Student fire safety

University and college students who have moved away from home are being urged to go through a simple fire safety checklist.

The plea comes from firefighters and community safety staff at Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service. It is aimed at anyone in further education in Buckinghamshire or Milton Keynes, or who has started university or college elsewhere in the country, and who is living in rented, shared or bedsit-style accommodation. 

Community safety manager Joanne Cook said: "We realise students have a lot to think about, and that domestic duties don’t sound very exciting, but students need to be aware of fire safety issues in their homes away from home.”

Joanne is particularly keen to discourage students – and anyone else for that matter – from attempting to cook after coming back from a bar. Safer options if you’re hungry late at night and have been drinking are takeaways, sandwiches or cereal. 

She is also reminding them not to leave electrical items such as phones, laptops and tablets on charge unattended.

Joanne added: “We are also urging housemates to work out the escape route they would take in the event of a fire. It’s obviously much better to think about this in advance than to have to make it up on the spur of the moment while you’re in the middle of a real emergency.”

Simple tips for keeping safe from fire in student accommodation are:

  • Read Fire safety for people in shared or rented accommodation - a fire safety booklet aimed at students and other people sharing homes
  • Fit smoke alarms on each level of the house and test them weekly. Ask the fire and rescue service covering the area you live in to carry out a free safety check and fit free smoke alarms.
  • Don't attempt to cook while under the influence of alcohol, and don't leave cooking unattended.
  • Take extra care with cigarettes and smoking materials and never smoke in bed. When a cigarette is finished, put it out - right out!
  • Switch off and unplug electrical appliances such as chargers and hair straighteners when not in use, and don't overload plug sockets. Use the Electrical Safety First socket overload calculator to see what can safely be plugged into a 13-amp adaptor.
  • Don't leave laptops, e-cigarettes, phones and other items on charge unattended or overnight.
  • Never leave candles or tea lights unattended, and make sure they are put in safe holders.
  • Check furniture has the permanent fire-resistant label (usually sewn or stapled into a hidden part of the furniture).
  • Practise an escape route with your housemates.
  • If a fire starts, get out, stay out and dial 999.