South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

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Fire service issues ‘don’t cook drunk’ plea to students this winter

Fire officers in Sheffield are asking local students not to cook whilst drunk this winter and, instead, help keep fire engines free for more serious emergencies.

The plea follows the Government’s recent announcement that pubs must now close at 10pm, which firefighters feel could prompt an increase in home drinking, cooking and parties.

They say that this, in turn, could lead to an increase in call outs to student accommodation across the city – something South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is keen to prevent.

“We absolutely recognise how important it is that students enjoy their time at university, especially with what’s going on in the world right now, but we want to make sure they do it safely,” said Station Manager John Billings, who heads up the team at Central fire station.

“Something we’re very mindful of is that, with pubs now closing earlier to help stop the spread of COVID-19, students may be inclined to take the party back to their accommodation. We’ve no problem with this.

“Where we may have a problem, however, is if people start to act carelessly. From our perspective this can be extremely dangerous. Time and time again we are called to fires which have started when people have left the oven on and forgotten, or fallen asleep, due to alcohol or drugs.

“We’ve also attended lots of false alarms in the past where students have set fire alarms off for fun, or e-cigarettes and smoking have triggered smoke detection systems. Alcohol has been known to play a part in many of these cases, too.”

In order to reduce the risk to students, and to prevent an increase in calls, the service is asking them to do three things:

  • Get a takeaway rather than cooking drunk
  • Be mindful of smoke alarms when vaping or smoking
  • Do not use fire alarm call points unless there is a genuine emergency

These requests, which officers feel are reasonable, come ahead of a national Student Safety Week in October that SYFR has pledged to support.

“We think what we’re asking is fair and simple – we’re not trying to spoil anyone’s fun and don’t believe what we’re asking will have a huge impact on any big nights in,” added John.

“What it will do, though, is keep people safe, prevent our crews having to crash any parties and stop accommodation from being damaged or destroyed by fire.”

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This content was last updated on September 28th, 2020