Fire drills are a necessity, in order to practise safe evacuation in the event of a real fire. It is a legal requirement for university halls of accommodation to practice these drills, while students living independently face a different issue with their fire alarms.
One of the most common ways of in which fire alarms are set off is through insufficient circulation in small kitchen areas.
In the case of smoke detectors in properties not owned by universities, the fire department has different protocols. One article stated that, “last year fire fighters were called out needlessly 152 times to student accommodation.”
While this number has risen by 12% in the last two years, the University has stated that the number of alerts to its university buildings has actually fallen. This is because many of these unnecessary visits by the fire department were triggered by hotels in the St Andrews area and other healthcare premises. Nevertheless, St Andrews’ and Cupar’s rate of visits by the fire department remains above Fife’s average.
A University spokesperson stated that “these figures are in line with other university towns across Scotland”. These numbers are also projected to drop in the next six months, according to the Northeast Fife councillors. Across town, the number of fire alarms has been reducing every year for the past three years.
“These statistics are directly proportional to the number of properties with working fire alarms across a small town and represent false alarms in both student residences as well as laboratories,” said a University spokesperson. But the University will not be complacent with these high numbers of false alarms, promising they will work closely with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to improve their systems where they can.
The University remains intensely invested in improving safety systems wherever needed and periodically remind their students of the importance of fire safety and safety in general.