With students moving to study at universities and colleges throughout Scotland firefighters are calling on everyone to help keep themselves and their new communities safe from fire …
September sees young people arrive in cities and towns across the country for Freshers’ Week and as students get familiar with their new surroundings, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) wants them to act to prevent tragedies.
Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay, the SFRS director of prevention and protection, said: “Many young people will be leaving home for the first time and it’s obviously an exciting point in their lives.
“When moving into halls of residence or rented accommodation there’s a lot for these students to take in, but it’s absolutely crucial everyone recognises the danger posed by fire and understands the steps needed to reduce the risk.
“Our message to students is that you’re responsible for your own safety and that of the people around you.
“We need you to help us protect the communities you’re now part of, so please take a minute to look at our student safety leaflet – it’s essential reading.”
Firefighters will visit universities and colleges across Scotland throughout September to offer advice and help raise awareness of fire safety as an issue.
Parents also have a role to play, and SFRS is eager for anyone who has a son or daughter moving away from home to discuss fire safety with them.
There can be a greater risk of fire within shared rented accommodation and people should check to ensure there are working smoke and heat alarms.
Everyone should also make sure there are no bars on the windows and that they can be easily opened from the inside, and check for fire resisting labels on the furniture. Furniture made before 1988 may not be match or fire-resistant.
ACO Ramsay added: “People’s actions have a big impact on the chances of a fire starting or causing injuries or deaths.
“We want students to recognise that if you have consumed alcohol then your decision-making and judgement will be impaired, putting you and other residents at higher risk from fire.
“Choosing never to cook while under the influence of alcohol is a key step that will significantly reduce the risk of a tragedy.
“Similarly, anyone who is under the influence of alcohol should avoid smoking while sitting down, as it’s too easy to nod off and start a fire with potentially horrific consequences.”
In halls of residence, false alarms are a particular concern. Most emergency fire calls to student accommodation are false alarms caused by carelessness and negligence.
Having to attend false alarms risks lives, as firefighters may be delayed in getting to a real emergency where every second is critical.
The SFRS student safety leaflet – which also contains simple tips to avoid false alarms caused by cooking, smoking materials, candles, steam from bathrooms and more – can be downloaded below:
To join Scotland’s fight against fire and book a free home fire safety visit text ‘fire’ to 61611, call 0800 0731 999, or visit the SFRS website to complete an online form.