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Keep your Student Digs Safe from Fire

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is welcoming students to their new student accommodation this week with top tips on how to stay safe and alert to potential fire hazards.

This week marks Student Fire Safety Week (26 September – 2 October), and prevention teams from RBFRS have been meeting with students from the University of Reading and sharing valuable information on fire safety while living in student accommodation.

Many young people are living away from home for the first time, either in rented property or halls of residence, which brings with it new responsibilities when it comes to fire prevention and awareness.

Home Office fire statistics show that 66% of the 160-plus fires attended by fire and rescue services at student halls of residence in 2019/20 were started by cooking appliances.

Paul Scott, Central Hub Prevention Manager, RBFRS said: “Living away from home can be an exciting time for many students. It provides opportunities to make new friends and socialise with house mates and other students living in halls.

“However, with so many other distractions to enjoy, particularly during Freshers’ Week, many students may be less aware to potential fire risks. It’s important to recognise new fire hazards, and take precautions to minimise risk and reduce harm.

“The majority of fires we attend at student accommodation start in the kitchen, often when someone has become distracted. We’re asking students to make sure they don’t leave cooking unattended and take extra care if cooking with oil.”

Top tips for students during Student Fire Safety Week


  • Test fire alarms regularly.
  • Locate and remember where your nearest fire exits are.
  • Think about your evacuation plan and rehearse it.
  • Keep your student digs smelling fresh with a fragrance spray or reed diffusers rather than candles.
  • When the fire alarm sounds, react quickly and evacuate safely.
  • Ask for advice when unsure about cooking.
  • Give cooking your full attention.


  • Never light candles or have open flames in your student accommodation.
  • Never cover smoke alarms or remove batteries from them.
  • Don’t ignore fire alarms.
  • Avoid distractions while cooking, and never leave cooking unattended.

For more student fire safety tips, visit our website.