— Nikki Hunt contributed with this report

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue are beginning a new campaign with the University of Lincoln, highlighting the risks of drinking and cooking.

Posters and beer mats are being introduced in student accommodation and bars as a way of warning students about the dangers of drinking alcohol and then cooking.

This comes as an increasing amount of fires are being started due to students deciding to cook after drinking. The slogan “I’ve got first degree burns — don’t drink and cook” features on the posters, along with a photo of a female student representing a burns victim.

As part of the Fire Kills campaign, the fire-safety message is being brought onto campus to try and change students’ attitudes towards fire, and particularly fire alarms. Mark Fowell, Community Fire Safety Advocate at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, says, “attitudes towards fire are quite blasé and [people think] it’s never going to happen to you.”

This has been demonstrated by recent reports with fire alarms being set off deliberately in student accommodation. Every time a fire alarm is set off it costs the tax payer around £1500. A recent incident in which a chip pan was left on in Brayford Quays makes it clear that students need to be more aware. Fires can very easily start when your attention stops.

Television and films give people the idea that fire is easy to escape from. Fowell says: “The media portray fire as easy to survive; it’s a clean event, no trouble breathing, and take your time to escape. Whereas the reality is, it’s very frightening and dark, [and] it’s difficult to know where you are, even in your own house.”

It can take as little as ten seconds for a room to fill with smoke from a candle, and two or three breaths of smoke can affect your ability to breathe or even knock you unconscious.

The aim of the campaign is to make students aware of the dangers and to offer help and support to anyone who may need it. “It’s a question of being as safe as you can,” says Fowell, “having a plan to escape as quickly as possible, and be aware that when an alarm does go off, you need to get out the building and not assume it’s a false alarm.”

One thought on “Fire safety campaign to begin at university”
  1. I am a ‘Community fire safety Volunteer’ with Hertfordshire fire and rescue service. I am intrested in setting up LGBT community advocacy project within the Hertforshire district. Please can you send me some examples of ‘Best Practice’ or LGBT experiences of the FRS; as I am keen to learn and understand about the issues that face / challenge diverse LGBT communities? Thank you.

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