Sara Gamin Authors Opinion Column on Student Apartment Fire Hazards
Sara Ganim, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information Hearst Journalism Fellow, is the author of “Too Many Student Apartments Are Overcrowded Fire Hazards Unfit for 21st Century Life,” an opinion column published on pennlive.com on Jan. 9.
Ganim, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and producer of the Brechner Center podcast “Why Don’t We Know,” reports on huge disparities in the way college towns enforce fire-safety requirements and how easy or hard it would be for a renter to find out whether an apartment is safe.
According to Ganim, “Along with my team, we sampled more than a dozen college towns around the United States — big, small, public, private, urban, suburban and rural — and found random safety checks are not the norm. Inspections are typically done only when something is reported, meaning a student rental could go years without seeing a routine inspection for something like a blocked fire exit or working smoke detector. And even though code inspection reports, deficiencies and violations are a matter of public record, they are not always easily available.”