Evacuation

In most emergency situations, you need to get out of a building and to a safe assembly point.

Wardens, students and visitors gather at an assembly point after an evacuation drill.
Wardens, students and visitors gather at an assembly point after an evacuation drill.

Important phone numbers

Fire service
Phone: 111 (1-111 internal)

Security
Phone: 966 (internal) or 0800 373 7550

  • Know your street address and building number

Is there an emergency but no alarm is ringing?

If you become aware of an emergency that requires a building evacuation.

  • Alert people near you.
  • Activate the nearest alarm.
  • Contact emergency services.
  • Contact University Security.
  • If possible, notify the floor warden and/or building warden. 
In an emergency, look out for the building and floor wardens in their high-visibility vests.

Hear an alarm?

  • Stop what you are doing. Alert those around you (especially those wearing headphones).
  • Shut down machinery/equipment if safe to do so.
  • Evacuate the building. Report to the safe evacuation area.
  • Do not run. If you are slow due to injury etc., let other people evacuate first.
  • Do not use lifts.
  • Do not carry bulky bags, food or drinks. Small items close to hand that don't affect safe evacuation may be taken.
  • Help people who need assistance. More information: Evacuation for people with impairments or disabilities.
  • Do not re-enter any building until given the all-clear by the Fire Service or building warden. (Floor wardens may help spread the message, including any conditions for re-entry).

Exit door not opening?

Be aware that most doors are released when the alarm sounds. Important note: Most card readers will remain red but the doors should unlock. If the doors are still locked, then:

  • Look for the emergency door release
  • Break the cover (use a small tool such as a pen, keys etc.). Depress the release switch. This will release the door.
Emergency door release switch

Staff duties in an evacuation

When the alarm sounds

  • Ensure that students and other visitors evacuate the building by the nearest exit.
  • Lecturers: You are responsible for ensuring that people in your classes safely evacuate the building. 
  • Wardens: You have an important role in an evacuation.
    Find out more: Warden duties.

Someone refusing to leave the building?

Don't waste time arguing. Note their name or room number and report them to the building warden.

Not responsible for any students/visitors and not a warden?

Help wherever possible to ensure your building is evacuated effectively.

Do you work in an area that wardens can't search?

If you're maintenance staff and work in plant rooms or other areas that wardens can't search, evacuate when the alarm sounds and report to the building warden that the area is clear of occupants.

Important: Do you need evacuation assistance?

Organise an evacuation plan before an emergency.

Find out more: Evacuation for people with impairments or disabilities.

Life safety systems and protections

The University’s buildings have inbuilt life safety systems to allow occupants to safely exit buildings in a range of emergency events. There are a variety of systems. These will differ in each building but may include:

  • Smoke-stop doors that can withstand intense heat and keep smoke out
  • Stairwell pressurisation systems to keep smoke out
  • Emergency lighting
  • Early detection and warning alarms sounders/strobes
  • Sprinklers.

These systems provide vital support to anyone who may have to remain in the building until the Fire Service can assist.

Before an evacuation

Check

  • You must be able to open all fire exit doors without keys
  • Exit paths must be kept clear.
  • Smoke-stop doors should never be wedged open. If you see one open, please report it to the building warden or a senior staff member immediately.
  • Read evacuation notices and become familiar with what you need to do.

Staff responsibilities before an evacuation

Academic staff

Ensure that students know where to find evacuation notices, exits and assembly points for the lecture facilities.

Do this at your first lecture for each group of students at the start of every semester (or every course if it doesn't involve a full semester).

Are you responsible for a building?

Ensure that:

  • Users know about the building's evacuation procedure
  • If no staff are present, then the users understand how to evacuate themselves.

Evacuation notices

Be familiar with these before an emergency. They provide information on where to go in an emergency situation. 

Evacuation notices are displayed throughout the University in key areas including: 

  • At every alarm point and lift entry
  • In public, student and staff common areas
  • Kitchens, dining and reception areas
  • In every room or unit with sleeping facilities

Re-entry information

  • Re-enter in stages where possible.  Allow staff and those with mobility impairments in first, then upper floor occupants. 
  • Encourage occupants on lower floors to use the stairs, rather than overwhelming lifts and lobby areas.

Building systems

  • May remain offline temporarily, e.g. lifts, ventilation systems, security doors, until the building's fire safety system has been reset. This can be dependent on the building's age and the type of system installed.

Faculty assembly points

Each University building has recommended assembly points. These may change depending on wind direction or the nature of the emergency. However, the important thing is to get well clear of any hazards. 

You should be made aware of the assembly points as part of any induction or safety briefing at your faculty. 

The information is also displayed on every floor of every University building. Additionally, some faculties or service divisions have this information on their intranet. For more information, contact your line manager or academic leader.