Don’t Panic - What to do when these 10 things happen
- Written by Francisco Peres, who is the content guy at Uniplaces - the global, trusted brand for student accommodation.
All of these lessons were learned from real-life crises that I went through in my 3 years at the University of Hull.
1. Your smoke detector starts beeping and it won’t stop
Don’t panic. It’s just out of battery. Buy a new set of batteries and replace them with the old. If you need some help, this slightly annoying video will show you how.
2. When the smoke detector actually goes off
Discover what’s making it go, it could actually be something serious.
More likely, your housemate’s burnt some toast (again!). Don’t panic: the firealarm isn’t actually connected to the firestation. It’s actually pretty easy to turn a fire alarm off, just click the small silence button on the smoke detector.
3. But if something’s actually on fire…
Right, time for action. Grab a pair of shoes, if you’ve got a jacket or blanket handy bring them along and go outside immediately. Call for the firemen (999 in the UK). Whatever you do, stay outside. Don’t go back in for your laptop or your wii or because you decided you needed some tea to calm the nerves.
This might be a good time to call your landlord and let him know what’s happening.
4. Police turn up to a house party
First of all, go you!
Nothing says you’re throwing a first rate house party like having the boys in blue on your guest list.
On the other hand, this is the beginning of the end.
Have somebody lock the trouble-maker (that one friend who always picks a fight with the authority when drunk) in a closet and go to the door. Be polite, apologise and when you go back inside turn the music a little lower.
5. When somebody hanging out of their window falls from the second floor
This is pretty serious, so be careful here. You don’t try to move the guy.
Call emergency services (999 for the UK), ask for an ambulance, and try to keep people from trying to move him or her around.
6. All the power in the house suddenly dies
You need to find out if the power cut was internal or if the whole neighbourhood’s down. Head out to a window and see if anybody else has got their lights on. If the neighbourhood’s all dark, you just have to cope with using phones and candles until the central turns the lights back on.
On the other hand, if the rest of the neighbourhood still has power, use your phone as a flashlight and go look for the power box. While all the others are up, one of the switches will probably be turned down. Flick that one back up!
7. If you start smelling gas and you know it’s not your flatmate
Don’t turn any lights, play with any switches, smoke or use a lighter. Open all the windows and doors. If you’re in the UK, call the free emergency number on 0800 111 999.
8. That moment you find there’s nothing in your fridge
Everybody has that one friend they can count on for everything and usually it takes a real emergency like this to find out who’s who. If this is the first time that it happens to you, start making calls. Maybe it’s really obvious and you guess right at the first call - sometimes it’s so not obvious that the answer will surprise you.
9. You bring somebody home and your condom stash is empty
You are not MacGyver: I really recommend you not to improvise here after what happened to a friend who thought a party balloon would be a good substitute. Bookmark this website, find the nearest 24 h pharmacy, put on your jogging shoes and hit the road.
Bonus: you’ll find just how much you like the person you left waiting by how fast you find yourself running.
10. It’s all fun and games until somebody’s internet connection dies
Plug and unplug the router, switch it on and off, restart your computer, call your service provider, get tired of being asked to hold on the line and hang up, immediately regret that decision, call your service provider again and repeat until you finally get through. In the meantime, while the problem is being solved, consider heading out to somewhere with wi-fi, like one of these great spots in London to study.
These are probably the 10 most important things I learned from living on my own when I started living on my own at University. I hope you don’t have to put any of them in practise - but if you do, I think that if you remember what I told you, you’ll manage just fine.