Student houses in Holland should be safer in the event of a fire.

Private letters especially have little knowledge of how to make their houses safe. Many students do not know enough either, Housing Minister van der Laan has written to the Dutch parliament.

A study was conducted in which 95 student houses were visited and 648 students filled out a questionnaire. Both landlords and students are not enough aware of the risks and dangers of fire and therefore do little to improve fire safety.

Half of the houses did not comply with the most basic fire regulations. In ten percent, the situation was so unsafe that immediate action had to be taken. In order to raise awareness, minister van der Laan will develop a campaign together with cities, the fire departments and landlords. In addition cities will be encouraged to spend more time on fire safety of student houses. Students acknowledge they do not know much about fire risks. They often do not know which extinguisher to use for which type of fire, or how to use a fire extinguisher in the first place.

A quarter of all questioned students say they know nothing about fire safety in their houses. Three quarters of them say they have never been taught about fire safety. The minister wants to provide fire education at the university’s introduction events and through student associations. In 2012 another study will be conducted to find out whether fire safety and awareness have increased. HOP