Fire safety advice for student accommodation building owners and landlords is vital, to raise awareness of Student Fire Safety Week we’re bringing you our top safety advice.
People living in shared accommodation, such as university halls of residence and privately-owned student accommodation, are seven times more likely to have a fire. But what can be done to protect against the risks?
If you’re responsible for fire safety in any kind of accommodation – halls of residence, rented flats or privately rented accommodation – you’ll already know there are considerable obligations to do everything possible to minimise the risk of fire. The precise requirements depend on the specifics of the type of accommodation so it’s critical you’re familiar with every aspect of what’s required and, if in doubt, seek professional assistance.
As a landlord, you will have a great level of responsibility to carry out fire risk assessments, identifying potential fire hazards and ensuring complete fire safety. A fire risk assessment can highlight what can be done to remove or reduce potential risks.
Landlords of student accommodation also have the responsibility to:
- Comply with all necessary regulations
- Install fire alarms (at least one on every floor of the building)
- Have all appliances (TVs, microwaves, fridge freezers, etc) PAT tested
- Ensure certified fire doors are fitted where required
- Supply all parties involved with an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)
- Carry out repairs within 28 days of being discovered
- Provide local authorities and tenants with a detailed report of completed repairs
- Ensure a fire safety plan is completed so that tenants are aware of what to do in the event of a fire
- Ensure any furniture and furnishings meet the fire resistance regulations
Fire Safety Equipment for Student Accommodation
Ensuring fire safety equipment is available in your student accommodation is also crucial in order to keep both the property and the tenants safe.
As standard, you should have carbon monoxide detectors, fire doors, fire extinguishers, fire blankets and interlinking fire alarms. You can also install a stove guard which detects dangerously high temperatures and cuts off electricity to the cooker in order to prevent a potential fire outbreak.
Fire Safety Advice for Student Tenants
While as a landlord, you can do your part in supplying and fitting fire safety equipment, your tenants will have their own duty of care.
We recommend providing your tenants with fire safety advice to ensure they can also do their part to prevent and reduce any risks.
Here are just a few pointers to mention:
- Electrical gadgets
Emphasise the need to be careful when using and charging electrical gadgets. Never overload plug sockets and always switch off electrical equipment when it’s not being used; here’s just one example of what happened when an electrical fan was left on in student accommodation recently.
Remind them to take particular care if smoking inside a building and to remember it’s far riskier to smoke when under the influence of alcohol (or anything else for that matter). They should never smoke in bed and must check cigarettes are fully extinguished before going to sleep. If the student’s sharing a house with others, encourage them to check the smoke alarm battery is ok – ideally every week.
Make sure they know they should never leave cooking unattended. Are they aware of what to do if there’s a fire due to frying with oil? It’s a common cause of fires in kitchens so make sure they’re clear about what to do, including the fact that they must never put water on it.
Advise caution with candles. Ideally discourage their use but if they must use them, remind students to put them on non-combustible holders, keep them away from any highly flammable material (like curtains) and away from places where they can be easily knocked over. Make sure they know they should always keep an eye on lit candles and double check they’ve been fully extinguished when they’ve finished using them.
- Escape routes
Do students know where the closest escape routes are located? These should be clearly signed in buildings like halls of residence but they still need to be aware of the quickest routes out of privately rented accommodation too.
- Portable heaters
If the student has a portable heater, make sure they know to keep them well away from anything that’s combustible and never try to dry clothes on them.
For more information on how ProFire can help with safety in your student accommodation, feel free to contact our team.