Informatics Forum Emergency Evacuation and Level Plans

Information regarding safety features and fire alarm/ evacuation protocols for the Informatics Forum.

Note: We provide the following information as guideline information only. We hope you find it useful. 

We do not consider our building, with its low glass walls over the atrium and hanging stairways, safe for children. Anyone responsible for children should ensure they are under constant supervision. It is, however, well fitted out for most other groups and has emergency evacuation lifts and evacuation chairs for the safe extraction of those who may have problems travelling stairways.

When you are running an event in the Forum, especially after hours, all safety issues are your organiser's responsibility i.e. you will need to know how to operate the various facilities and provide the staff to man them where necessary. You will also need to ensure that anyone you are bringing in with electrical equipment has had it safety tested. The University does not accept any items to be connected to its electrical supply unless they have been tested for safety and carry a valid marker.

During the working week (09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday) Informatics have their own safety teams and First Aiders who may be able to provide some assistance. If you wish our help during these times please contact us and we can discuss what assistance Informatics may be able to provide.

If you are bringing any extra hazards to the Forum, you should inform Informatics beforehand in order to allow us to inform our staff or seek further information from yourselves as regards the hazard. Some examples being; large attendee numbers; loud music; heavy electrical requirements; wired network requirements; hanging banners; etc.

Maps are available for all the levels to show exit routes and First Aid facilities.

The building has an automated fire detection system, relying on various sensors throughout the building, backed up with a number of manual 'break glass' points.

On a fire alarm activation

  • The building fire alarm (pulsed electronic sounder) will trigger and warning lights will flash. Smoke curtains will drop at various points around the Forum.
  • All the lifts will go out of action and return to a safe level (generally the ground, unless that is where the activation occurred in which case they will stop at the 1st floor).
  • Two lifts should be available for manual emergency evacuation use (requires knowledge of where the override keys are and how to operate the lift in emergency evacuation mode).

Evacuation procedure

On activation of the Fire alarm, or any other emergency evacuation, all personnel within the building should leave by the closest emergency exit or stairwell and exit the building to a clear distance. The main entrance should be kept clear to maintain access for the Emergency Services.

If your event is on any floor other than ground you should note that the main stairwell is not a fire escape route and will be blocked on most levels by smoke curtains. Emergency lifts are available for the extraction of those who can not manage stairs and emergency evacuation chairs are also available. These chairs are generally found on levels 3 and 5 within the stairwells and one unit is on level 1 (of the east fire exit stairwell). A climbing evac chair is in the basement.

As an event organiser it is your responsibility to ensure that your attendees are guided out of the building and you should provide some means of doing this and evacuation teams to assist anyone who may struggle with stairs, if necessary.  

Outwith normal office hours you should have a nominated competent person to:

  • Control your evacuation and act as your local Assembly Controller
  • Contact university Security to relay the emergency to them
  • Ensure your attendees are kept out of the building and away from the front door to allow the Fire Brigade easy access
  • Attend the front door when the Fire Brigade and Security are in attendance, so that you may relay any information to your attendees as regards re-entering the building
  • Ensure your attendees do not re-enter the building until clearance has been given, even if the alarms have stopped sounding.

Outwith normal office hours and if your event is off the ground floor, your evacuation team should:

  • Man the control panel in the ground floor servitor's office
  • Send an evac team to anywhere that is necessary, or to those who call in via the refuge comms unit.
  • Use the emergency evacuation lifts to access the appropriate level and collect those who are awaiting rescue and effect an escape from the building
  • Guide all other attendees to the nearest fire exit route.
  • Ensure attendees do not return to the building before the 'all clear' is given by the Assembly Controller

Whilst some of this may seem daunting at first glance, most of it is fairly easily gotten to grips with and common sense. There are a few services, however, which will require some advance planning and attendance at one or two short training sessions. They are all related to events not held on the ground floor;

  • Use of the evacuation lift and refuge communication panel (A 15 minute familiarisation session on where to get access to the appropriate keys, how to answer the panel and how to use the lift as an emergency lift. This instruction can be given locally by the Informatics safety team in the days prior to an event).
  • Use of the evacuation chairs (A one hour course run by the Fire Office. This course requires advance planning and can not be given at short notice. It is not Informatics related and will require direct contact with the Fire Office).

We hope you will have an enjoyable and safe event. If you would like a walk around and showing of the various facilities we suggest you do this around a week in advance of your event in order to have the information fresh in your mind.

If you have any questions you would like to ask regarding the Forum, please contact Facilities@inf.ed.ac.uk