By Louisa Roger

A staggering two thirds of second, third and fourth year university students recently surveyed said they, or somebody they knew, had experience of a fire or of setting off a smoke alarm while at university.

More than half of all house fires start in the kitchen, and historically students have been proven to be at high risk of becoming victims of fire.

There are many reasons for this; late night cooking after a night out (often when the students have
been drinking, which affects their reactions and decision-making), smoking, burning candles, or simply becoming distracted and forgetting that something has been left on the stove or under the grill.

However, additional research has revealed a complacency among students, an over-riding feeling that disastrous events are what happens to other people; it’s a complacent, invulnerable, “it will never happen to me” mentality.

So the challenge facing Avon Fire & Rescue Service was one of how to reach students in an innovative, ultimately the choice is yours, engaging way that they will take notice of, so that they might just heed some of the simple safety messages which, ultimately, could save their lives.

On the basis that a picture paints a thousand words, the fire service turned to the pictures, and sought inspiration from Hollywood.

Fatal Distraction is a Hollywood- style movie trailer which tries to alert students to the dangers of getting distracted while cooking, and to show just how easy – or tempting – it might be to get distracted.

The concept was based on choices and doors – how some decisions can open doors, and lead to a bright future, whilst the wrong decisions could close them forever. The image of a door features heavily in the film, as you draw nearer and nearer to a door, wondering what might be waiting on the other side.

Several different ‘distraction’ scenarios were created, which will be used to create three different versions of the trailer.

Sadly, the trailer IS inspired by events that actually happen, for real, to ordinary people. But it does not have to end in disaster; ultimately the choice is yours, whether you choose to give in to temptation or to deny distraction. There is more background information and details on a dedicated website, as well as more safety messages and tips on how you can make sure that YOU do not become a victim of a Fatal Distraction.