East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service logo
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service logo


There are practical steps you can take to improve your safety as a student. If you're moving into new accommodation, make sure you're familiar with the basics of fire and gas safety.

Living away from home for the first time can a daunting experience, especially when it comes to being responsible for cooking, heating and maintaining your new home. Living with others, often strangers at first isn’t always ideal and can leave you putting a lot of faith in your new housemates. 

Top Tips!

  • Smoke alarms save lives!  Your landlord must fit smoke alarms on each level of the house. Test them weekly. See information below about smoke alarms in rented accommodation.

  • Never leave cooking unattended. And keep the cooker clean - most fires in student properties are linked to cooking.

  • Tins and foil cause fires in microwaves - so leave them out.

  • Don't cook if you've been drinking alcohol  - get a take-away instead.

  • Take extra care when frying with oil as this is an extremely common cause of fire. If one does occur NEVER put water on it as it will turn into a fireball. View more cooking safety tips.

  • Practice an escape route with your housemates, so that you know how to get out of the property if there's a fire. And make sure escape routes are kept clear.

  • Take extra care with cigarettes and smoking materials. If you smoke, make sure you've extinguished your cigarette properly before you go to sleep. And never smoke in bed.

  • Don't overload plug sockets and switch off electrical appliances, like mobile chargers and hair straighteners, when not in use.

  • Keep candles away from flammable surfaces or textiles such as curtains, TV sets or bath tubs and never leave them unattended. Always remember to extinguish them properly before going to sleep.

REMEMBER:  If a fire starts get out, stay out and dial 999

Smoke alarms in rented accommodation

Smoke alarms save lives - make sure you have a working smoke alarm on every floor of your home.

New safety laws came into force in 2015 making it compulsory for all landlords to fit smoke alarms on every floor of rented homes, as well as offering protection against carbon monoxide poisoning.

Landlords must check the alarms are working at the start of every new tenancy.  And there is a potential penalties of up to £5,000 if they don't comply.

Tenants are required to check the alarms are in working order and notify the landlord if they identify any problems.

If you live in halls of residence

All universities and colleges have a person responsible for fire safety.

If you have any concerns or questions about fire safety in halls - for example, you've spotted a fire risk - speak to them.

If you are a disabled student and would need assistance if there was a fire, let the university or college health and safety officer know when you arrive.

You should also:

  • check what the fire safety rules are - such as any ban on candles in rooms
  • pay attention to fire drills and never ignore alarms

Did you know?

  • If you smoke, drink or use candles you are 50% more likely to have a fire. 
  • Every three days someone dies from a fire caused by a cigarette. 
  • You are twice as likely to die in a fire if you do not have a working smoke alarm.
  • 55% of student deaths in fires occurred through misuse of cooking appliances and careless handling of hot substances. 
  • Cigarettes, smoking materials and candles have been the cause of 1,900 student injuries over the last 5 years.
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Latest update : 03 October 2022
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