Fire Safety for Students
Student Fire Safety Week finished last week, but awareness of potential hazards still needs to be communicated to students. Many students are living away from home for the first time. In addition, they are enjoying the social side of being a student, which can mean they are less vigilant.
Living in a new place, unfamiliar with the layout and appliances, tired and less alert than normal, makes students vulnerable. Fire safety awareness for students is vital to help prevent possible fires from starting or give them the knowledge of what to do in the event of a fire to keep safe.
Key areas to address
- Get familiar with the escape route.
Over time, the premises will be as familiar as the students’ own home, but initially, knowing how to get out is important. Fire can start anytime, so knowing where the exit is and how to get to it is key. The premises could be in the dark due to electrical failure, smoke-filled, and occupants could be disorientated/groggy just coming round from a deep sleep. If any of the doors you go through to get out are lockable, make sure that they open from the inside without using a key. Either a push pad mechanism or, in most cases, a thumb turn lock so that you can unlock and open the door in one easy movement is recommended.
- Keep fire doors shut.
Fire doors are really important for keeping fire and smoke in one place, allowing the critical areas for escape, eg corridors/stairs, free from smoke and flames, allowing occupants a clear means of escape. Particularly important is keeping those areas of high risk separated – no leaving or propping kitchen doors open!
- Don’t overload power sockets or leave items charging whilst unattended.
Help prevent a fire from even starting by not plugging many items into one socket, using extension leads and overloading them. If you don’t have enough fixed wall sockets, speak to your landlord, or try this socket calculator to ensure that you’re not plugging the wrong items into the extension lead. Where you aware that an extension lead can only support items up to the value of its own fuse, which in most cases will be 13amps?. We all leave items charging, which can be day and night. It is important to remember items get hot when charging, and if they are left on furniture, carpet or even a bed, this could mean that should they get too hot, they could cause the material it’s resting on to smoulder. If it’s during the day, the chances are someone will see that quite quickly and may be able to prevent it from developing into a fire, however at night, it will have longer to go undetected, then more likely to become a fire.
It is also important to remember that even if there are the means to fight a fire available, occupants should always get out of premises and not try to put out a fire unless trained in their use. Safety of life is more important than preserving the building.