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Safety Policy Arrangement 5/2005 - Fire (rev. 2020)

  1. Policy Statement
  2. Arrangements
  3. Fire Safety Guidance
  4. Personal Emergency Egress Plans (PEEPs)
  5. Guidelines for Emergency Egress of Disabled People
  6. Covid-19
  7. Training
  8. Further Information and Advice

Abbreviations: HOS = Head of School; SSR = School Safety Representative; UFSA = University Fire Safety Adviser, PEEPs = Personal emergency egress plans


The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 requires provision to be made for the safe egress of people from a building in the event of an emergency situation. The University of Dundee acknowledges the extreme risks to life, property and the University's livelihood caused by fire, and the legal requirements to control fire risks. It is the University's policy to evacuate everyone in an emergency whenever possible and not to rely on the Fire Brigade for assistance. Staff should follow local arrangements in buildings not owned or controlled by the University. Additionally, each member of staff is urged to remain vigilant, to take personal action to reduce fire risks and to never assume that fire safety is always someone else's responsibility.


2.1    The University will ensure that adequate resources are provided for compliance with its legal obligations in relation to fire safety. The activities necessary to ensure compliance involve the provision, maintenance and continual monitoring of:

2.2    Heads of School (HOS) are responsible for ensuring that procedures are in place for the safe egress of all staff, students and visitors, including members of the public. This is achieved by appointing a Fire Marshal and a sufficient number of Fire Wardens for each building, and establishing routine fire egress procedures (link). For some individuals these routine fire egress procedures may be inadequate and, in these cases, individual Personal Emergency Egress Plans (PEEPs) may need to be developed and implemented.

2.3    HOS must ensure that Fire Action Notices are displayed in all buildings showing emergency phone numbers, detailing the procedures to be followed and assembly areas for that location. Fire Action Notices can be obtained from Estates and Buildings. They must also ensure that all staff and other people who visit the School, receive induction training that include actions to be taken in case of fire, and that further training is given to people whose activities or roles increase the likelihood that they may encounter fire situations.

2.4    All staff with any responsibility for other people must consider the fire safety implications of any procedures they innovate and take appropriate measures to reduce the risk of fire.

2.5     Appropriate fire safety signage will be installed in all buildings by Estates and Buildings.

2.6    Where fire risks are above that of office and domestic premises, (e.g. Laboratories, workshops, kitchens) sufficient staff should be trained in the use of Fire Fighting Appliances, and this training is provided by Safety Services.

2.7    Advice, assistance and training is available from the University Fire Safety Adviser (UFSA). All fires and fire related incidents must be reported to the UFSA using the Fire Incident Report form (this can be filled out electronically and printed).

2.8    Specific topics covered in this Fire Safety Policy are detailed in the following guidance documents that are available from Safety Services.

Abbreviations: HOS = Head of School; SSR = School Safety Representative; UFSA = University Fire Safety Adviser, PEEPs = Personal emergency egress plans


3.1     General Fire Prevention

Fire is probably the most serious danger which most University personnel will ever have to face. It can break out almost anywhere and can affect everyone. Nothing is truer of fire than the old adage "prevention is better than cure". Regular fire prevention routines are one of the simplest and most efficient means of preventing fire in buildings. The value of the nightly routine of switching off and unplugging electrical equipment (unless the equipment concerned is designed to run continuously), checking that gas fires and gas taps are turned off, and closing the doors to all rooms and staircase enclosures, cannot be over-stressed. Smoking is not permitted in all University buildings and HOS are responsible for ensuring that staff, students and visitors are made aware of this policy, and that they comply with its requirements.

Fire, with the possible additional risk of explosion, is a much more acute problem in laboratories and workshops where flammable liquids and gases are often used. Stringent precautions are required in these areas to ensure that no sources of ignition occur. The presence of a Bunsen burner or sparking thermostat may be quite sufficient to start a fire. Welding and cutting equipment should never be used near flammable liquids or combustible materials, unless adequate precautions are taken to prevent ignition occurring. Information on particularly hazardous areas such as solvent, chemical and cylinder stores should be available to the Fire Brigade. Advice on all aspects of fire prevention may be obtained from the UFSA.

3.2     Means of Escape

It is essential that the means of escape from a building should function efficiently. Exit doors should be secured so that they can be easily and immediately opened from the escape side without the use of keys. Exit routes must not be obstructed or used as storage areas. Gas cylinders, portable heating equipment or other sources of ignition e.g. electrical; appliances must not be used in any part of an exit route. Fire doors play an important role in the precautionary system; their purpose is to contain the fire, and to prevent the spread of smoke and toxic gases, which can be lethal even in small quantities. More people die through inhaling smoke than through burns. Fire doors must therefore not be propped or wedged open; to prop open a fire door can cost lives if a fire breaks out. In addition, all fire/smoke doors should be closed when buildings are empty. All personnel are advised to become familiar with as many as possible of the exit and escape routes from the building in which they normally work. Lifts must not be used in the event of a fire.

3.3     Fire Routine Procedure

Every HOS must ensure that all members of staff are instructed in the action to be taken should a fire break out. This is most conveniently done by giving each member of staff written instructions in the form of a Fire Routine Procedure. In addition, at induction all staff must receive training in respect of action to be taken in case of a fire. This must include what the fire alarm sounds like, the location of break-glass points, all available escape routes and the location of the fire assembly point. Fire Action Notices displayed throughout each University building (usually located beside break-glass points) also provide this information.

The general Fire Routine Procedure will require supplementary instructions if the work of the School, or of particular areas of the School, poses special or unusual fire hazards or when staff and/or students work outside normal working hours. In particular, staff are advised to commit to memory the standard instructions in the Fire Action Notices; there will be no time to read these instructions in an emergency. Remember, you are expected to act in the spirit of the fire instructions at all times; there is no substitute for common sense.

Special Responsibilities
Tutors/Lecturers have a responsibility to ensure that students in their class or lecture room proceed to the exits immediately the fire alarm activates. They should insure that aisles and access to the fire exits are kept clear and introduce the fire routine procedure to students as in 3.3 above.

3.3.1     Fire Wardens / Fire Marshals:
HOS should appoint staff to undertake the duties of Fire Wardens/ Fire Marshals. Fire Wardens check designated areas on their way out of a building ensuring that all persons are leaving and report to the Fire Marshal. The Fire Marshal collates this information and liaises with the Fire Brigade. Where it is known that, for whatever reason, a person has not evacuated a building, this information must be passed to the Fire Brigade on their arrival. Instruction/training for Fire Wardens/Fire Marshals is available from the UFSA.

3.3.2     On Discovering a Fire. If you discover a fire:

3.3.3     On Hearing the Fire Alarm:
On hearing the fire alarm, leave the building immediately by the nearest available exit, closing doors as you leave. Lifts must not be used.

3.3.4     Fire Drills:
It is essential that the pre-arranged plan specific for the egress of each building should be tested regularly. HOS must ensure that fire drills are held, at least annually/ once per semester in academic/residential buildings. Advice/assistance regarding carrying out fire drills can be obtained from the UFSA. Fire drills should be recorded in the Fire Safety Log Book.

3.4     Fire Fighting Equipment

Four types of fire extinguishers are provided in University premises. Each has a specific range of use and each is located adjacent to the related fire risk. The extinguishing media used are: water, carbon dioxide, foam and dry powder. The external appearance of each type of extinguisher maybe different and each carries its own instructions for use. In certain buildings, hose reels are also provided. Fire blankets are provided in many locations and should be used for smothering fires involving flammable liquids or burning clothing.

Staff are advised to know the location of the fire fighting equipment in their area of work, to know on what type of fire each piece of equipment can be used and how each should be used. Fire fighting equipment should not be used if doing so places the user at risk. Training in the use of portable fire fighting equipment is provided by the UFSA. In any area where there is a special risk, associated technical and academic staff should request special training from the UFSA.

Whenever fire fighting equipment has been used, it must be reported to the SSR or to Estates and Buildings, so that the equipment may be recharged or replaced.

3.5     Fire Fighting Procedure

In all buildings, particularly residences, protection of human life must take priority over fighting fires. The person discovering a fire must promptly initiate the emergency procedures listed in 3.3 above. Delay can be fatal as, once a fire is out of control, it can spread rapidly and cut off escape routes. Staff that has been trained in the use of fire extinguishers should if possible, and without endangering personal safety, attempt to contain and control a fire until the Fire Brigade arrives. Make sure that you use the correct type of fire extinguisher. The wrong choice can turn a minor incident into a major event. Always remember to take a position between the fire and the exit so that your escape route cannot be cut off. Be aware of what is happening in the surrounding area and take account of your own limitations. If possible, always make sure that someone else knows that you are tackling the fire. In a fire the greatest hazard to persons are the effects of asphyxiant, irritant and toxic gases, smoke and fumes generated from the combustion of plastics and other materials. Never attempt to fight a fire in a situation where smoke inhalation is likely. Leave this to the Fire Brigade.

Occurrences of fires in frying/wok/chip pans and grill pans are all too frequent in residential accommodation, particularly when these pans have been left unattended. If a flare-up of this nature happens, the most effective way of dealing with it is to turn off the source of heat and to cover the pan with a fire blanket or if one is not available a damp towel . Never throw water on to a chip pan fire and never attempt to remove a chip pan on fire from the cooker. Training in the use of Portable Fire Fighting Equipment is available from the UFSA.

3.6     'After a Fire' Procedure

Even if a fire appears to have been successfully extinguished by University staff or students, it will still be necessary to ask the Fire Brigade to check that the fire has not unknowingly spread, and that materials or the building fabric cannot reignite. HOS must ensure that all fires within their building are recorded and reported to the Safety Services, as soon as possible by phone during normal working hours and by using the University Fire Incident Report form (this can be filled out electronically and printed). The completed form should be sent to Safety Services.

3.7     Fire Alarm System Testing

The fire alarm system must be tested weekly by operating a different call point for each successive test. HOS must ensure that a responsible person(s) are appointed to carry out this task. Fire Alarm Testing should be recorded in the Fire Safety Log Book. Note: Additional tests on the Fire Alarm System are arranged by Estates and Buildings.

3.8    Isolating a Fire Alarm System

As a temporary measure under special circumstances e.g. to avoid unwanted fire calls when building works are being carried out, it may be necessary to isolate part or all of the Fire Alarm System. This procedure requires the use of a Permit to Isolate Fire Alarm and will only be carried out only be Estates and Buildings.

A responsible person normally the SSR must be informed of the appropriate information on the form so that any special measures required can be put in place. This information must then be relayed to all persons that may be affected by the isolation.

3.9    Fire Safety Log Book

Fire Safety Log Books are provided for all buildings and the results of Fire Alarm Testing and Fire drills must be recorded in them. Copies of the Fire Safety Log Book can be obtained from the UFSA.

3.10    Fire Risk Assessments

Fire Risk Assessments are carried out jointly by the UFSA and Estates and Buildings. Copies of the report are issued to HOS and SSRs. The reports are sub divided in to 2 sections:
Management Issues: For which HOS are responsible.
Building Issues: These are the responsibility of Estates and Buildings.
To enable available funds to be used in buildings which are most in need, completed Fire Risk Assessments are subject to a process of prioritisation, the results recorded and incorporated into the University fire strategy plan.

3.11    Hot Work Permits

Should any process require the use of Blowlamps, cutting and welding equipment or other heat producing equipment a Hot Work Permit is required.
A risk assessment must be carried out to identify the associated risks / hazards of the particular process and the necessary steps taken to minimise or eradicate these.
HOS / SSR must be involved in this process.

A programme of producing fire plans showing detailed layouts and fire safety provision within buildings is underway. These plans are situated alongside fire alarm panels (normally at the main entrance to a building).
The plans have a dual purpose:

Abbreviations: HOS = Head of School; SSR = School Safety Representative; UFSA = University Fire Safety Adviser, PEEPs = Personal emergency egress plans


4.1     Introduction:

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) requires that disabled people should not be treated less favourably without justification, for a reason which relates to their disability. In addition, reasonable adjustments should be made to ensure that disabled people are not put at a substantial disadvantage compared to people who are not disabled. This includes making adjustments to the physical accessibility of University buildings to enable disabled staff, students and visitors to access the "services" the University provides. These "services" include all aspects of our teaching provision and all our staff, student and public facilities. It is therefore essential that the egress needs of disabled staff, students and visitors to University premises be taken into account when planning fire safety arrangements and emergency egress procedures.

When considering our egress arrangements, it is important to acknowledge that people in particular disability 'categories' (e.g. 'hard of hearing') should not necessarily be expected to vacate buildings in the same way as other building users or indeed in the same way as other disabled people in the same 'category'. The use of disability categories is generally unhelpful and an individual assessment of a disabled person's emergency egress needs should be undertaken, whenever feasible. If the outcome of this assessment indicates that the disabled person would be unable to vacate the University buildings they use in the standard way, then a PEEP should be prepared.

Disabled visitors need specific information on emergency egress, particularly when it is not feasible to prepare a PEEP. This needs to be established prior to their visit, as part of standard "accessibility" questions on application forms, or highlighted on event/function publicity material (e.g. for Open Days, conferences, exhibitions). Any public or "drop in" events should also ideally be held in accessible ground floor locations so that emergency egress of disabled people is less of an issue.

It should be noted that there is no legal duty on disabled people to disclose their disability. The University must therefore ensure that all staff, students and visitors are aware of our emergency egress procedures and should request those who would anticipate difficulty undertaking these procedures to contact the appropriate University Department/ member of University staff (e.g. Disability Services, UFSA, HOS). Where disabled staff/students have disclosed a disability, PEEPs should be considered and prepared as part of their assessment of support needs, where relevant.

4.2     Preparation of PEEPs

4.2.1    PEEPs should be unique to the individual, identifying their personal emergency egress needs and preferences, specifying the action they need to take and the responsibilities of others. The buildings the disabled person typically uses should be visited as part of the PEEP process.

4.2.2    The disabled person must be involved in the development of the PEEP together with HOS, SSR, UFSA and Disability Services as appropriate. The reason for gathering this information, and how it will be used, should be made explicit to the disabled person in line with legislative and data protection requirements.

4.2.3    Auxiliary aids/services (i.e. any equipment/personal assistance already used by the disabled person to aid access/egress) should be considered as part of the PEEP, including availability of personal assistance.

4.2.4    Responsibility for action should be identified i.e. for reviewing PEEPs, for providing personal assistance, for training staff/personal assistants, and for implementing, resourcing and monitoring identified plans and adjustments.

4.2.5    Specific procedures for 'out of hours' working should form part of PEEPs as necessary based on disabled staff/students' individual needs.

4.2.6    Compliance with legislation/building regulations will need to be considered but the requirement for PEEPs, or difficulties with identifying PEEPs for specific buildings, should be appropriately and sensitively presented so that these are not viewed as potentially limiting employment or educational opportunity.

4.2.7    Accessibility of all University buildings should be assessed and regularly reviewed together with existing egress procedures so that this information is available when preparing PEEPs. "High risk" buildings should be identified, including any plans/timescales for physical adjustments.

4.2.8    PEEPs should be reviewed on an annual basis, following any change in the disabled person's support needs/building use, or identification of any PEEP deficiencies following practice runs/actual emergency. Separate PEEPs may be necessary for different buildings.

4.2.9    Specific training on emergency egress of disabled people for Fire Wardens/Marshals should be provided, and practice egress involving individuals with PEEPs should be arranged on a regular basis.

4.2.10    The preparation of PEEPs for disabled students is coordinated by Disability Services in collaboration with SSR and UFSA. For disabled staff and visitors, the HOS takes the coordinating role.

4.2.11    Copies of PEEPs should be kept by the individual and other copies kept in strictest confidence by HOS, SSR, Safety Services and Disability Services as appropriate.

4.3     Identifying Persons who may Require Assistance with Egress

4.3.1    Staff:
Staff should inform their HOS if routine fire egress procedures are inadequate for any reason. For newly appointed staff, this should be included as part of heath and safety induction training. In these cases a PEEP should be drawn up by their line manager with advice from the SSR and UFSA following discussion with the individual. The HOS must ensure that the PEEP is implemented as part of routine fire egress procedures. In addition, the SSR may identify staff who require assistance and in these cases they should discuss the preparation of a PEEP with the individual before notifying the HOS and UFSA with the staff member's consent.

4.3.2    Students:
Students should advise Disability Services if they require assistance to egress from University buildings. In addition, Disability Services will ask all students who disclose a disability if they require assistance to egress from buildings in an emergency, as part of their assessment of study needs. If a student has disclosed information that requires the preparation of a PEEP, Disability Services will notify the student's HOS, SSR and UFSA as appropriate. If a student advises other staff that they require assistance to evacuate buildings, staff should inform their HOS/SSR with the student's consent. The HOS/SSR should then inform Disability Services and UFSA to enable the preparation of a PEEP. In addition, the SSR may identify students who require assistance and in these cases they should discuss the preparation of a PEEP with the student before notifying the HOS, Disability Services and UFSA with the student's consent.

4.3.3    Visitors:
It is the responsibility of the member of staff that has a visitor(s) to ensure that their visitor(s) are familiar with routine egress procedures and to ascertain that these procedures are adequate for them. Where this is not the case, a PEEP should be put in place where possible, in consultation with their HOS, SSR, UFSA and the individual concerned.

4.3.4    Members of the public:
Information signs should be located in prominent positions at entrances of buildings to which members of the public may access. These signs should ask members of the public to inform staff if they require assistance to evacuate buildings in an emergency. Staff should, in cases where special arrangements are required, inform their HOS, SSR and the UFSA. These signs are available from Estates and Buildings.

4.3.5    Hiring/Booking of University Facilities:
At the time of booking, the person hiring or booking a University facility should be made aware of the University's routine egress procedures (e.g. via handout). It is their responsibility to ascertain that these procedures are adequate for all persons using the University facilities. Where special arrangements are required, a PEEP should be put in place prior to the event taking place, where possible. This should be arranged by involving the venue management, UFSA and the individual(s) concerned.

4.4    Actions by Persons Requiring Assistance with Egress

Abbreviations: HOS = Head of School; SSR = School Safety Representative; UFSA = University Fire Safety Adviser, PEEPs = Personal emergency egress plans


In preparing a building egress plan, consideration must be given to the needs of disabled people. If people use a wheelchair, or can only move with the use of walking aids, their disability is obvious. However, disabilities are often less obvious than this and staff should be vigilant in an emergency, so that help can be given to those individuals who need it most. Provision for people with a temporary disability that may affect their mobility (e.g. broken limbs) should also be considered and incorporated into building egress plans.

While acknowledging the potential for individual differences in the emergency egress needs of people with similar disabilities, some general guidelines can be made to aid the emergency egress of disabled people in the absence of PEEPs.

5.1     People with Restricted Vision

5.1.2     Fire Safety Signs:
People with restricted vision or colour perception may experience difficulty in seeing or recognising fire safety signs. Additional fire safety signs may be required that are sufficiently large and well designed with a good, clear typeface and sited so that they can be seen easily and can be readily distinguishable.

5.1.3     Familiarity with Escape Routes:
People with restricted vision should be familiarised with escape routes, especially those that are not in general use.

5.1.4     Egress from a Premise:
In an egress of a building, a sighted person should lead those members of staff with restricted vision to safety. It is recommended that a sighted person should lead, inviting the other person to grasp their elbow, as this will enable the person being assisted to walk half a step behind and thereby gain information about doors and steps etc. Similar assistance should be offered to guide dog owners, with the owner retaining control of their dog. A sighted person should remain with staff with restricted vision until the emergency is over.

Good lighting and the use of simple colour contrasts can also help visually impaired people find their way around. Further advice can be obtained from Disability Services, the Royal National Institute for the Blind, and the National Federation of the Blind of the United Kingdom.

5.2     People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Whilst it is possible that some people who are deaf or hard of hearing may be able to make their way to a place of safety independently, difficulties may be encountered in identifying the fire alarm. Consideration should therefore be given to the following:

Further advice can be obtained from Disability Services and the Royal Association for Deaf People .

5.3     People with Restricted Mobility

5.3.1     Person with walking aids/restricted mobility. Consider:

5.3.2     Wheelchair Users. Consider:

5.4     Use of Lifts

The use of a normal passenger or goods lift for egress purposes should not be permitted, as it is possible that people may become trapped within the lift itself. The only types of lifts, which can be used for emergency egress purposes, are fire-fighting lifts or evacuation lifts designed and installed in compliance with the relevant British Standards.

5.5     Evac-Chairs

Special chairs (Evac-Chairs) which can be used to transport persons requiring assistance down a stair are available from Safety Services. Guidance on the means of escape from University buildings for persons requiring assistance and training in the use of Evac-Chairs is available from the UFSA. The SSR, Fire Wardens and the Fire Marshal should be involved in making arrangements for assisting disabled persons to use an Evac-Chair in the event of a fire or other emergency.

5.6     Refuges

A refuge is a purposely built fire resisting enclosure on upper or lower floors of a building for the sole use of mobility restricted persons (or others with this identified need) in the event of fire alarm activation/emergency egress situation. Refuges should also comply with the following:

5.7     Safe area

In many existing University buildings construction and provision of refuges is not practically possible. In these circumstances, safe areas must be provided in appropriate locations usually staircase landing enclosures. These areas should comply with the physical provisions detailed below:

Abbreviations: HOS = Head of School; SSR = School Safety Representative; UFSA = University Fire Safety Adviser, PEEPs = Personal emergency egress plans


6.1     Introduction

This policy provides information to dutyholders (Directors, School Deans and Managers) in relation to Fire Safety and the evacuation of persons from buildings in the event of a fire during the pandemic.

A number of factors associated with Coronavirus have an impact on the University’s current fire safety policy and as such the undernoted “Interim Fire Safety Measures” should be implemented.

These new measures are principally associated with the movement and interaction of people during buildings fire evacuations and the information which supports this for building users.

It must be stressed that the impact of COVID-19 does not necessarily increase the risk of fire in any building and in some ways it may be considered as presenting a lower risk in terms of fire safety resulting from the expected reduction of occupancy of buildings. The policy therefore is broadly based on information on “self-evacuation” in the event of a fire where the current provision of fire wardens cannot be guaranteed.

Reduced building occupancy during this period may create situations where people locate in more remote parts of a building in order to social distance. This may present some problems during a fire evacuation for individuals who may not be fully familiar with the buildings layout and thus the Fire Escape routes.

In addition to the above people may also be relocated to buildings which are not their normal place of work. In these circumstances, where there is potential for unfamiliarity with the building layout, dutyholders must ensure that all building occupants are instructed on their means of escape routes and any other fire risk which may be present a risk within this new workplace.

During this period Campus Security will continue to carry out the role of fire marshals liaising with building users and the fire service during a fire alarm scenario.


6.2     Dutyholder responsibilities

Buildings dutyholders under Fire Legislation are those who have control over the building and its occupants. At the University this role is shared between the Schools Dean and Manager and the Head of Estates and Buildings. During this period it is the responsibility of the dutyholders to convey these new “interim fire safety measures” as detailed within this policy to all persons, staff or students who occupy their buildings.

As a result all Dutyholders must ensure that persons occupying their relevant buildings are fully aware of the following;


6.3     Actions in the event of a fire 

The Dutyholder, as described must ensure the following is communicated to all persons (staff and students) occupying their relevant buildings:-

That all Occupants Understand:-


6.4     General fire risk prevention

All of the measures discussed are fully reliant on the continuation of good fire safety management within buildings which incorporates the routine use of the University’s “Fire Awareness Checklist” which ensures safe usage of escape routes and identifies any potential fire risk which may occur.

Currently the undernoted measures are in place which supports good Fire Safety Management;

-        Occupied buildings; Fire Alarm systems and Fire Awareness checks/audits are being carried out weekly by buildings Fire Wardens/Marshalls. These audits include means of escape and fire door checks including those on electro-magnets as well as identifying any poor housekeeping activities contrary to fire safety.

-        Non Occupied buildings; Fire Alarm testing and general fire safety checks are being carried out by Campus Security on a monthly basis.

-        Assurances are in place that all our autodiallers are operational.

-        All servicing and maintenance is still being carried out on all our fire systems including emergency lighting to the relevant British Standard by either our Estates department or the relevant contractor.


The following training courses are available from the University Fire Safety Adviser:

Please check the Safety Services training page for courses currently being run.


Fire Safety:
Please contact: 
Tom Kane
University Fire Safety Adviser
Safety Services
Tower Building, Level 6
University of Dundee
DD1 4HN.

Telephone: 01382 385030
 Tower Building is building number 1 on the campus map.

Preparation of PEEPs:
Please contact:

Shirley Hill
Head of Disability Services
Ewing Annexe
University of Dundee

Telephone: 01382 345407
Ewing Annexe is building number 11 on the campus map.