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Home Safety

Burglaries

Sheffield is a safe city, but burglaries do happen. There are precautions that you can take to reduce your risk:

  • Lock doors and windows when not in the room, or the property
  • Keep valuables in a secure place where they are not on show
  • If there is a security light, make sure you tell your landlord if it isn’t working
  • If you have purchased new expensive items, try not to leave the packaging around. Put it in the bin or take it to the tip if you have a car (or make a deal with a friend who does!)

Contents Insurance
Your personal belongings may be covered on your parents’ home insurance, so it is worth checking with them before you purchase your own. If you aren’t covered and are looking to purchase insurance, make sure you read the fine print so you know what is covered and in what situations. You may find that you are only insured if you are able to lock the door to your room, but please be aware that landlords are not required to provide locks on bedroom doors.

Fire Safety
It is important to take precautions to prevent fire in your home as the consequences can be fatal. Your landlord should have provided you with a fire blanket in the kitchen and at least one smoke alarm depending on the size of the property. As a tenant, it is your responsibility to test the smoke alarm to ensure it is working – South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue recommend this is tested weekly and you can sign up for reminders here. If the battery is running out, the unit will usually alert you and you should change the battery or contact your landlord immediately (don’t just take it down and stick it in a drawer!).

You can reduce the risk of fire by ensuring that:

  • Cooking, particularly on the hob, is not left unattended
  • Don’t cook when you have consumed alcohol even if it seems like a great idea
  • Suitable cooking utensils/appliances are used – i.e. use and alternative to a chip pan
  • Candles, incense or joss sticks (if they are allowed – check your contract!) are not left unattended and are in suitable containers away from soft furnishings
  • Portable heaters (if they are allowed) are kept away from soft furnishings
  • Ensure that cigarettes are put out correctly, and usually smoking should only occur outside of the property
  • Don’t use cheap electrical equipment, as it isn’t usually to the same standard. Only buy from trusted sellers, the extra few pounds you spend could save your life

Gas Safety
Where your property has gas, e.g. a boiler, hob or gas fire, your landlord should have installed a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon Monoxide is an odourless gas which can be released from faulty appliances with potentially fatal consequences. Just like the smoke detectors, it is your responsibility to test it – preferably weekly, and if the battery is running low inform your landlord as soon as possible. They aren’t usually replaceable.

If your carbon monoxide alarm ever goes off, you must leave the property as soon as you can. Try to open windows and doors and turn off any gas appliances if possible. If anyone is sleeping and hasn’t heard the alarm, wake them up and get everyone outside. You should call your landlord as a matter of urgency as they will need an engineer to make the property safe again before you can go back in. If you have called your landlord a few times and are not able to get in contact, you should consider calling a Gas Safe registered engineer yourself, but be aware that you are likely to have to pay for this and claim reimbursement from your landlord.

It is important to try and remember the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning as there is no noticeable smell to alert you to its presence. These include nausea, dizziness, headaches, breathlessness, collapsing and loss of consciousness. If anyone exhibits these symptoms after a carbon monoxide alarm sounding, make sure you obtain medical advice.

If you smell gas, call the free emergency helpline on 0800 111 999.

Visitors
When someone turns up to come into your property, always look at their badge to make sure the person is who they say they are and don’t allow anyone in if you aren’t expecting them (even if they say the landlord has sent them).

Personal Safety
As well as home safety, you will need to ensure your own personal safety at all times, but particularly at night.

  • Try to stay as a group when you are out and about in Sheffield, either on a night out or just walking home after a trip to the library
  • Avoid shortcuts through deserted places especially if unlit. Try and stick to the main routes where you are more likely to be around other people
  • Try and always walk facing the traffic so that a vehicle cannot pull up behind you without you knowing
  • Do not listen to music or anything else which could distract you from your surroundings. Pay attention to what is happening around you
  • Keep valuables such as your phone in a secure place when in public. Smartphones can be very highly sought after
  • Find out which shops or facilities such as petrol stations are open late at night so you can go there in an emergency
  • The Students’ Union offers a women’s minibus which operates during term time for £1.50 per person. It will take you from the Students’ Union or the IC to your door (if you live in a 2 mile radius) in the evening. Operating times can be found here
  • If you find, when it is time to go home, you don’t have any money you can take advantage of the safe taxi scheme. Call City Taxis (0114 239 3939) and mention the ‘Safe Taxi Scheme’. At your destination, you will need to give the driver your UCard and get a receipt. You can then collect your UCard and pay your fare in the Students’ Union – usually your card will be there within 24-48 hours

Useful Contact Details

Emergency Services - 999
Non-urgent police service – 101
University Security – 0114 222 4444
City Taxis (Safe Taxi Scheme) – 0114 239 3939

Level 3, Students' Union Building, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TG
Tel: 0114 2226058, Email: smartmove@sheffield.ac.uk

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