It should be noted that Security Services have no management responsibilities for university buildings out of hours, apart from calling the fire and rescue service and providing a key-holder response.
As a condition of allowing out-of-hours access, when staff or facilities management are not on duty, occupants must be briefed on how to respond to a fire or evacuation signal and communicate with the fire service and security services.
If an out of hours event is held, particularly when visitors are present, sufficient staff should be kept on duty to manage an evacuation.
Lone working out of hours should be in accordance with the lone working policy.
The Responsible Person must ensure that all staff are made aware of the following upon starting their employment and at regular intervals thereafter:
the evacuation procedures
the exit routes and assembly point
the sound of the fire alarm system
their responsibilities towards visitors and disabled persons
The emergency evacuation procedures should be explained to new members of staff and existing staff starting in a new location immediately after they start and a copy of the procedures should be given to them to reinforce their importance.
New staff should be physically shown around the premises, on their first day, to enable them to familiarise themselves with the location of the assembly point and the exit routes, particularly those that are not in general use,.
The sound of the fire alarm should be explained to them and if their working hours fall outside the time of the weekly test, a special test should be performed specifically for them (ensuring that the remainder of the occupants know what is happening).
Staff members may be required to help disabled visitors or staff in case of an emergency evacuation and their roles and responsibilities should be explained to them.
Sufficient staff must be trained in the evacuation procedures to ensure the safety of visitors, contractors and any other persons who may resort to the premises.
The number of staff required to sweep a building in case of an emergency evacuation will depend on the size and complexity of the building. A simple one room building may be checked by one person simply looking around from the exit door, whilst a multi storey building will require perhaps a person per floor or every other floor if there is a single staircase. Larger buildings may require one or more fire wardens for every wing. A fire drill when the building is occupied is the best way of determining the correct level of supervision.
The Responsible Person must ensure that a procedure is in place to ensure that people who cannot respond to the fire alarm or make their own unaided way to safety can be evacuated safely in case of fire or other emergency.
Fire Authorities have changed the thinking on ‘refuges’ as an acceptable alternative to evacuation, owing to the changes in fire safety law in 2006. All occupants should be able to get to a place of safety outside the building, wherever this is possible and practicable to do so. Individuals can wait in a ‘refuge’ with someone to assist, until such time as the escape route can be used safely and without risk.
A refuge is an area protected from fire, usually next to an escape staircase or evacuation lift. This is provided to give someone who cannot manage the stairs time and space to transfer into an evacuation chair. This can then be used by trained staff to help the person down the stairs time and space to wait for an evacuation lift or transfer into an evacuation chair. This can then be used by trained staff to help the person down the stairs. “Ibex” chairs are used to ascend stairs from a basement, and for descending stairs with winders, where a standard evacuation chair cannot be used.