures to protect them by guiding them away, or close the window.
  • Make sure nothing is blocking or preventing a window from being opened in the case of an emergency

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