Fire safety responsibilities

Full details of health and safety responsibilities of all staff can be found in the Health and Safety PolicyHealth and Safety PolicyHealth and Safety Policy. The general responsibilities given in the policy apply to the management of risks arising from fire. The following responsibilities also apply:

General responsibilities

Heads of Department

  • Ensure sufficient people are designated and trained as evacuation stewards and details included in the department's Health and Safety Management Statement.
  • Ensure that there are arrangements in place for communicating fire safety arrangements and emergency evacuation proceduresemergency evacuation proceduresemergency evacuation procedures to staff, students and visitors.
  • Where relevant, ensure sufficient people are nominated to operate evacuation chairs and ensure they are trained.
  • During an evacuation take charge of an assembly point. Receive reports from evacuation stewards and update security/patrol staff on areas checked and persons not accounted for.
  • Ensure adequate risk assessmentsrisk assessmentsrisk assessments are completed for any activities carried out by the department that significantly impact on fire safety (eg use of highly flammable substances, naked flame, hot works) and ensure the necessary control measures and emergency arrangements are in place.

Managers

  • Ensure everyone under your control knows:
  • During an emergency evacuation, take charge of an assembly point if you are the most senior person there. Receive reports from evacuation stewards and update patrol staff on areas checked and persons not accounted for.
  • Encourage staff and students who may have difficulty evacuating to contact a Fire Safety Officer for a PEEPPEEPPEEP.
  • Where relevant to your location, nominate sufficient people to operate evacuation chairs and ensure they are trained.
  • Ensure that any premises faults or insufficiently controlled potential causes of fire are reported and dealt with promptly.
  • Carry out risk assessmentsCarry out risk assessmentsCarry out risk assessments for any activities that may significantly impact on fire safety (eg use of highly flammable substances, naked flame, hot works) and ensure the necessary control measures are in place. If necessary seek advice from a Fire Safety Officer.
  • Consult a Fire Safety Officer when planning any changes to layout, working practices or staffing which may impact on fire safety.

Supervisors of student and visitor groups (eg. lecturers, event leaders)

  • If organising an event ensure that adequate arrangements are in place for fire safety and emergency evacuationsemergency evacuationsemergency evacuations. Larger events will require a fire risk assessmentrisk assessmentrisk assessment which should be carried out, in good time, with the assistance of a Fire Safety Officer.
  • Ensure everyone under your control know the actions to take and where to assemble in case of an emergency evacuation. Refer to our Fire Safety Briefing (.pdf) for further help.
  • If someone you are responsible for may have difficulty evacuating (and does not have a PEEPPEEPPEEP covering the location) seek advice from the relevant campus Security team/reception or a Fire Safety Officer (fire@essex.ac.uk 01206 874847).
  • Ensure that everyone under your control evacuates when required to do so. If anyone refuses to evacuate, report to the security staff immediately.
  • Check fire safety arrangements are adequate as part of the planning of offsite activities with groups of students (eg fieldtripsfieldtripsfieldtrips or recreational visits) and ensure that emergency evacuation arrangements are communicated to all participants on the trips.

All staff

  • Follow relevant fire safety precautions and evacuation proceduresevacuation proceduresevacuation procedures.
  • Attend basic fire safety training and other fire safety training as may be necessary for your role.
  • Evacuate immediately if the fire alarm sounds, closing doors behind you. Ensure your visitors or anyone you are responsible for evacuates.
  • Report any fire safety issuesfire safety issuesfire safety issues to a manager and to the University's Fire Safety Officers.
  • Do not leave anything obstructing escape routes or leave combustible materials in corridors. Keep fire doors closed.
  • Contact a Fire Safety Officer if you have a problem evacuating, even if temporary to arrange a PEEPPEEPPEEP.

Students

This fire safety presentation has essential information for all students on what to do in the event of a fire at the University and what you can do to help avoid fires.

Fire safety tips for residents

Whether you're frying breakfast or straightening your hair, – if you're living in University-provided accommodation or off-campus in a shared flat, it's important to know how to stay safe to avoid fire hazards.

The use of candles, tea lights, joss sticks and aromatic burners are not permitted because they are a fire risk. They can set off overhead heat or smoke detectors.

A major cause of fires in residences is cooking so please:

  • Do not leave your cooking unattended.
  • Clean grill pans and cookers to keep them free from fat and food debris, which can be sources of ignition.
  • Read instructions on pre-packed food. Food wrappings which are not removed before cooking can create a fire hazard.
  • Do not wedge doors open, and report any door that fails to close fully to the Accommodation Office. All doors in residences are fitted with self-closing mechanisms and the doors are designed to prevent the spread of smoke and fire for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • Avoid false alarms: keep kitchen and shower doors closed and do not use aerosol sprays near the overhead heat or smoke detectors to avoid setting them off. The detectors in the kitchens are activated by heat and not smoke.
  • Please take time to read our electrical safety guidance as the University has strict rules on the use of electrical items.

People with specific responsibilities 

Vice-Chancellor

Overall responsibility for ensuring the fire safety of all persons legally on University property and the protection of any University property of national or historic importance. This includes landlord responsibilities as detailed in tenancy agreements and Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

Students' Union Chief Executive, Wivenhoe House Hotel General Manager, University of Essex Campus Services Director

For areas under their individual control: Responsibility for ensuring the fire safety of all persons and the protection of any university property of national or historic importance in so far as it is under their control. (Reference should be made to tenancy agreements, SLAs and Health and Safety Policies for further details).

Director of Estates and Campus Services

  • Maintain the University’s buildings and equipment in line with current legislation and requirements of the fire risk assessments. Ensure delivery of necessary remedial action and improvements.
  • Ensure suitable arrangements are in place for common emergencies across the campuses.
  • Design and build new assets in line with current legislative requirements for fire safety.

Health and Safety Advisory Service

  • Competent fire safety staff provide specialist advice to the University and its subsidiaries, on fire safety precautions and the implementation of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.
  • Support the University and its subsidiaries in carrying out fire risk assessments.
  • Provide fire safety training to employees and students of the University and its subsidiaries.
  • Co-ordinate and monitor fire protection arrangements across the University.
  • Co-ordinate regular fire evacuation drills and maintain appropriate records.

Fire Marshals (Patrol Staff and Hotel Night Porters)

Functions

The role of fire marshals will vary but may include:

  • to check that an area has been evacuated, as far as reasonably practicable receiving information from the senior manager at the assembly point
  • assist the Fire and Rescue Service
  • assist disabled evacuation
  • very limited fire fighting
  • assist the University Fire Officers in ensuring compliance

They will not be permitted to assume their duties until they have received appropriate training.

Duties

  • Evacuation check including assistance of disabled persons etc. Close all open doors. Turn off cookers, hazardous machines etc.
  • Guide Fire and Rescue Service, providing keys and information etc.
  • Contact expert advisors and Fire Safety Officer where appropriate.
  • Will not enter areas affected by fire or smoke other than to assist persons without unduly risking themselves.
  • Very minor fire fighting, extinguish very small fires only.
  • Control of affected areas and people.
  • Notify the fire officer of any faults, ie:
    • failure to evacuate immediately
    • fire door function
    • audibility of the alarm system
    • escape route blockages
    • emergency lighting function
    • other doors left open
    • cookers etc left on
    • fire fighting equipment
    • adherence to procedures

Training components

  • Evacuation stewards
  • Fire and smoke awareness
  • Evacuation techniques (inc. disabled)
  • Basic fire fighting (our extinguishers)
  • Our procedures

Evacuation Stewards

The function of Evacuation Stewards is to check that their area has been evacuated, as far as reasonably practicable and inform their manager at the assembly point. They will not be permitted to assume their duties until they have received appropriate training.

Their function will be to check that their area has been evacuated, as far as reasonably practicable and inform their manager at the assembly point. They will not be permitted to assume their duties until they have received appropriate training.

Duties

  • Systematically check all rooms in their areas have been evacuated. This should be done by rapid visual check of open rooms, those locked can reasonably be expected to be empty and need only be knocked on.
  • Close all room and corridor doors
  • Attempt to ensure disabled persons receive assistance
  • If a person refuses to leave do not delay. Report them to Patrol/Security staff asap.
  • Do not enter any area affected by heat or smoke
  • Proceed to the Assembly point and/or notify the appropriate manager that the area has been checked
  • Assist patrol staff in ensuring no persons re-enter the affected area until authorised.

Training components

  • Ensure area boundaries are known.
  • Impress the need for speed without rushing.
  • Door checking and opening procedure.
  • Instruct not to enter areas affected by fire or smoke other than to assist persons without unduly risking themselves.
  • Instruct not to fight fires.
  • Importance of closing doors.

Arrange fire evacuation steward training

Contact us
Contact us
Fire Safety Officers
Telephone: 01206 (87) 4847