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Friday, 5 March 2010

Residents' Survey - emergencies & fire safety

Responses to Residents' Survey 4: emergencies & fire safety

Continuing my series of blog posts to repond to residents' comments in the February 2010 intercollegiate halls residents' survey. A summary of responses to the multiple choice questions on the survey can be seen here: Residents' Survey results. And you can filter this blog so just the survey-related posts show by clicking on "survey" in the list of labels on the right hand side.


I only know the main entrance to escape from in a fire.


I'm sure this is the case for quite a few residents. We do ask you in your welcome pack to ensure you identify at least one alternative escape route in case the main exit route is ever blocked or unavailable for some reason. Just follow the green "running man" signs to any of the other 8 exits that can take you to a place of safety.


Too many false fire alarms!


With the number of false alarms we get, I certainly know more than one escape route. Oh yes, and my readiness to respond to fire alarm was tested and proven even at 3am in the morning (including braving the cold on the streets). All is good.


I'd propose rather less than more health and safety. I reckon it's regulations that we need a fire drill every term.



We do have to have one planned fire drill each term, although we can dispense with this if there is an evacuation in that term due to a real or false alarm. Some false alarms are unavoidable in a building with so many inhabitants but we actually have fewer false alarms than most halls of residence.

We have banned most of the items that tend to cause false alarms (and real fires) such as toasters, cooking equipment, candles, incense, etc.; and preventing fire alarms is one reason why we don't have more than a microwave in the pantry on each floor.

Anyone who accidentally causes a false alarm has to attend an interview with me and anyone who is caught deliberately causing a false alarm would normally be required to leave - so we do already take what steps we can to reduce the number of false alarms. If you have any suggestions for how we could reduce these even further, please get in touch.


Just call reception in emergency? Not really sure


Yes, call reception on extension 8200 and they will put in contact with the Bursar's Office during the working day or with the Duty Senior Member at night and at the weekend.


I actually slept through the last fire alarm (the one which was activated by someone in hall) and only found out that it had taken place when I woke up in the morning and talked to my friends. I hope there is a proper procedure for doing a headcount in case of a real emergency so that heavy sleepers like me will be looked out for too.


Headcounts don't really help since we have no way of knowing which residents are in the Hall at the time the alarm sounds; and it isn't safe for staff to check every room since this takes at least 15 minutes. The fire alarm is very loud (or at least it should be); so I would advise asking maintenance to check your sounder if it doesn't wake you up, to make sure it is working OK. If you are worried that you still would not be woken up by the fire alarm, contact me and I will arrange for a member of staff to always check your room when there is a full evacuation. I will make sure this advice is included in next year's Residents' Handbook.