Every university is legally required to have a comprehensive policy to help minimise the risks to students and staff from fire. This policy needs to be communicated clearly to all new students in order to be effective. But with so much other information thrown at them during Freshers’ Week, there’s every chance your fire safety precautions could get lost in the noise. Here are some ideas to help make the message sink in.
Although it’s standard practice to give talks throughout Freshers’ Week covering the basic things students need to know, these are usually held in large lecture halls and many students simply fail to attend. If, like most universities, you have mature or post-graduate students living in halls and acting as senior students, resident advisors or similar, it can be much more effective to have them deliver this information to students in their own halls. By doing talks to smaller groups, it’s much easier to keep them engaged and note anyone who fails to turn up so this can be followed up.
Most young people will (fortunately) have no experience with real fires, so it can be difficult to get them to take the danger seriously. One of the best way to address this is with a practical demonstration of the risks. We provide talks to large groups of students at several universities where we talk through the issues surrounding fire safety and show them what can happen if they get it wrong. Students are much more likely to take fire safety concerns on board if they have seen the potential consequences with their own eyes and this will also be much more memorable for them.
A great way of encouraging students to absorb important information is to offer a quiz (with prizes). You could either do a mini quiz after each talk, or else a general one towards the end of Freshers’ Week covering all the different presentations. Alternatively, online quizzes, with rewards such as vouchers for the student union or local businesses, can allow students to test their knowledge in their own time. You could even run these throughout the year to check how well students are retaining all that information and give them a reason to refresh their knowledge.
No matter how well you communicate your fire safety policy, many students will forget the details as the year goes on. Posters including all the most important information will ensure students have a constant point of reference to remind them how to stay safe. You could also consider smaller signs next to specific areas where potential hazards can occur, such as a reminder next to the cooker about how to deal with cooking fires and one beside smoke detectors pointing out that it is a criminal offence to cover them up.
If your university has new staff members or senior students who need fire awareness training, or existing employees who need a refresher, don’t hesitate to get in touch today by calling us on 0117 957 3039 or using our online contact form.