Flaming Sausages!

Student Lib Wiles reflects about some of the more surprising aspects of living in a flat with students for the first time…

Flame-grilling sausages. This is not what it should look like whan you open the oven. Photo by Timmy Toucan.

by Lib Wiles

Fire Drill

Students take a lot of risks: moving away from home, cooking for ourselves, doing our own washing, turning up to lectures (Editorial note: !?!) and of course, drinking. You haven’t experienced a real hangover until you’ve been a student and on one night out in Cardiff caught a cab to Swansea, and then got on the train back, fell asleep, and ended up in Bristol by morning. Now that’s what you call a night out!

shady figures in the mists of morning. Photo by Mark Hartl But one thing that really isn’t appreciated when you’ve been drinking is the dreaded fire alarm. 6.50am: the shrill, sickening sound pierces the air and suddenly, the second your eyes open, it’s like you’re in an army camp. Banging on the doors, people barking orders, being marched out into the cold – it’s terrifying. Especially when your head is pounding and you’re so sleepy that you have no idea what’s going on. Hair scraped back, no make-up, no shoes and stood in the rain in embarrassing pink pyjamas is not any girl’s (or guy’s!) idea of a good time. You’re grumpy as hell, you think “oh well! Back to bed for me”, but of course by the time you get back to your room and see the clock, you realise that you’ve got a lecture in an hour.


Glamorgan Court J Block. After reading the article, we sent out a Resident Tutor to confirm the building is still there. We can confirm the building still stands. When you’re living with five complete strangers in Halls, all shoved into one tiny little flat with barely enough fridge space for one person’s food (never mind six lots of alcohol), things are bound to get a little heated. By heated, I don’t mean silly little arguments over storage-space and whose turn it is to wash up or take the bins out – by heated, I mean that most students have absolutely no idea how to use an electric oven, and thus are more likely to set everything on fire. Yes, we’re adults – don’t you ever forget it – but when it comes to not killing everyone by accident, you shouldn’t have full confidence in us. I realised this when J block nearly burnt down, thanks to my inexperienced flatmate trying to cook some sausages in above-mentioned oven. We’re all sat there cooking our own things, and the next thing we know, there’s smoke everywhere. My flatmate – unnamed for obvious reasons – has set his sausages on fire (Editorial Note: Please identify the flatmate, so we can deploy a Resident Tutor to advise / admonish him!). Of course, for the next few days, our clothes, hair and pretty much everything else smell of burnt sausages. Mmm, attractive.

Ah, well. At least the burnt sausages still tasted pretty good.

A note from a (former) Resident Tutor

One of the most likely causes of the fire mentioned above is poor kitchen cleanliness: if the grill pan is reused without grease being cleaned out between uses, the grease can accumulate, and eventually, after several uses, it can ignite – especially when the grill / oven door is opened and fresh oxygen becomes available. Some advice: clean the grill pan regularly. Do not lean down towards the grill / oven when you open its door. If a fire has developed, close the oven / grill door, switch it off, and wait until the CO2 inside the oven extinguishes the flames before re-opening the door. If you are concerned, call halls staff for assistance. Do not tackle a fire with extinguishers yourself.

Regarding the fire drills – there are two drills during the academic year. One early in the morning, one late in the afternoon. They’re obligations the University has to meet, and they teach students escape paths and fire assembly points.

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