I would normally mention this particular issue in my welcome speech next Monday, to emphasise how important it is, and how seriously we deal with allegations of interfering with fire safety equipment. Given this very early incident, however, I should like to make sure that everyone is aware of the following as of today.
Any interference with fire safety equipment in Connaught Hall - including covering smoke detectors - is in contravention of:
- University of London Intercollegiate Halls of Residence Licence Agreement 2012-12 - paragraph 9.11
- Connaught Hall Supplementary Regulations 2012-13 - paragraph 5.2
- Connaught Hall Residents’ Handbook v4.0.4 - paragraphs 9.3.5 & 15.5.3; and
- The Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974
The Residents’ Handbook states:
Tampering with fire safety equipment (including covering smoke detectors) is illegal in the United Kingdom and a very serious disciplinary offence within the University of London. This is clearly set out in the Licence Agreement and the Supplementary Regulations.
Anyone who deliberately causes a false alarm, irresponsibly discharges fire extinguishers, covers smoke detectors, interferes with fire exit signs, or who tampers with fire safety equipment in any way whatsoever, will be dealt with under the student disciplinary procedure and can expect to be removed from Hall without delay. The matter will also be referred to their college.
We have one small fire at Connaught Hall almost every year, and a more damaging fire occurs about every eight-to-ten years. By delaying the detection of a fire and activation of the evacuation signal, covering smoke detectors jeopardises the lives of everyone in the Hall: fire and the smoke it produces can kill very quickly. Our strict rules about this are grounded in genuine concern for everyone's safety and wellbeing.
Please do not cover your smoke detector, nor interfere in any other way with the Hall's fire safety precautions.
No further warnings will be issued on this matter.