Careless student cooks cause hundreds of fires every year
Poor student cooking is costing London fire fighters hundreds of hours a year, with fire officers called to student accommodation buildings over 10-times-per-week in the capital during 2015.
The figures, obtained by a Freedom of Information request, show that students living in halls of residence caused almost 6 per cent of all indoor fires recorded by London Fire Brigade – despite only making up an estimated 0.4 per cent of London's population.
London fire officers were called to student accommodation a total of 555 times in 2015, a 14 per cent increase on the previous year.
London Fire Brigade blamed the high number of call-outs on automatic fire alarms, most of which are “false alarms caused by faulty or badly maintained systems, or things like burnt toast, cooking left unattended, steam or dust.”
Universities around the country warn students against the dangers of sounding fire alarms with poor cooking and indoor cigarettes.
Edinburgh University reminds all its students never to leave cooking unattended, writing that every alarm “requires a brigade attendance which takes them away from other potentially more serious incidents”.
In October 2015, an unattended pan of oil was blamed for a fire which ripped through the roof of a student accommodation block at the University of Bristol.
A 2013 survey from the National Union of Students showed 81 per cent of students taking part in activities deemed high-risk, with half admitting to having cooked while drunk, and two-thirds saying they had cooked after midnight.
One-third of students were unaware of the fire safety procedures in their accommodation, the report said.
The misuse of cooking appliances is partly to blame for fire alerts in university halls, according to a report by the University Health and Safety Association.
The report also pointed to candles, experimental laboratory work, and even “malicious activity” as other “common culprits” of student fire alerts.
Last year a student at Kings College, London, returned to his dorm room during freshers' week to find it had burnt down.
2016 also saw kitchen fires at student accommodation in Nottingham and Whitechapel, East London.
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson added: “We’re currently consulting on a range of proposals, including our plants to reduce unwanted false alarms, and urge people to have their say.
“The Brigade is also concerned that false fire alarms can cause complacency – when alarms go off regularly for non-emergency reasons, there can be a tendency for people to ignore them. In the event of a real fire this could be disastrous.”
Source of News - The Telegraph Education
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