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Be ‘fire aware’ during Student Fire Safety Week

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During Student Fire Safety Week (26 October - 1 November 2020), Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is encouraging students to be fire aware.

Many young people are 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.

With students needing to spend more time in their accommodation than in previous years, because of the pandemic, apart from the other distractions of student life, Hereford & Worcester Fire Service, as part of the Fire Kills Campaign, is encouraging all students 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.

“As students find themselves away from home often for the first time, and with the added pressures of a new course of study and having to stay in their accommodation more than expected, fire safety might not be at the top of their list of priorities,” said Station Commander Steve Andrews of the HWFRS Community Risk team.

“However, it’s important that you take a few moments to think about your accommodation, how you use it and what you might do to reduce any fire risks – moments that might save your life.

“This applies particularly where you’re cooking in student flats more than usual, and using electrical appliances both day and night rather than being out and about on campus.”

By following these Fire Kills campaign top tips, you can help make sure that your student experience is a fire-safe one.”

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

Do:

  • Make sure you know your escape routes and have a Plan B in case your route is blocked.
  • Keep electrics (leads and appliances) away from water.
  • Check toasters are clean and placed away from curtains and kitchen rolls
  • Test your smoke alarms now or when you get home
  • Make sure you fit smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them regularly, even if they’re wired into the mains.
  • If a fire occurs: Get out, Stay out and Call 999.

Don’t:

  • Don’t leave cooking unattended and take extra care when frying with oil.
  • If a pan catches fire, don’t take any risks - turn off the heat if it’s safe to do so.
  • Never throw water over it 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.
  • Keep candles away from flammable surfaces or material that might burn – such as curtains, TVs, bath tubs – and never leave lit candles unattended.
  • Don’t charge your phone or laptop on bedding, but on a surface where air can circulate around the device.
  • Don’t overload plug sockets and switch off electrical equipment such as chargers, hair straighteners and blow dryers when not in use.

Station Commander Andrews added: “Each and every university or college has a person responsible for fire safety. If you spot a fire risk or have any concerns, then that’s the time to speak to them.”