As a student housing provider, we regard the provision of a fire-safe home as an important responsibility. We therefore not only pay a lot of attention to the building's structural quality and extinguishing equipment, but also to raising awareness about fire-safe behaviour among our residents. Fire safety is a joint responsibility. In addition to contacting our residents about this, we also work closely with residents' organisations, the fire department and municipalities.
Fire safety measures in accordance with Building Regulations
DUWO's buildings comply with the regulations as set out in the Buildings Decree. The fundamental principle in the event of a fire is always to prevent casualties and to prevent the fire from spreading. We do this by implementing such precautions as fire-resistant walls and fire-resistant doors. This creates a so-called ‘compartmentalisation’, limiting a fire to the area where it originated for as long as possible. For this reason it is very important to always close the fire doors behind you and never leave them open. We have also installed smoke detectors in the houses. In some buildings, the building regulations also require extinguishing equipment. This has been installed in the applicable buildings, but DUWO always advises that you do not attempt to extinguish the fire yourself, but rather escape and call the fire brigade. Trying to extinguish a fire yourself can endanger your life. This is never something we want to encourage.
An important part of fire safety regulations is the mandatory presence of smoke detectors. This obligation applies as of 1 July 2022. These regulations apply to all residences throughout the country. DUWO will ensure that all student houses are equipped with smoke detectors before this date.
DUWO's experience is that fire incidents can never be entirely prevented, but the same experience shows that the fire safety measures we have taken have thus far limited their impact. Fire safety measures must go hand in hand with safe resident behaviour. You cannot have one without the other. We can only prevent fires in cooperation with residents to ensure that the houses are and remain fire-safe. Therefore, in addition to the use of fire safety technology, we also focus on raising awareness and encouraging fire-safe behaviour in our communication with residents.
In addition to the structured and planned emphasis in communications with residents, our managers also pay a great deal of attention to fire safety during their welcoming talks and also their talks when visiting the buildings. They are regularly in attendance, when they also check that escape routes are unobstructed and that there are no flammable items lying or hanging in the public areas. They also ensure that the equipment is intact, for example, that smoke detectors have not been removed.
Keep the escape routes clear!
The corridors and stairwells in our buildings are the escape routes in the event of fire. DUWO also advises residents to call 112 immediately in the event of a fire, to warn fellow residents quickly and escape outside. It is therefore very important to keep escape routes free of items such as rubbish bags, crates and bicycles, as well as posters and other flammable items on walls. In the event of fire and smoke spreading into the corridors and stairwells, these items will be impossible to see, are flammable, and become life-threatening obstacles. DUWO strictly enforces the rule to keep corridors and staircases free of obstructions. If any items are found, we will speak to the student unit in question and ask them to remove all items immediately. If any items are still found after a second inspection, DUWO will remove these and charge for administration costs and labour expenses.
Finally, fire safety events in which students can, for example, experience what it is like to flee through a corridor filled with smoke are held in cooperation with the fire department. By holding these events, we help to make our residents aware of safety and also ensure that they and their housemates have a pleasant, cosy and, above all, fire-safe home.