Students Staff

Fire safety

Your responsibilities

Fire exit sign

All managers, staff and students have a responsibility for fire safety, taking precautions, following guidelines and knowing what to do in the event of a fire.

The consequences of a fire at our University could potentially be very serious. For this reason we have high standards of fire protection in our buildings. However, for them to be effective, we all need to be vigilant and follow our fire safety procedures.

Please make sure that you know:

Fire safety procedures

Fire safety arrangements

All University property has been assessed under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order and conforms to the stipulations of the Building Regulations.

  • Fire hazards

    Fire hazards are the potential sources of ignition and are controlled as far as is reasonably practicable.

    • All electrical systems are regularly tested. Our Electrical Safety Standard sets out our arrangements for ensuring the electrical safety of portable electrical equipment. It includes our requirements for Portable Appliance Testing.
    • Smoking is not permitted in the University's buildings.
    • Fixed heating systems are in place and privately-owned heaters and toasters are not permitted.
    • Measures are in place to reduce the risk of arson.

  • Training

    Training in basic fire awareness is provided to all staff; information and training are available to students. This is augmented with additional training for managers, residents, evacuation stewards and fire marshals.

  • Evacuation policy

    This policy is designed to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the rapid and safe evacuation of University premises in the event of an emergency. All staff, students, contractors and visitors are required to comply.

  • Evacuation of persons who may have difficulty

    The vast majority of areas of our buildings are safe for those who may have difficulty however additional arrangements may be required and will be arranged.

    Staff and students who may have difficulties should contact a Fire Safety Officer or Patrol/Security staff out of hours. A Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) will be prepared considering your personal circumstance.

    Staff or students who have visitors who may have difficulty are required to notify a Fire Safety Officer, Patrol/Security, Venue Essex, Communications and External Relations or Wivenhoe House Hotel staff as appropriate before or on their arrival on campus. People being visited will be required to take responsibility for providing assistance; this may be devolved to other persons willing to assist.

    Those notified will provide advice, make reasonable arrangements and record the information. This may include:

    • encouraging, or arranging for, visitors to use the most suitable areas; at worst, limiting the time they are in less suitable areas
    • specific advice on evacuation from the areas they may use
    • advice that they should evacuate horizontally into an area where the alarms are not operating or authorisation to use specially adapted lifts
    • ensuring the visitor and helpers know to summon assistance in an emergency
    • reassuring visitors that, in a worst case scenario, they are safe from fire in a room for a minimum of 30 minutes and in a Disabled Refuge or staircase enclose for a minimum of one hour
    • checking that a trained person is available to use any specialist evacuation equipment
    • arranging for Patrol Staff to prioritise their location if an alarm activates

    Event Essex and Communications and External Relations will notify the Information Desk of the arrival of relevant people, the areas they will be using and any arrangements they have made.

    People are required to take responsibility for their visitors who require assistance - this may be devolved to other persons willing to assist.

    Advice for those who may have difficulty evacuating in an emergency

    If you, or someone you are responsible for, may have difficulty evacuating in an emergency, you should arrange a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP). The following will be covered in your PEEP:

    Wheelchair users and others who cannot manage stairs

    Some lifts are specially adapted to remain safe for use in a fire; where these are available they are the best option. Specialist equipment (evacuation chairs etc) with trained operators are provided where necessary.

    Some buildings are alarmed in zones. In these you may not need to evacuate to outside; you will be in a safe area when you pass a red flashing beacon but must not re-enter until the beacon stops flashing.

    As a last resort, request assistance from a colleague or other person to assist you into a designated refuge area or the part of the corridor closest to the staircase. (Unless you are threatened by the fire or other emergency you should not enter a staircase enclosure).

    Use the communication system provided or ask the person assisting you to inform the Patrol/Security/Hotel staff. They will inform you as to what action to take and will arrange assistance if required.

    Should you be threatened by fire, you should move onto the staircase enclosure but remain on the landing. All staircases are protected and you would normally be safe to remain on the landing for at least an hour. Specialist evacuation chairs are provided on some staircases, the University may need to provide training for any carers in its use and would like to familiarise you with it.

    Persons who can manage stairs with difficulty

    Follow the advice above or make your way to a staircase. Your limited mobility could cause an accident to either yourself or others, do not attempt to descend until the main body of other people has passed.

    Visual impairment

    Exit routes should be well lit, doorways etc. are obvious and signage should be large enough to read. If you may have difficulties finding your way out you should ensure you familiarise yourself with all potential escape routes or be accompanied at all times.

    Difficulty reading

    If you cannot read the information provided, particularly the emergency instruction notices, it should be read to you or provided in a larger format.

    Hearing impairment

    If you may not hear the fire alarm you must request that specialist equipment is provided or ensure that someone will notify you immediately. The University provides flashing beacons to assist you in some areas and has specialist equipment available for residents and sleeping guests.

    Weakness or limited dexterity

    If you find it difficult to open doors special adaptations may need to be made, or it may be necessary to be accompanied.

    Mental health issues

    These range from severe learning difficulties to occasional panic attacks. Potential solutions generally require personal support or supervision. This will be covered in the PEEP.

  • Residents in University accommodation

    If you're a student living in University residences, please see our information on accommodation fire safety.

  • Fire risk assessments

    Fire risk assessments are in place and set the standards for fire safety and the measures necessary to reduce the risk as far as reasonably practicable. These are reviewed regularly and if there are any significant changes. In addition, our arrangements are audited by the Fire Service annually.

Contact us

We have dedicated Fire Safety Officers in the Health and Safety Advisory Service.

Fire Safety Officers

Telephone 01206 (87) 4847

Email fire@essex.ac.uk