3 Duties under the law
3.1 See Relevant Statutory Provisions.
(a) Statutory provisions related to fire safety all have a common purpose; the protection of life.
(b) Statutory provisions have the following objectives:
- to reduce the numbers of fires;
- to minimise the development or spread of fire within the buildings or to prevent it spreading
between them; and
- the provision of means of escape.
(c) Fire safety legislation applies to Universities as follows:
- The Fire Precautions Act (1971) (as amended by the Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act (1987)).
- Section 9(a) applies to Offices, Shops and Factory premises and student accommodation which is let during vacation periods.
- Section 10 which relates to dangerous conditions.
- The Housing Act (1985) (as amended 1989) Houses in multiple occupation; applies to student accommodation, eg halls of residence.
- Licensing Act (1964) applies to licensed public functions.
- The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 and The Fire Precautions (Workplace) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 which require an employer to carry out a written fire risk assessment of the premises, even if they are covered by a fire certificate.
4 Responsible parties
(a) The Safety Committee is responsible for determining the University policy on Fire Safety
(a) The Health Safety and Environment Office is responsible for advising the Safety Committee and members of the University on the statutory and University requirements for Fire Safety.
(b) The University Fire Safety Officer is responsible for advising the Safety Committee and members of the University on all matters relating to Fire Safety.
(c) The Service / College Safety Officer, where appointed by the Head of Service / College Dean, is responsible for implementing the University’s arrangements for Fire Safety.
(a) The Vice Chancellor and the Registrar and Secretary have the ultimate responsibility to ensure that the University of Exeter complies with all statutory fire safety requirements. They may share this responsibility with:-
(b) Directors of Building who are responsible for statutory compliance in the building(s) for which they are responsible, and for ensuring that fire risk assessments are carried out. They may share these responsibilities with :-
(c) College Deans/Heads of Discipline/Units who are responsible for statutory compliance in their areas of responsibility, eg their College, but they may share this responsibility with :-
(d) Supervisors who are responsible for statutory compliance in their areas of responsibility, eg of technical staff, students.
(e) All Staff have a duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves and others who may be affected by their work. They also have a duty to comply with the University's arrangements for Fire Safety.
(f) Students , although not employees of the University, are offered the same protection as employees with respect to Fire Safety and are required similarly to comply with its arrangements.
(a) Fire is potentially the most serious hazard that the University faces. The magnitude and rate of damage to life and property far outweighs any other hazard. It is thus appropriate that the University provides significant resources to reduce the risk of a fire occurring and, if it does occur, to mitigate its damaging effects.
(b) A major factor in the management of fire risk is to ensure that University members work in such a manner as to prevent a fire and to respond correctly if it occurs.
(c) Poor housekeeping, carelessness and neglect will both increase the possibility of a fire occurring and allow a fire to spread more rapidly.
(d) Because fire is a relatively infrequent occurrence, these objectives can be achieved only by motivating staff to be concerned about fire and by thorough training in the actions they must take in the event of fire.
(e) Employees must be made aware that safety is a prime University objective and that unceasing efforts are made to improve safety standards. Staff should also be encouraged to report fire safety problems and to suggest remedial actions.
(a) Means of escape: The routes by which persons may escape from a fire, and the means by which these routes are kept useable. These means include fire-doors to prevent smoke and flame from spreading to an escape-route; signage to indicate the direction to safety; panic furniture or other fast-release systems on escape doors to allow free egress while maintaining internal security at normal times; ladders or mechanical devices to allow escape from upper stories where internal staircases are unavailable.
(b) Fire warning systems: Systems provided to facilitate the alerting of occupants of the building and others with fire safety responsibility to the existence of fire within the premises. These include fire alarms, fire detection equipment, connection to remote terminals, those terminals.
(c) Escape lighting: Lighting designed to switch on upon interruption of the mains electrical supply, and to illuminate the means of escape for a pre-determined period by means of stored electricity.
(d) Fire-fighting equipment: Apparatus such as fire extinguishers, hosereels, fire-blankets, provided for use by the Fire Service personnel or for occupants of the building for fire-fighting purposes ONLY.
5.3 Schedule of Inspection and Testing
See also the full Schedule of Inspection and Testing.
(a) In order that the systems put in place for the safety of staff and students may remain operative and functioning at their peak, regular inspection is vital. These inspections range from the day-to-day observation of components such as fire doors, fire escape routes, operation panels, fire extinguishers etc, which should be done by anyone and everyone as a matter of course, to the less-frequent but more comprehensive inspections that are to be carried out by competent person(s). All inspection and testing is carried out in accordance with BS5266 : Part 1 : 1988.
(b) Summary of Inspection and Testing
(i) Means of Escape
(ii) Fire Warning Systems
(iii) Escape Lighting (where applicable)
- Six monthly, annually and triennially
(iv) Fire Fighting Equipment
(v) Test emergency generator (if provided)
5.4 Recording of Results
All University buildings have a Fire Precautions Log Book, which is normally located in a locked metal cabinet at or near the main entrance. Written records of inspections and tests and remedial action must be recorded in the Log Book.
5.5 Monitoring of the results
(a) Monitoring the results of will normally form part of the safety duties of staff responsible for health and safety in the building concerned.
(b) In addition, Health, Safety & Environment Office, Safety Committee, Fire Service and other authorised inspectors will have the right to see and check test and inspection result.
5.6 Remedial Action
(a) If inspection and testing shows a defect or fault in any piece of fire-fighting apparatus, fire safety system or component thereof, the fact must be reported immediately to the maintenance unit responsible for repairs, and the fact noted in the record.
(b) Remedial action must be taken on any reported defect without delay. When the deficiency is made good, the fact must be recorded.
(a) Inspection and Testing of fire safety measures must be carried out by Competent Persons.
(b) Suitable persons (normally members of the University Technical or Maintenance Staff) may, where appropriate, be given suitable and sufficient training to carry out any or all of these tasks. Such Competent Persons may be required to produce evidence of competence.
(c) Where contractors are employed, University staff may request written evidence of their competence.
5.8 Fire Evacuation drills
The University also has a Policy and Procedure for Fire Evacuation Drills.
(a) If fire routines are to be effective, staff and students must be familiar with the means of escape, their use and all other arrangements, equipment or installations designed to ensure their safe evacuation from the premises.
(b) Evacuation drills should be carried out at least once every 12 months and arranged to involve as many building occupants as possible.
(c) During these exercises, the fire alarm should be operated by a specially nominated member of staff.
(d) The responsibility for initiating evacuation drills lies with the Director of Building, who usually nominates a Fire Drill Supervisor to arrange and invigilate the exercises.
(e) A record of all drills and exercises should be entered in the building’s log book.