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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Fire Safety Policy

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The current version of the Fire Safety Policy was adopted by Council on 3 July 2023.  It is due for review in Easter Term 2026.

This document provides guidance on the College responsibilities with regard to fire safety (maintenance)  and the operational management of all buildings and property owned, or used, by Murray Edwards College.


The College will appoint a 'Competent Person' to act as the Fire Officer who will have day-to-day responsibility for ensuring the College remains compliant with the requirements within the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, other relevant legislation and in support of the College Health and Safety Policy. The Fire Officer will be responsible for the management of and assessing the fire safety risk for all such buildings (unless otherwise arranged through leasehold or other agreements) by a formal Fire Risk Assessment process.

 Fire Risk Assessments

College buildings will be reviewed annually by a 'Competent Person'. The Fire Officer will review the Fire Risk Assessments, prioritising and implementing actions, where practicable. Following this process, the Fire Officer will maintain copies of Fire Risk Assessments, in a central location with relevant information (including updates). The Fire Officer will also make copies available to the Fire and Rescue Service, as appropriate.
From the 1st October 2023 there is a requirement to share the Fire Risk Assessment with some residents in smaller accommodation, this will be attached to the lease agreement. The signing of this agreement indicates that you have read and understand the contents of the Fire Risk Assessment.

Fire Evacuation Training / Information

The Fire Officer will develop appropriate Emergency Response / Fire Alarm Activation procedures ensuring that suitable training is provided to relevant staff acting as Fire Wardens. Refresher training will be provided as necessary.

Fire Precautions

Fire presents the greatest single threat to life and property. It is therefore ESSENTIAL to familiarise yourself with the information available and fire safety devices designed to protect you and others in the event of a fire.
Personal Preparation

  • Read the 'Fire Action' signs posted by fire alarm call points, staircases and within bedrooms.
  • Know the location of the fire alarm call-points, situated on every staircase or corridor, and ensure you know how to operate them.
  • Know your escape route and make sure it is kept clear of obstructions.
  • Ensure that fire doors are kept closed.
  • Report any missing, or damaged, fire appliances to the Fire Officer.
  • DO NOT tamper with fire appliances or detectors.
  • All fire alarms are tested regularly; it is important to ensure that you are familiar with the sound of the alarm. Fire drills will also be held at regular intervals, and these must be treated as if they were actual evacuations.
Action to be Taken on Discovering Fire or Smoke 
  • Upon discovering a fire, IMMEDIATELY activate the nearest fire alarm call-point, to evacuate the building.
  • DO NOT attempt to extinguish the fire.
  • Leave the building via the nearest escape route which will take you away from the fire and assemble in the designated fire assembly point.
  • DO NOT stop to collect personal belongings, or attempt to re-enter the building, until it is confirmed by the Fire Service / Duty Porter, that it is safe to do so.
  • REPORT to the Fire Warden / Duty Porter, any missing person known to have been in the building before the fire started; if possible, indicate the area where they were last seen.
Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans - (PEEPS)

The Fire Officer will support the Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans process, making adjustments to facilitate staff, visitors and students, where practicable. In addition, the College will provide and maintain critical life-safety equipment in buildings, to facilitate the safe evacuation of a physically impaired person, in the event of an emergency. The Fire Officer will also arrange training for staff, in the use of any such equipment, as required.

Emergency Action Plans and Procedures

The Fire Officer, in coordination with the Health and Safety Committee, will develop and implement any Emergency Action Plans and Procedures. As such, provide all relevant staff with appropriate training / exercises, to ensure they understand relevant procedures and the action to take in such an event.

Fire Alarm Testing

The Porters Lodge / Maintenance Team will undertake weekly fire alarm checks, of all College buildings. Records will be kept and action taken where appropriate.
NOTE:  All false alarms must be reported.


All staff, students, visitors and appointed contractors, will be informed that smoking is only allowed within designated smoking areas.


Department Managers will ensure contractors are provided with a copy of the Contractor Standards and Working Practices document. This document details the standards contractors must comply with, when working at the College, and the process they must follow if their work will affect the fire risk of a building, or if alterations / adjustments are required to the existing fire safety system. Any contractor not complying with this document, may have their contract terminated.

Monitoring and Review

The Health and Safety Committee will review against the requirements of this document at regular intervals.