Safety Office

Section 3: Fire Precautions

It is a responsibility of all members of the University to know the position of fire alarm, extinguishers and all exits of the buildings in which they are working or using. 

It is essential that all members of the University know the positions of their nearest fire alarm call points, internal and external telephones, extinguishers and all the exits from the building in which they are working or using. Similarly the sound(s) of the fire alarm system should be known and their meaning understood. These features should be made known to all members of the University who will be new to working in or using the building. 

All exit routes must be capable of providing safe and unimpeded passage in the event of an emergency. Consequently corridors and staircases should not be used as working or storage areas. All doors affording exit should be capable of being easily and immediately opened from within at all times that the building is occupied. Fire resisting smoke stop doors must not be left open e.g. held by wedges or extinguishers.


On discovering a Fire:

  • Raise the alarm by operating the nearest break glass call point.
  • Dial 8888 on the nearest internal telephone stating the location of the fire.
  • Attack the fire with nearest appropriate extinguisher if safe to do so and your escape route is clear.

On hearing the Alarm:

  • Leave the building immediately, do not use lift, do not stop to collect personal belongings.
  • Close all doors and windows when leaving.
  • Report to your assembly point.

Porters and Security Staff:

  • Assist orderly evacuation of building.
  • Prevent persons re-entering building during emergency.

Fire Precautions in the Medical School:

  • Follow local fire procedure.

3.1 Use of Extinguishers

The prompt and intelligent use of an extinguisher in the earliest stages can prevent a serious fire. However, you should only use an extinguisher if competent to do so. 

In attempting to put out a fire it is essential that the correct type of extinguisher is used. The use of the wrong type could in some circumstances increase the hazard and danger to the operator. 

Under no circumstances should a water extinguisher be used on electrical fires. 

Materials Involved Extinguisher to Use (and colour of extinguisher/marking on a red body)
All carbonaceous materials such as wood, textiles, paper, etc. Water type (red). 
Flammable liquids, solvents, petrol, oil, etc. Foam (cream); Fire blanket.
Live electrical equipment and wiring. Dry powder or Carbon Dioxide.

Fire extinguishers must not be used to hold open doors as they may be damaged as a result and will not be available at their expected location in the event of a fire. The holding open of fire doors, other than by automatic door release devices, is not permitted as this reduces the fire protection of the building by allowing smoke and flames to spread further and more quickly.

3.2 Reporting of Fire

A Fire Report Form must be completed immediately in respect of all outbreaks of fire occurring within the University. This is to ensure that basic information on the fire is available to the University in the event of any future enquiry and to enable the incident to be investigated with a view to the possibility of preventing further similar incidents.  

The Fire Report Form should be completed by Heads of School/Department, etc. or Hall Managers or their respective nominated personnel. Blank copies of the form for photocopying as required have been distributed for local use. In the event of difficulty further copies can be obtained from the Safety Office. When completed, one copy of the form should be sent to the Safety Office, one to the Security Office and one retained within the location.

3.3 Fire Evacuation Procedure

Each School, Department, etc. is responsible for setting up fire evacuation procedures. The aim is that in the event of fire all persons in the location should leave immediately, and that by the time the Fire Service arrives, information is available on whether there are any persons remaining in the building. This is normally achieved by dividing the building into sections and personnel should on hearing the fire alarm clear each of these sections as they leave. They should then report to a co-ordinating member of staff who on completion of the evacuation should be in a position to advise the attending officer from the Fire Brigade of the position concerning the successful clearance of the building. 

To assist in the management and control of this system, the majority of buildings have their sections identified by strategically placed fire tokens. A token should be taken by the first member of staff passing it on evacuating the section and who should then check that the rooms within that section have been cleared. This person then reports to the co-ordinator at the assembly point.

The co-ordinator will be one of a number of senior members of School or Department etc staff nominated to take charge in the event of an emergency. In the case of buildings used by several Schools or Departments there will be a co-ordinated system for the building as a whole. 

At least one exercise of the fire evacuation procedure (fire drill) will be held annually. The assistance of the University Fire Safety Adviser (ext. 13302) must be sought prior to the exercise taking place. This will enable the necessary personnel, i.e. duty electrician, etc. to be present. The exercise must be followed by a review of the procedures, as appropriate, in the light of how effective the fire drill proved to be. A report must then be forwarded to the Fire Safety Adviser at the University Safety Office. 

The fire alarm system must be tested each week. (The duty electrician may undertake this task if a request is made to the Estate Office). 

Outbreaks of fire, fire drills and the testing of fire alarms must be recorded.

3.4 Fire Response Procedure

This procedure PDF format deals with the response by University Security to fire alarm signals received in Security Control. All buildings at University Park, Sutton Bonington, Jubilee,  and the Clinical Sciences Building at City Hospital have fire alarm systems that send a signal to Security Control Room. 

At Jubilee Campus and Sutton Bonington a five-minute delay in calling the Fire Brigade is permitted only during certain working hours in order that the reason for the automatic fire alarm activation can be investigated. The procedure defines the hours during which the delay applies; this varies for different categories of building, e.g. academic, residential. 

The Fire Brigade will not attend to fire alarm actuations at University Park unless they have verbal confirmation that there is an actual Fire/Incident. 

At sites shared with hospitals (e.g. Medical School and City Hospital) the hospital’s response arrangements are to be adopted.

If a definite report of fire is received by Security Control, they will contact the Fire Brigade immediately.

3.5 Hazard Information for the Fire Brigade

Some activities might expose fire officers attending a fire to greater hazard than would normally be the case for that type of building. Consequently sets of floor plans showing high hazard areas are kept available for the Fire Brigade at each relevant building, mainly laboratory or workshop buildings. 

Hazard plans show the location of facilities such as radiation or biohazard laboratories, chemical stores or permanent/semi-permanent gas cylinders, high power lasers. Isolators for main services are also included. 

The Estate Office issues the plans. Relevant Schools are required to return an updated copy to the Estate Office each December.

3.6 Emergency Evacuation of Persons with Disabilities

The University will seek to comply with the guidance in British Standards, Codes of Practice and the Building Regulations. Reasonable adjustments will be made wherever possible to facilitate safe access and egress. 

The University's arrangements for the emergency evacuation of persons with a disability are published on the Safety Office website. This includes general information about the facilities available and the procedures in place. Information describing the general emergency and evacuation arrangements is contained in building access plans displayed near the principal entrances to buildings and is also available on the Estate Office website. 

If these general arrangements do not seem suitable then it might be necessary to develop a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) PDF format. The purpose of this is to identify with the person concerned any additional arrangements that may reasonably be made to enable their effective evacuation in an emergency. This will reflect the unique characteristics of the buildings that they need to visit and their own requirements. 

To initiate the development of a PEEP the University must be notified as follows: 

  • Students should notify Academic Support,
  • Members of staff should notify their line manager
  • In the case of university accommodation by indicating on the Residence Form issued prior to arrival or subsequently the Hall Manager should be notified.

The following specific information is provided for wheelchair users concerning emergency evacuation arrangements:

All buildings are provided with a fire alarm system that is activated automatically when a fire is detected but can also be manually activated by operating a fire alarm call point. The sound of the alarm is usually a siren. Lifts must not be used in the event of a fire unless specifically designated for this purpose. 

If the alarm sounds you should leave the building using the nearest suitable exit to the outside. If you are on a floor from which you cannot exit without using a lift you should make your way to the nearest refuge. A refuge is a temporary safe space for you to await assistance for your evacuation. It comprises a fire resisting enclosure that is served directly by a safe route to a storey exit, evacuation lift or final exit. The location of refuges is shown on the building access plans located inside the main entrance of the building and also accessible on the Web. 

Once in the refuge you should contact Security Control using the telephone in the refuge where provided or a mobile phone (telephone 0115 951 8888) to indicate your presence in a refuge. You will be asked for your name, the location of the refuge, and if relevant your mobile telephone number so that the Security Office can keep in contact with you to provide you with information about the alarm and your evacuation. The overwhelming majority of fire alarm activations are due to reasons other than a fire so you should not worry and remain calm. 

A member of the response team should contact you within a few minutes. You will not be evacuated unless it is necessary to do this. If it necessary to evacuate you and there is not a suitable lift then you might be asked to transfer to an Evacuation Chair. This is a specially designed chair for descending staircases. You are encouraged to try one of these at an early point of your time at the University. If you have any reservations about the use or suitability of an Evacuation Chair you should make this known so that your requirements can be reviewed and alternative arrangements made.


Safety Office

Pharmacy Building - Lower Ground Floor
University Park
University of Nottingham
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Telephone: +44 (0)115 951 3401