Fire safety plea to new and returning students

Mon 2 Sep, 2013

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University and college students who are about to move 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 who is about to start further education in Buckinghamshire or Milton Keynes, or who is about to enter university or college life elsewhere in the country, and who will be living in rented, shared or bedsit-style accommodation.

Community safety manager Neil Boustred said: "We realise they have a lot to think about at the moment, and that domestic duties don’t sound very exciting, but students need to be aware of fire safety issues in their new homes.”

Neil is particularly keen to discourage students – and anyone else for that matter – from attempting to cook after coming back from the pub. Safer options if you’re hungry late at night are fruit, sandwiches and ice cream.

He is also reminding smokers never to smoke in bed, and to make sure cigarettes are put out properly.

Neil added: “We are also urging housemates to fit and regularly test a smoke alarm, and to think about 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:

  • 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 electrical appliances like mobile chargers and hair straighteners when not in use, and don't overload plug sockets.
  • 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.

If you live in Buckinghamshire or Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service will carry out a free fire safety check in your home and fit free smoke alarms where necessary. To book an appointment, ring 01296 744477 or send an email to