Students in Rotterdam are doubtful about fire safety in their student accommodation. 35 percent feel that their accommodation is not fireproof. Another 31 percent have no idea about fire safety in their accommodation.

This is evident from research carried out by Yournalism and Erasmus Magazine. In a survey of almost one thousand students, including 124 from Rotterdam, many students indicated that they feel their room is not fireproof. In all the student cities that were researched, this feeling is shared by at least a quarter of those surveyed. Whereas almost half of the students in most cities feel their accommodation is fireproof, only 34 percent of students in Rotterdam feel that this applies to their accommodation.

Worrying figures

Worrying figures, says Paul Verburg, the cluster coordinator of Brandveilig Leven (Fire and Life Safety) in the Rotterdam-Rijnmond Safety District. Even so, the results of the research do not surprise him. “We know all too well that students worry about fire safety in the house where they are living”, says Verburg.

That is the reason why Verburg and his colleagues have been engaged in an awareness-raising campaign since Eurekaweek. He also stresses the responsibility of the students themselves. “These days many students live in self-contained rooms. This means, for example, that they are personally responsible for hanging up smoke detectors.”

Behaviour of residents leaves much to be desired

Although fire is more likely to spread in old houses, the cause is not usually of a structural nature. Verburg sums up: “Bicycles, empty crates, or other items that block the escape routes. Smoking in bed. Switching on the deep fryer after having a few drinks. Drying laundry on the heater. Laptops that become red-hot and are switched on the whole night. It is often the behaviour of the residents that leaves much to be desired.”