The Blog

Dorm On Fire? Who You Shouldn't Call First

Have we spent so much energy protecting our children from the world that they are unprepared to live in it?
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

You wake up and your fraternity house is in flames. Who do you call?

A) 911
B) Your parents

At Boston University Sunday night the fire department was alerted to a blaze at an off-campus building that was home to several members of Sigma Alpha Mu, one of whom apparently heard the fire alarm and... called home. The University's website reports:

BU Police Chief Thomas Robbins says his department received a call from a parent of one of the students in the apartment, whose first response was to call home. Robbins says he hopes that students learn to make their first and immediate call to 911 or to the BUPD at 617-353-2121. 'We've got to get our number on the students' radar,' he says. 'It's great that this person called a parent, but people in danger should call us first, then call a parent.'

Seven students were hospitalized as a result of that blaze, and that is one of the things that makes blogger Lenore Skenazy sad. Skenazy coined the phrase "Free Range Kids," as a reaction against the overparenting that she worries is rampant nowadays -- spending so much energy protecting our children from the world that they are unprepared to live in it. Is this misdirected phone call a result of that "Mom and Dad will fix it" approach, she wonders.

I join Chief Thomas in wishing that every child were drilled in how -- and who -- to call for help.

I join Lenore in saying " I dearly hope the person who is in critical condition pulls through and lives a long and happy life."

And I also suspect I join many of you in sending this clip to your college age children.