Student in library

Fire Safety Advice for Students Heading for University

At this time of year many young people are getting ready to head off to university. It’s an exciting and busy time and a real milestone for the whole family.  Many new students will be looking forward to developing an active social life as well as working on their studies. While it is a time of excitement and high emotions, we’d like to encourage all parents to talk to their young adults about fire safety before saying their final goodbyes.

Living independently for the first time has many benefits but also means young people taking more responsibility for themselves and there are some important lessons to take on board. Knowing that they have raised these issues may also help parents deal with the transition and feel confident that they have done their best to prepare the new students for safe independent living as well as they can.

Parents should encourage their offspring to get into the routine of testing the smoke alarms in their student accommodation once a week to check that they are in good working order. It takes just a minute or two but working smoke alarms ensure an early warning should a fire break out.

For the students themselves, it is a good habit to get into a fire safety routine at the end of each day. This should include extinguishing or putting a guard on any open fires, putting out any cigarettes properly, extinguishing any candles and closing all doors. Being disciplined about turning electrical items off at night (if appropriate) can not only save on electricity costs but will also reduce the risk of fire.

Getting together with your housemates to agree what to do in an emergency, including how you would all escape in case of a fire is a great way to help keep everyone safe. Now is also the time to agree that everyone is responsible for keeping any fire exits clear at all times. It is easy for shared hallways and communal spaces to be used for storing bicycles and bags that may make it difficult to escape in an emergency.

Important things to remember in the kitchen include not cooking when under the influence of alcohol and never leaving cooking unattended. If heading home, or to stay with friends at the weekend the same principles apply – turn everything off, extinguish any cigarettes, candles or fires and close all doors before leaving.

Before leaving home, there will be trips to the shops to buy essential items and perhaps some store cupboard essentials. When buying any electrical items or chargers, be sure that these are manufactured to safe standards and bought from a trusted retailer.

When inspecting potential student accommodation, as well as considering the overall suitability you should also check that the premises are fire safe. These checks will include making sure there are working fire alarms (there should be at least one on each level) and adequate fire exits.