DO YOU KNOW WHAT FIRE SAFETY EQUIPMENT IS NEEDED IN STUDENT ACCOMMODATION?
Most halls of residence will be managed to a high standard and have regular checks and safety measures in place for fire safety. However, privately let student accommodation may not be kept to the same strict standards.
Communal living and rented properties have their own legal fire safety regulations that your family home might not require, so be sure to double check that your new student home is up to standard and speak to your landlord or letting agency if you think fire safety equipment is damaged or missing.
Students and landlords should be aware that a fire risk assessments needs to be carried out on the property and regularly revisited and updated as necessary. The ‘responsible person’ (usually the owner of the property) is required to ensure this is completed to a suitable standard and that any repairs or upgrades are made as soon as possible.
A fire risk assessment will outline what fire safety measures are needed in the property. Almost all will require a BS5839 part 6 fire alarm, which should be regularly tested and maintained, with an up to date log book kept. Make sure smoke alarms are fitted on all levels of the property and are in working order.
Fire extinguishers may also be required. If fire extinguishers are to be installed, ensure they are of the correct type for the risks in the property and are correctly positioned and regularly tested.
Fire blankets are often installed in communal kitchens, but very often are positioned incorrectly. Landlords also need to ensure that tenants of the property are trained on the correct usage of fire extinguishers in the event of a fire.
Every year, around 350 18-24 year olds are injured in accidental house fires started by cigarettes, smoking materials and candles. More than half of all accidental fire deaths amongst this age group occur in the kitchen when cooking, when handling hot substances or through misuse of electrical equipment.
Some general fire safety advice for student living:
- Plan and practise an escape route with your housemates
- Don’t cook if you’ve been drinking alcohol, especially late at night
- Ensure all electrical appliances are switched off before going to bed and don’t overload plug sockets
- If a fire starts, get out, stay out and call 999