Fire chiefs issue warning to students

teenagers on a computerFIRE chiefs in Cleveland are urging all students living in the local area to follow some simple steps to ensure that they stay safe and don’t endanger themselves and others.

The call, from Les Jones, Head of Community Safety with Cleveland Fire Brigade, comes as hundreds of students will be living independently in rented properties for the first time.

Statistics show that on average five people aged 17-24 are killed or injured every day by fire and people are more than twice as likely to die in a fire if they don’t have a working smoke alarm.

Les Jones said: “For students, starting or returning to college or university can be a very exciting time, but it’s also the time when they have great responsibility for fending for themselves and managing a property – often for the first time.

“This brings a number of risks and we are urging students to follow some simple advice so that the dream of higher education and the prospects of a bright future do not end in tragedy.”

The tips and advice to follow are:

  • Fit a smoke alarm on each level of your property – book a FREE Home Fire Safety Visit and Cleveland Fire Brigade will fit free smoke alarms for free if needed.
  • Test your smoke alarms weekly
  • Stand by your pan – never leave cooking unattended
  • Take extra care with cigarettes and smoking materials and never smoke in bed – when a cigarette is finished, put it out, right out!
  • Never leave candles or tealights unattended and ensure that they are put in safe holders
  • Switch off electrical appliances when not in use, including laptops, unless they’re designed to stay on – like a freezer
  • Check furniture has the fire-resistant permanent label
  • Plan and practice an escape route with your housemates
  • If a fire starts get out, stay out and call 999

Mr Jones added: “As part of our FREE Home Fire Safety Visits we will visit students’ accommodation, advise on fire safety and fit free smoke alarms if needed. All students need to do is pick up the phone and that call could save their life and others.

“My plea to all students living independently in the Cleveland area is not to underestimate the risks associated with occupying your property and take onboard the free help which is available.”

To help keep you and your family safe from fire, the Brigade provides free Home Fire Safety Visits and will fit smoke alarms if needed. Call 01429 874063 to arrange a visit to your home and you will receive specific fire safety advice for you and your family.

You can also view further safety information and news, at www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/student or join us on Facebook (/clevelandfb) or Twitter (@clevelandfb)