Fire Breaks Out in Student Accommodation: Fire Safety Guidance

On the evening of Wednesday 29th November, a fire broke out at Tuke, a student accommodation at Royal Holloway University of London. Three fire trucks were called to the scene. A minimum of three flats have notable fire damage which meant students weren’t allowed back in for at least a day after the fire. Several additional flats have severe smoke damage. The cause of the fire is currently unconfirmed. Following this incident, here is important information regarding fire safety at the university. 

What to do in the event of a fire in your accommodation: 

As soon as you discover a fire you must sound the alarm by pressing the red emergency break glass. You must also alert other people in the building, and you can do this by shouting “FIRE”. You must leave the building immediately through the closest exit to you, closing the door behind you. Even if you cannot see the fire, but the fire alarm is still sounding, you must leave the building as quickly as you can. You must not stop to collect any personal belongings before leaving, do not use the lifts to exit and do not re-enter the building. You should make your way to your accommodation’s designated Assembly Point or, if you are not within student accommodation, to a safe distance away from the fire. Information on where the assembly points are located for RHUL accommodation is found at building entrances and exits as well as within your flats, so be sure to familiarise yourself with this.

All campus fire alarms are connected to the Campus Security Centre and they will receive notice of the alarm as soon as it is pressed. They will make their way to you straight away. Nevertheless, always Call 999 and ask for the fire brigade as soon as you can; explain to them what has happened and follow their instructions. 

If you are unable to leave the building, as your escape route is blocked by the fire or smoke, move to the closest safe room to you and shut the door. You must tell the 999 call handler where you are so the brigade is aware of all the people in the building. Remain as calm as possible and follow the instructions of the campus security team and the fire brigade when they arrive. 

You are likely to be aware that there is a weekly fire alarm test that occurs for 15-30 seconds for RHUL buildings. Outside of this schedule, if the alarm sounds for more than 30 seconds, you must follow the evacuation process immediately. Never assume that it is a drill. 

Fire safety precautions in place in your accommodation: 

  • There are regular fire risk assessments in every accommodation across campus by a Fire Risk Assessor. They will often inform you when they will be carrying these out. 
  • The team reserve the right to enter your flat with notice or in an emergency if there is a safety concern. 
  • Your building is also fitted with multiple fire doors in stairways, corridors, bedrooms, kitchens, and common room areas. These are lifesaving as they protect your escape route and delay the spread of smoke and fire. Therefore, you must not tamper with them in any way and always keep them closed. 
  • As mentioned in the evacuation process above, the highest standard of Fire Alarm and Detection Systems are installed and a fire escape route is indicated in your building. 

Fire safety regulations in your accommodation/ fire prevention advice:

  • Smoking and vaping are strictly prohibited inside all buildings and this includes residential buildings. Stand at least 5 meters from the building when smoking outside the building and ensure you dispose of the smoking litter properly.
  • Be cautious when cooking by not leaving food unattended and turning off appliances after using them. Do not keep any cooking appliances in your bedroom.
  • Allow food and hot oils to cool before disposing of them. 
  • Candles are not allowed in your accommodation. 
  • Keep your rooms in good condition so it does not cause a risk to you if you need to evacuate. 
  • All electrical appliances you own must adhere to European electrical safety standards. Information on what electrical appliances are allowed in Halls can be found in your accommodation terms and conditions. 
  • E- scooters are prohibited and cannot be stored or charged on the University premises. 

The Royal Holloway security number to call is: 01784443063 and in the case of an emergency dial 444. 

For more information on fire safety at Royal Holloway please use this link, where there is also a link to a video on how to live safely in your Hall. 

Written by Chloe Hayler, Edited by Paige Tamasi, Photography by Paige Tamasi, Published by Paige Tamasi.