Be ‘fire aware’ when settling in at college after excitement of Freshers Week

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As students get used to university and college life after the excitements of Freshers Week, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is encouraging them to remain fire aware, whether cooking or using electrical appliances.

Many young people will still be adapting to living away from home for the first time, either in rented property or halls of residence, with new responsibilities when it comes to fire prevention and awareness.

Not only are they getting to grips with the next year’s course work and being self reliant after living at home for maybe two academic years, they are also having to get their heads round cooking knowledge and ability.

That’s why Hereford & Worcester Fire Service, as part of the Fire Kills Campaign, is encouraging them to bear in mind their fire safety.

Home Office fire statistics show that of the 160-plus fires attended by fire and rescue services at student halls of residence in 2019/20, 66% were started by cooking appliances.

Emma Roberts, HWFRS Head of Prevention, said:

“When living away from home, it’s important to recognise new fire hazards, and take precautions to reduce your risk.

“The majority of fires we attend at student accommodation start in the kitchen, often when someone has become distracted. We’re asking students to make sure they don’t leave cooking unattended and to take extra care if cooking with oil.

“If you’ve been drinking, we’d advise you to give cooking a miss and end your night out with the arrival of a takeaway rather than a fire engine.

“This also applies when you’re using electrical appliances maybe more than you did at home.

“By following these top tips, you can help make sure that your student experience is a fire-safe and fun filled experience.”

Here are some Dos and Don’ts to help keep you safe:


  • Ensure you fit smoke alarms on every level of your accommodation and test them regularly.
  • When the fire alarm sounds, react quickly and evacuate safely.
  • Ask for advice when unsure about cooking.
  • Stay focussed when cooking.
  • Check toasters are clean and kept away from curtains and kitchen rolls
  • Keep electrics (leads and appliances) away from water.
  • Make sure you know your escape routes for a quick but safe exit.
  • Use a fragrance spray or reed diffusers rather than candles to keep your student digs smelling fresh.
  • If a fire occurs: Get out, Stay out and Call 999.


  • Never light candles or have open flames in your student housing.
  • Never cover smoke alarms.
  • Don’t ignore fire alarms.
  • Don’t try and cook without a clue, use cook books and ask others for advice.
  • Don’t get distracted while cooking, and never leave cooking unattended.
  • Never throw water over a frying pan and don’t tackle the fire yourself.
  • Don’t cook if you’ve been drinking alcohol, especially late at night.
  • If you smoke, make sure you put your cigarette out, right out.
  • Don’t overload plug sockets and switch off electrical equipment such as chargers, hair straighteners and blow dryers when not in use.

For more student fire safety tips, there is a wealth of guidance at

Emma added: “Each and every university and college has a person responsible for fire safety. So if you spot a fire risk or have any concerns, make sure you speak up.”