Student fire safety

People living in rented or shared accommodation are seven times more likely to have a fire.
Fire safety might not be at the top of your agenda while you're away at university, but it should be.

Please take time to read the below safety advice to help protect yourself and your belongings from fire. This is our current student fire safety advice (including the leaflets marked as reviewed April 2024) and this supersedes any advice previously issued. You can download our 'Fire Safety for Students' poster here.


  • Smoking is NOT allowed on university campuses. You should only smoke in designated external smoking shelters
  • Make sure cigarettes are extinguished properly and safely
  • If you are living in private accommodation, remember to NEVER smoke in bed
  • Take extra care when smoking inside, especially if you are drunk or on drugs


  • NEVER leave cooking unattended
  • Take extra care when frying with oil and avoid using chip pans. Remember, never put water on a chip pan or oil fire
  • Don’t cook when under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Don’t cover microwaves
  • Clean your oven, hob and grill regularly – a build-up of fat or grease can easily ignite and cause a fire
  • Make sure cooking appliances are switched off when you leave the room

Electrical safety

  • Using an extension lead? Make sure all of the items plugged in don’t exceed the maximum current rating. Don’t overload sockets
  • Don’t place laptops on soft, uneven surfaces like blankets, pillows, duvets or your lap. This can prevent the airflow and can cause it to overheat. Make sure laptops are placed on hard even surfaces
  • Don’t leave electrical items like laptops, mobile phones or e-cigs charging overnight or unattended. Always turn electrical devices off when not in use.
  • Check your electrical appliances are in good working order. If the wires are damaged or frayed, do not use them
  • More tips on electrical safety are available in our 'Electrical Fire Safety for Students' leaflet here. 


  • Candles are NOT allowed in student halls of residence
  • If you are using candles in private accommodation, keep them away from flammable items like curtains, TV sets, bath tubs, furniture, bedding and books
  • Make sure candles are on a stable surface where they can’t be knocked over
  • NEVER leave lit candles unattended. Ensure they are completely out before you leave the room or go to bed
  • Consider using LED battery-operated candles instead

Escape routes

  • Make sure you and your housemates know the quickest way out in the event of a fire
  • Plan a second escape route in case the first one is blocked
  • Keep exits clear from clutter and obstructions
  • Keep door and window keys in a known and accessible place
  • Don’t prop or wedge a fire door open. A closed one could save your life.

Know your rights

Living in private accommodation?
Your landlord has to meet certain safety obligations. In all properties, the landlord must:

  • Ensure gas appliances are installed and serviced every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer
  • Provide all new and existing tenants with a copy of the safety check record
  • Maintain wiring and all electrical appliances they provide to ensure they are safe to use
  • Make sure any furniture and furnishings they provide meet the fire resistance regulations
  • By law, your landlord must install a working smoke alarm on every floor of the property

Living in student halls?
All universities and colleges have a designated person responsible for fire safety. If you spot something that doesn’t look right, a potential fire risk or have any concerns, you should speak to them. It’s important that you:

  • Check what fire safety rules are in place for your halls of residence – are there any bans on candles in rooms?
  • Pay attention to fire drills and NEVER ignore a fire alarm

When you move in, check the property is fitted with smoke alarms on every level – make sure you test them every week.