University hall of residence evacuated after fire

University hall of residence evacuated after fire

It is that time of year again when hordes of eager new students head off for University full of hope and enthusiasm. With the cost of university education on an upward spiral it is not surprising that without mother to perform the duty many choose to cook for themselves for the first time. This inexperience coupled with a basic lack of knowledge of fire risk is, if you will pardon the pun, a recipe for disaster.

So it was no surprise when 1,000 students had to be evacuated from halls of residence in Manchester on Tuesday 1st October after a cooking related fire engulfed a communal kitchen in the Manchester Student Village. The Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service declined to reveal the exact cause but chip fat or frying is a likely culprit. In a separate incident a smaller fire in a kitchen at the Wilmslow Park halls of residence in Fallowfield led to the evacuation of a number of students.

My distant memories of life at university do not recall any sort of induction advice on the perils of cooking so I wonder if today’s students are left similarly in the dark. Issuing a fire risk awareness leaflet to each student would be a good idea much the same as businesses are obliged to provide fire awareness and fire action plans to employees.

The student kitchens should also be equipped with basic fire safety equipment including fire blankets and appropriate wet chemical fire extinguishers although this does imply students are furnished with the knowledge of how to use them.

It is all too easy to dismiss these incidents as student high jinks but taking proactive actions on fire prevention and control is preferable to waiting for the inevitable disaster to enfold as one day it surely will.

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