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Thursday, 27 September, 2001, 07:48 GMT 08:48 UK
Fire service condoms for students
novelty condom
Condoms were chosen for their novelty factor
Students in Oxford are being issued with free condoms bearing the message "Let this be the only fire you light tonight!"

The aim is to make the city's student population of approximately 40,000 more conscious of the risks of fire in their accommodation - as well as conveying the safe sex message.

It is hoped the scheme will cut the number of fires in student accommodation
Oxfordshire Fire Service came up with the gimmick to coincide with Freshers' Week, when students are more open to free gifts and advice.

Chief fire officer John Parry said nearly 10,000 people were injured and a further 400 killed by fire in England and Wales every year.

"The majority of such fires are in multiple occupation houses, the type of accommodation, which attracts students," said Mr Parry.

"It is our job to alert young people to these dangers and their solutions as effectively as we can and therefore we need to use as many different and innovative channels as possible to achieve our target."

Candles and cigarettes

The fire service says candles, cigarettes, objects left to close too fires, pans over heating and a high number of student houses with no smoke alarm - or no battery in the alarm - are often to blame for fire outbreaks.

Alan Hoar, Oxfordshire's head of community fire safety said: "Given recent reports highlighting the current sexual health of the nation and the particularly worrying statistics relating to young people within our target age group it is hoped that our campaign will assist in lowering more than just fire statistics."

George Sutherland, managing director of Condomania which manufactured the contraceptives said: "We welcome this type of action from Oxfordshire Fire Service who are doing a fantastic job promoting this double message in such an innovative way."

After extensive research, the fire service decided that condoms - rather than pens, rulers, etc - packaged in a cardboard envelope bearing the core message, had the best novelty factor and the ability to communicate a wider safety message.

See also:

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30 Jul 98 | Education
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22 Mar 01 | Scotland
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