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Students and parents urged to get fire safe for new term

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) is asking students and their parents to make sure that fire safety is on the checklist as they get ready for third level education.

As students across Northern Ireland embark upon academic studies, a vital lesson about fire safety could ultimately save their lives.

With student accommodation set for an influx of first time and returning student tenants, firefighters are raising awareness amongst parents and students about the dangers of fire.

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service Group Commander Geoff Somerville said: “Living away from home for the first time can be very exciting for young people and it is easy to get caught up in student life and forget about fire safety. As parents inspect student accommodation to make sure it’s suitable for their children, they should also ensure that premises are fire safe. We would ask them to remind their children that with greater independence comes greater responsibility so fire safety checks should always be part of their routine.

“With the distraction of settling into student life, fire safety may not seem like a priority; however, it should be top of any student checklist. It is important that all students take personal responsibility for looking after themselves and their housemates from the dangers of fire. Follow a good fire safety bedtime routine and take some time to agree a fire escape plan to ensure everyone is clear what to do in the event of an emergency.

“A large proportion of the student population will return home at weekends, so please make sure that your residential premises is safely secured and protected from the risk of fire. Ensure all electrical appliances are disconnected, fully extinguish ashtrays and close all doors.

“Firefighters will be visiting university and college campuses in the coming weeks to give out fire safety advice and to remind students about the importance of having a working smoke alarm.

“Students should check that the fire alarm system in their accommodation is working, close all doors at night and check that everyone is familiar with any alternative routes out of the premises.   If the fire alarm system is showing a fault, contact your landlord or the Estates Officer at your university immediately.

“We would encourage students and parents to follow our regular fire safety updates and advice on Facebook and Twitter to ensure fire doesn’t become an uninvited guest during term time,” said NIFRS Group Commander Geoff Somerville.

NIFRS fire safety advice is available online at @NIFRSOFFICIAL & www.facebook.com/NIFRSOFFICIAL .

Student Fire Safety Advice:

  • Check Your Smoke Alarm – only a working smoke alarm will waken you during the night. Make sure that all smoke alarms are working and are showing no faults.
  • Prepare A Fire Escape Plan – plan alternative routes out of the property in advance and made sure furniture or stored items do not block escape routes.
  • Carry Out A Night Time Check – by checking a few things before you go to bed you can reduce the risk. It only takes a minute and can save your life.
  • Turn off all electrical appliances not designed to be left on;
  • Put a guard on open fires;
  • Put out all cigarettes and empty ashtrays into a non-combustible container;
  • Put out all candles;
  • Close all internal doors;
  • Do not cook when under the influence of alcohol.

For further fire safety advice, visit www.nifrs.org

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