Home >Fire safety advice published following student accommodation fire

Fire safety advice published following student accommodation fire

03 December 2019

Following a serious fire at a student accommodation block in Bolton, Lancashire on 15th November, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is issuing guidance and support for student residents and building owners.

Student accommodation and housing providers have a responsibility to comply with fire safety legislation and give advice to their tenants on the fire safety arrangements and procedures for their particular building.

Joe Hassell, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service area manager said: “We would like to reassure residents that we have ongoing arrangements with housing providers in the Devon and Somerset area, which aim to ensure the necessary fire safety standards are provided and maintained in all such buildings.

"We also - as a matter of course - regularly undertake training exercises at a range of buildings across the two counties - including high-rise - to ensure crews are familiar with layout and procedures.”

Advice for student accommodation residents

If you live in a student accommodation block and you are concerned about your safety from fire, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (The Service) recommends:

1. Contact your landlord, building owner or university to raise this concern. 
2. If you are not satisfied with the response, please contact the National Union of Students (NUS).  
3. Should you still be unsatisfied with the response, you can report the building to the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service community safety team – call 0800 05 02 999 or email firekills@dsfire.gov.uk

It is also recommended all students make themselves aware of the procedure of what to do on discovery of a fire or being alerted to a fire. 

The service will be contacting student halls and accommodation providers in Devon and Somerset to arrange visits in order to give free home safety advice at the start of the new term (from January 2020).

In some building types the residents are told to evacuate the building, whilst in others, especially high rise buildings, they may have a ‘stay put’ policy. Read more about this at www.dsfire.gov.uk

To reduce the risk of a fire happening in the first place, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service would like to remind students of important safety tips:

• Always watch your cooking and don't cook if you have been drinking alcohol 
• Keep candles away from flammable surfaces or textiles
• Don't overload plug sockets
• Switch off electrical equipment such as hair straighteners and mobile phone chargers when not in use
• Know your escape route - the quickest way out and have an alternative
• If a fire starts, get out, stay out and call 999.

Read more detailed advice for students.

Advice for landlords and building owners 

We would like to remind landlords and building owners that they have certain legal obligations when it comes to fire safety and protection of their properties and the safety of people who reside in their premises.

Legislation requires that landlords carry out fire risk assessments in all areas of their properties. This process will identify any fire hazards and who is at risk and decide if anything needs to be done to remove or reduce that risk.

Any properties following an inspection by the service that do not comply with current fire safety legislation will be subject to appropriate enforcement action.