Fire Safety Policy

Imperial College Union is committed to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of its members, staff, customers, suppliers, visitors, and all others who may be affected by its activities. Fire safety is a priority for Imperial College London, and it will ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the risk from fire will be well-managed in compliance with the requirements of the: 

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974  

  • Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005  

Imperial Union London recognises that fire is a major risk to the lives of its staff, students, neighbour's, contractors, and members of the public who visit its buildings.  

Imperial Union London has no tolerance towards staff, students or contractors deliberately breaching fire safety rules or fire safety legislation. Where it is proven an individual has knowingly contravened these rules or legislation Imperial College London will treat this as a very serious incident and apply its disciplinary processes already in place.

1. Introduction

Imperial College Union is an occupant of Imperial College London owned buildings and space. As a third-party user of the space, Imperial College Union must comply with Imperial College London’s Fire Safety Policy.  


The primary legislation for fire safety is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, the Order covers general fire precautions and other fire safety duties which are needed to protect people in case of fire and requires fire precautions to be put into place where necessary and to the extent that is reasonable and practicable.   

Responsibility for complying with the Order rests with the "Responsible Person".  There is other legislation relating to fire safety including the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations.  The requirements of these regulations are subject to further College policies.

2. Responsibilities

  • Imperial College London President

    The President is the person designated as the "Responsible Person" for the College. He or she delegates duties to the Faculty Principals, the Chief Operating Officer and the College Chief Fire Officer but remains responsible for ensuring that: 

    • General fire precautions are taken to ensure the safety of staff, students, contractors, visitors and members of the public;

    • Suitable and sufficient risk assessments are carried out and regularly reviewed;

    • A positive fire safety culture is promoted across the College and that arrangements are in place for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures;

    • Adequate resources are allocated to the management of fire safety.

  • Imperial College London Chief Operating Officer

    Chief Operating Officer has delegated duties from the President and is responsible for ensuring that: 

    • All College premises comply with statutory requirements;

    • All new projects incorporate appropriate fire precautions;

    • A positive fire safety culture is promoted in his or her area of responsibility;

    • Fire safety is managed appropriately within the Support Services. 

  • Imperial College London Director of Estates Operations

    The Director of Estates Operations has delegated duties from the Chief Operating Officer and, in addition to his or her duties as a Head of Division, he or she is responsible for: 

    • Developing and implementing the College Fire Strategy;

    • Ensuring that College premises comply with statutory requirements;

    • Acting on the recommendations of the College Head Of Fire Safety so far as they relate to the fire alarm systems, fire precautions (means of escape, etc) and fire signage;

    • Appointing Fire Safety Coordinators (in effect assigning duties to Building Managers) to provide support in the implementation of the College Fire Safety Policy;

    And for ensuring that: 

    • The College meets its legal obligations for fire safety in respect of all premises it leases to third parties;

    • Tenancy agreements place the College's tenants under a legally enforceable obligation to comply with the College's fire safety policy and procedures;

    • All building projects comply with statutory requirements and in particular that new, or upgraded, fire alarm systems, fire precautions and fire signage comply with the College Fire Strategy. 

  • Imperial College London Head of Fire & Safety

    The Head of Fire & Safety reports to the Director of Estates Operations and is responsible for: 

    • Promoting a positive fire safety culture across the College;

    • Advising the College on its statutory obligations regarding fire safety and of the effect of new or amended legislation;

    • Developing the College Fire Safety Strategy and the policies and procedures necessary to ensure the College's compliance with legislation and the effective control of its fire hazards, including conducting building fire risk assessments and issuing hot work permits;

    • Developing appropriate guidance and codes of practice to support these policies and procedures;

    • Advising College senior managers of their responsibilities for fire safety;

    • Providing specialist advice, information and support to all parts of the College including the dissemination of good practice, on the management of fire safety;

    • Inspecting, monitoring and auditing the implementation of fire safety policies, procedures and codes of practice across the College, including the testing and maintenance of firefighting equipment and fire alarm systems and the issuing of Hot Work permits;

    • Developing, setting and reviewing performance standards and targets as necessary;

    • Advising on training needs and providing in-house training and instruction, including arranging regular fire drills;

    • Managing the interface between the College and the local fire authorities;

    • Managing the Fire Department;

    • Liaising with the Safety Champion and with the College's specialist advisory services, including the Safety Department, Campus Services and the Security Department;

    • Liaising on fire safety matters with associated NHS Trusts, contractors working on College premises and external organisations with a presence on College campuses;

    • Providing reports on fire safety matters to the Health and Safety Management and Consultative Committees; 

    • The College Head of Fire Safety has the authority, delegated from the President, to close down College Buildings, or parts of the building, and to call a halt to processes or activities if he believes there is a serious risk of injury from fire to the occupants of the building or people undertaking the activity or process. 

  • Imperial College London Head of Campus Services

    The Head of Campus Services has duties delegated from the Chief Operating Officer. In addition to his or her duties as a Head of Division, he or she is responsible for ensuring that: 

    • The College meets its legal obligations for fire safety in respect of Halls of Residence, College catering outlets, sports facilities and Conference Office lettings. 

    • Licenses for students in halls of residences place them under a legally enforceable obligation to comply with the College's fire safety policy and procedures. 

  • Imperial College Union Board of Trustees

    The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places a statutory duty on organizations to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the safety, health, and welfare of its employees at work and other people who may be affected by their activities, e.g., membership, volunteers, members of the public.   

    The Board of Trustees, as the governing body of the Union, has overall and final responsibility for Health and Safety matters within the Union, and for ensuring that Health and Safety legislation is complied with. 

    ICU Board of Trustees are responsible for ensuring that the Imperial College Union meets its legal obligations for fire safety in respect of its catering and bar outlets, its clubs and societies and other entertainment and sporting activities. 

  • Imperial College Union Managing Director
    • The Managing Director has the same responsibilities for fire safety as the ICL Head of Department/ Division within the College’s Fire Safety Policy, the ICU MD is responsible for: 

    • Promoting a positive fire safety culture in their area of responsibility;

    • In consultation with the College Head of Fire Safety, appointing a competent person as a Fire Safety Coordinator to advise them on fire safety matters arising within ICU;

    • Appointing sufficient Fire Wardens to monitor fire safety within their Department/ Division and implement the relevant emergency plans;

    • Acting on the recommendations of the College Head of Fire Safety set out in the Fire Risk Assessments for the buildings in which their Department/ Division is located;

    • Ensuring that all flammable materials are correctly stored, used and disposed of, and that in all cases the quantities involved are the minimum reasonably practicable. All potential fire hazards within their Department/ Division must be clearly identified and notified to the College Chief Fire Officer;

    • Liaising with the College Head of Fire Safety before introducing new activities and/ or processes which may increase the fire risk;

    • Ensuring that staff and students within their Department/ Division receive sufficient and appropriate fire awareness instruction and training. 

  • Imperial College Union Senior Leadership Team

    The Managing Director will delegate to the membership of the leadership team the following responsibility:  

    • Monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of Health and Safety activities and the Union’s Health and Safety Policy and associated policies and procedures, and for ensuring that, at the strategic level, performance standards and timescales are adhered to;

    • Chairing the Students' Union’s Health and Safety Committee and ensuring it has the time, facilities and resources to carry out its business effectively;

    • Keeping under review this Health and Safety Policy and the Health and Safety performance of the Students' Union;

    • Promoting a positive fire safety culture at Imperial College London.

  • Imperial College London Facilities, Health and Safety Manger (FHSM)

    The FHSM is appointed by the MD to undertake the following:

    • Promoting a positive fire safety culture at Imperial College London;
    • Undertake the duties of ICU Fire Safety Coordinator and advise Imperial College London on fire safety matters arising within ICU. The duties of the Fire Safety Coordinator are:
      • Promote a positive fire safety culture in their area;
      • Ensure sufficient provision of Fire Wardens;
      • Develop a Department Emergency Evacuation Plan;
      • Prepare Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) as required;
      • Arrange fire drills with Imperial College London Fire Safety Team.
    • Ensure that all ICU staff are provided with sufficient and appropriate fire safety awareness training and instruction.
  • Imperial College Union Line Managers

    Health and Safety is a delegated line management responsibility requiring managers to undertake operational Health and Safety duties identified in this policy. Imperial College Union Line Managers to undertake the following:  

    • Lead by example by following policies and challenging inappropriate behaviours, should check that staff have received information and encourage them encourage new staff to read and follow the guidance provided;  

    • Ensure that their staff are aware and compliant of this Policy.

  • Imperial College Union Fire Wardens

    Fire Wardens are appointed by the Head of Department/ Division to assist with the implementation of the College Fire Safety Policy. Fire Wardens need to have local knowledge of the fire risks in their work area. Their main duties are to: 

    • Alert their Fire Safety Coordinator to any defects in fire precautions in their area;

    • Participate in fire drills and report any problems to their Fire Safety Coordinator;

    • Assist the Emergency Response Team during the evacuation of their building by: 

          a) Guiding people to the Assembly Points;

          b) Helping to prevent re-entry until the building is deemed safe for re-occupation. 

    During an evacuation Fire Wardens are not to put themselves at any risk. They should evacuate the building along with the other occupants and then report to the Emergency Control Point to pass on any information they may have about the incident or factors that could affect the incident and to provide any other assistance as required. 

  • Imperial College Union Employees

    Individual members of staff, students and visitors have a legal duty to co-operate and comply at all times with the ICU Health and Safety Policy, instruction and training provided, to follow established procedures and cooperate with appointed College staff in order to achieve the highest standards of fire safety. This includes minimising the amounts of combustible materials present in buildings, ensuring the safe use, storage and disposal of flammable substances, and avoiding misuse of fire safety equipment as well as complying with the College Smoke Free Policy. 

  • Contractors

    Contractors must comply with the College Fire Safety Policy and obey all fire safety instructions given to them by the College Head of Fire Safety and/ or the Estates Operations Safety Advisor (Construction). Contractors must also ensure that all personnel for whom they are responsible are adequately trained and instructed in fire safety procedures and know the local arrangements for the areas where they are working. Contractors are required to cooperate fully with College procedures including the need to apply for Hot Work Permits when carrying out work that could present a fire risk or potentially result in activation of the fire alarm system.  

    All work on Fire Alarm Systems is also subject to Permit-to-Work procedures and must be agreed, in advance, with the College Head of Fire Safety and the Building/ Campus Manager responsible for the area covered by the alarm system. 

  • Imperial College London

    The Students' Union, whilst an independent charity in its own right, is an integral part of the Imperial College community and could not exist without the College. The Union and College work in partnership to ensure that adequate measures are in place to ensure health, safety and welfare within the Union. The Union is committed to working with the Imperial College London Safety department and where appropriate, ensuring that the Union's Health and Safety Policy, Codes of Practice and arrangements are in accordance with the College Health and Safety Policy, Codes of Practice and arrangements. 

    The Union is in an unusual position in that whilst colleagues work directly for the Students' Union their contracts of employment are with the College. Whilst the Union accepts its duty of care and responsibilities, the College also has a duty to ensure, and support, the safe management and operation of the Students' Union.