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January 1, 2011

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Students fight cold with banned devices

SOME university students are using banned electric appliances to stay warm this winter as their dormitories do not have heaters.

The students are aware of safety concerns and fire risks but their rooms get so cold they feel they have no choice.

Hu Juan, a student at Shanghai International Studies University, told Shanghai Daily yesterday that it's common for her and classmates to use electric hand warmers, water heaters for thermoses and electric blankets.

"How can we keep warm when there is no heating in our dorms?" Hu asked.

Most students buy inexpensive electric hand warmers that often have not passed safety tests while thermos heaters and electric blankets are banned on most campuses in Shanghai for safety reasons.

Zhou Meiliang, an official with the Shanghai Fire Control Bureau, said they're going to run more checks at school dormitories and will be specifically looking for unsafe electric appliances.

Meanwhile, both Fudan and Jiao Tong universities plan to install heaters in all student dormitories, officials with the schools said.

A fire at Shanghai Business School led to the deaths of four students in 2008. They died when falling from a sixth-floor balcony while trying to escape the fire in their dorm. The blaze was started by a device to heat water.


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