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Sheffield university students risking disaster by leaving cooking unattended

Too many university students in Sheffield are risking a potential disaster by leaving cooking unattended – such as after a night out – a charity has warned.

Electrical Safety First revealed 60 per cent of students surveyed at the University of Sheffield admitted to cooking while drunk or after drinking alcohol.

University of Sheffield.

University of Sheffield.

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In addition, one in three said they had risked electrocution by inserting a knife or fork into a toaster and one in eight told how they have put something into a microwave that they should not have - including a light bulb.

Furthermore, over half said they had left cooking unattended, almost half fear their roommates could cause a fire due to carelessness and seven per cent had set a tea towel on fire by leaving it too close to a heat source.

A total of 199 students took part in the survey Yorkshire-wide, including 15 in Sheffield.

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The charity released the figures to highlight how thousands of students starting their new academic terms – who may be away from home for the first time – could be putting their lives, and those of others, at risk due to their careless actions.

Emma Drackford, director of communications for Electrical Safety First, urged students not to 'drink and fry'.

She added: “Those set to live independently for the first time are urged to take care in the kitchen when handling electrical appliances.

“With so many students admitting to taking to the stove under the influence of alcohol and a significant number falling asleep with food cooking we are warning students not to drink and fry.

“Those living in halls of residence are no doubt set to have a great time on their journey through university however with numerous people living collectively under one roof careless mistakes put every person in the building at risk.”

The charity said nationally 911 accidental electrical fires took place in student halls of residence in England alone between 2012 and 2017, the equivalent of five fires every week during a typical academic term. 

Ian Jones, head of accommodation services at the University of Sheffield, said: “This research shows why it is so important to share safety advice with new students. 

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“We issue fire safety advice to all students in a variety of ways including; a fire safety video which includes an online test, notices within every kitchen in student accommodation, guidance on both the university and union’s websites and face-to-face advice via our Residence Life Mentors as part of their initial flat meeting.   

“For more information students can visit:https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/safety/fire."