Fire risk

On Monday 19 March 1990, a fire broke out in a student bedroom. A hot water urn that was inadvertently left on caused the fire. The hot water urn boiled dry, became red hot and ignited materials beneath it. The hot water urn did not have an automatic cut-off switch. Fortunately, no one was injured and the damage caused by the fire was kept to a minimum. However, the fire did produce extremely noxious smoke. It is important that we reaffirm the Halls policy in relation to private equipment used by students in their bedrooms.

Hazard Alert #3

Cooking Equipment

  • Cooking of any description is only allowed in designated areas and absolutely forbidden in student bedrooms.
  • Hot water urns, Birkos, toasters, rice cookers and/or kettles are allowed in designated cooking areas, provided that they have an automatic cut off switch.
  • All other cooking equipment is forbidden.

Electrical Lighting

  • Make sure all personal electrical light fittings have not been damaged and are in good working order.
  • Use all personal electrical light fittings in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Do not use a light globe, a bulb and/or tube in any electrical light fitting if the globe, bulb and/or tube do not comply with the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Do not place or locate personal electrical light fittings in close proximity to flammable objects.
    • Do not cover personal electrical light fittings.
    • Do not place personal electrical light fittings on a surface that is unstable.
    • Ensure personal electrical light fittings cannot be knocked over.
    • Do not leave personal electrical light fittings switched on if you leave your room.
    • Ensure that bedside electrical light fittings are properly secured and cannot fall over and come into contact with your bed and bedding.
    • Please contact the campus, Residential Services office if you wish your electrical light fitting to be checked by the electrician. There is no charge for this service.

Power Points

All power points in student bedrooms are rated at 10 amps. There may be up to 6 power points per circuit. Each circuit has a 15-amp circuit breaker. In order to minimise the circuit breakers tripping, the maximum load you are allowed per power point, is 500 watts. On average a Birko is rated at approximately 500 watts.

Double Adapters and Power Boards

All double adaptors are a fire risk. Piggybacking double adaptors is extremely dangerous and is forbidden. Power boards are safe but they must have a 10 amp automatic trip, for the following reasons:

  • All power boards are rated at 10 amps.
  • If your power board does not have a 10-amp circuit breaker and you plug in too many appliances, the electrical flex between the board and point will overheat.
  • It is highly possible that this will cause a fire.
  • I cannot stress highly enough the importance of adhering to the points raised above. Should a fire break out as a result of you using forbidden items of equipment, you may be deemed to be responsible and as a consequence you may be required to pay for damages sustained.

Naked flames of any description are prohibited.

This also seems an appropriate time to bring up private contents insurance. I strongly advise all of you to consider the benefits of contents insurance and recommend some form of cover be taken out.

Document owner: MRS Safety officer
Document date: 3 January 2023
Date of review: 3 January 2026