Firefighters urge students to stay safe

Firefighters urge students to stay safe this Freshers Week across South Wales.

The warning comes as thousands of new students head off to universities across South Wales as Freshers Week begins. For many it’s a first taste of independence as they fly the nest and go it solo, living in halls of residence or university digs.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service are urging students to take extra care and be mindful in the hope to reduce the number of accidental fires and avoid putting themselves and their new housemates in danger!

In the past eight weeks our crews have attended over 80 house fires with cooking and faulty electrical equipment being the main causes. In Wales, up to 40% of fires start in the kitchen, this places an increased demand on our firefighters and could potentially lead to tragic consequences. Please take extra care whilst cooking, don’t get distracted or cook whilst under the influence, in a matter of seconds a fire can spread and become out of control. Electrical fires are another main cause of accidental fires within homes, with firefighters attending over 600 fires in the past three years, with causes ranging from electrical faults, poor maintenance or the product overheating.

Head of Community Safety and Risk Reduction for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Group Manager Dean Loader says: “Starting university is an exciting time for everyone, and we’re mindful not to spoil the fun, however living independently means taking on a lot more responsibility. Living in student halls can be great fun but to keep you safe we have compiled some safety tips to help reduce the risk of a fire wherever you are living during term time. We’re asking all students to please read through all of our safety tips carefully, stay safe and look after each other. In an emergency always dial 999.”


When you arrive:

  • Don’t overload plug sockets. Use the Electrical Safety Calculator if you’re not sure.
  • Remember to switch off electrical equipment such as hair straighteners, blow dryers and mobile phone chargers when not in use.
  • Always use the charger supplied with the phone or tablet.
  • Do not leave laptops on top of bedding when plugged in as they can overheat and start a fire.
  • Secure portable heaters up against a wall, so they don’t fall over. Keep them away from curtains and furnishings and never dry clothes on them.
  • Establish where your nearest escape route is in the event of a fire.
  • If you live off campus make sure you have a smoke alarm on each level of the property and test it weekly.
  • If the building you are living in is managed by the university speak to them about alarms and escape routes.



  • Don’t leave cooking unattended.
  • 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.
  • Ensure your cooking appliances are kept clean – a build-up of grease can cause a fire.
  • After a night out get a takeaway – cooking and alcohol do not mix.



  • 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.



  • Take extra care when smoking inside especially if you have consumed alcohol.
  • Don’t smoke in bed and make sure you’ve extinguished your cigarette properly before you go to sleep.
  • Use a proper ashtray made of material that won’t burn.
  • Never put lit cigarettes in the bin.



  • Do not buy counterfeit products.
  • Although they are charged via a USB port – ONLY USE the charger supplied with the product to prevent the battery exploding.
  • Never leave unattended whilst on charge.


Know your rights

In all properties the landlord must;

  • Ensure gas appliances are installed and maintained annually by a Gas Safe registered plumber.
  • Maintain wiring and electrical appliances they provide to ensure they are safe to use.
  • Make sure any furniture and furnishings they provide meet the fire resistance regulations.


If you have concerns regarding Fire Safety contact South Wales Fire and Rescue Service you can report a fire safety concern online or ring  01443 232716 during normal office hours, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.


For further fire safety information visit our Student Fire Safety page;

Also follow us on Twitter @SWFireandRescue where we will be posting student safety messages using #Freshers2020

Alternatively check out our Facebook page