January 18, 2018

Rookie Fire Safety Mistakes Most Students Make

Rookie Fire Safety Mistakes - photo copyright Rick Sherrell

If you’re planning on going to college, the thought of living away from home for the first time can be exciting and the first step towards real independence. However, it might come as a shock to you more than you might have initially thought. While it might be nice to get a bit of space from your parents, you’ll need to get used to your parents no longer being around to cook your meals, tidy your room and well, generally take care of you.

So a sudden change from a cushy lifestyle at home to having to do everything on your own might be quite a difficult transition, especially when you discover that actually, you have no idea how to cook a decent meal (and no beans on toast doesn’t count), be responsible or really look after yourself.

And if you apply to all of the above, don’t worry – you’re not alone, but make sure that you don’t let this, combined with the excitement of a university lifestyle cause you to behave irresponsibly and make unsafe decisions. Students are some of the most at risk groups of people for house fires, and all too often this is because of silly and careless behavior from students.  So don’t become a victim of a fire and take a read of how you can stay safe in your accommodation while you study at university.

Fire Safety

Did you know fires in student accommodation has become such a frequent problem so much so that Firefighters from St Mary’s fire station in Southampton has carried out specific training to prepare for rescue at student accommodation. They even simulated a fire incident which broke out in bedrooms on the seventh floor of a building. About twelve firefighters carried out the drill equipped with breathing apparatus and a thermal imaging camera allowing the fire service to practice an evacuation in a high-rise building.

However, training like this wouldn’t need to be done and there would be less fires in student accommodation if students knew how to behave responsibly…

Cooking while drunk – It’s simple, don’t do it – Yet 50% of students admit to cooking under the influence of alcohol. While a nice slice of cheese on toast seems all too appealing at 4 am, cooking whilst drunk is dangerous and contributes to a lot of fires – misusing cooking appliances and being careless with hot substances causes 55% of fire related deaths in 18-24 year olds.

If you really can’t overcome you’re craving for some junk food to satisfy those drunken munchies, opt for alternatives–whether it’s a takeaway that you buy on your way home, leftovers from your dinner that only require a quick whiz in the microwave, or dry food that needs nothing more than ripping the packet off!

Learn the basics before you go – Before you flee the nest and start your student life away from home, get your parents to teach you the basics of cooking and provide you with a few basic meals that are easy to make, tasty and will be affordable on your student budget! Try cooking for the family a few times for practice – they may not appreciate the overcooked pasta or slightly burnt chicken pie, but hey practice makes perfect right?

Cooking isn’t the only cause of fires in student accommodation…

Candles– They’re a great way to give your student accommodation a homely feel, which is fine just as long as you use them responsibly. Never leave them unattended and blow the flame out as soon as you leave the room. Once simple mistake like this could cost the safety of yourself and your fellow flatmates.

Straighteners – You might be rushing to get ready in the morning to make it to your 9 am lecture after last night’s drunken antics, but, take the time to unplug your straighteners before leaving your room.  Unplugging them will eliminate any chance of a fire and will save you the worry of ‘did I turn my straighteners off?!’

Electrical blanket – This might be the next best thing after your onesie to keep warm in your freezing student accommodation, but ensure that you never leave it on unattended. The safety of fire blankets has improved over the years, but still to avoid any risk of a fire and unplug it from the main socket.

Fire alarms – Whether you’re in student accommodation in London, Manchester, or Lincoln, they are bound to carry out regular fire alarm checks. In addition, more than often they will have been set off accidentally by a student burning a piece of toast. This can cause students to make a slow exit as they just automatically assume that it is a false alarm. However, for your own safety, you should make a swift exit just in case it is a real fire.

So now you have a bit more of an idea in how to behave safely to avoid a fire in your student accommodation, make sure you use it when you get to university and share your wise words of wisdom with your flatmates so that fires in student accommodation becomes less of an issue!

This post was written by Laura Harrison. Laura recently graduated from The University of Manchester and enjoys writing about student life and offering advice to current students. 

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