Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Students of Essex, stay safe in your digs with advice from the fire service

It’s Student Fire Safety Week and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is giving its top tips to help make your university experience a safe one.

With many students calling Essex their home while studying at university, the Fire Service is sharing advice to prevent fires in your student accommodation.

For many students, it’s the first time living away from home in halls of residence or rented accommodation. With lots to learn and think about, fire prevention should be high up on the list.

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 and 20 were started by cooking appliances.

Will Newman, Head of Prevention at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: “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. If the oil starts to smoke, that means it’s too hot and you need to take it away from the heat. Never use water to put out an oil fire, dial 999 instead and get out of the house while waiting for fire crews.

“If you’ve been drinking, we’d advise you to give cooking a miss and end your night out with the arrival of a takeaway rather than a fire engine.”

By following these top safety tips, you can help make sure that your student experience is a fire-safe one:

  • Don’t leave cooking unattended and take extra care when frying with oil
  • Don’t cook if you’ve been drinking alcohol, especially late at night
  • Take extra care with cigarettes and other smoking materials and never smoke in bed. If you smoke, make sure you put your cigarette out, right out
  • Never leave candles burning unattended and keep candles away from flammable surfaces or material that might burn – such as curtains, TVs, bath tubs
  • Don’t overload plug sockets and switch off electrical equipment such as chargers, hair straighteners and blow dryers overnight or when not in use
  • Test your smoke alarms regularly and if they’re not working, report the issue to your student accommodation or landlord
  • You should have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of your home and a working carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a fuel burning appliance
  • Make sure you and your housemates know your escape routes, practise it and have a plan B in case your route is blocked
  • In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and call 999

For more home fire safety advice, visit:

Page last updated 23 September, 2022

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