Students urged to be aware of fire safety

Thu 5 Sep, 2019

Picture of laptop which caught fire while being charged

Picture: The aftermath of a fire which started in a laptop which had been placed on a pile of books and left plugged in and unattended.

University and college students 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 entering further education, or who is about to start university or college, and who is living in or moving to 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, tablets and e-cigarettes 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 Protect yourself and Fire safety for people in shared or rented accommodation - two fire safety leaflets aimed at students and other people sharing homes

- Fit smoke alarms on each level of your accommodation and test them every month. 

- Don't attempt to cook while under the influence of alcohol, and don't leave cooking unattended.

- Don't leave laptops, e-cigarettes, phones and other items on charge unattended or overnight.

- 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.