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Fire Safety

All residents in College or College Hostels must familiarise themselves with the whereabouts of fire extinguishers, fire doors and escape routes in the neighbourhood of their rooms, and of the assembly area in the event of a fire. They also need to ascertain the postcode of the building where they are resident: the fire service will require this information in the event of an emergency call. All stairways and corridors must remain clear of bicycles, boxes, refrigerators, and other obstacles. All members of the College are required to co-operate in ensuring that fire appliances remain in good order and that all fire doors remain free to close. Door closers in student rooms are not to be disabled or removed. Fire appliances are for use in an emergency: interference with them will be treated as a serious disciplinary offenceSee here for penalties.

Avoiding fire

The College is, and needs to be, highly sensitive to fire risk. Members of the College must make every effort to avoid fire starting accidentally. The risk is particularly high when cooking, which should be confined to gyp rooms and kitchens. Please note that these rooms are equipped with heat detectors, which may activate unless proper care is taken to avoid such activations. You must never leave any pans unattended while in use, and you must avoid in particular frying in oil, which can generate particularly high temperatures and fumes, and are thus considered to be dangerous, as well as being anti-social. You must also ensure that all cooking appliances have been turned off fully after use, and avoid attempting to tamper with or modify any installed switches. The Bursar may remove, without notice, any frying pan (the owner may reclaim it from him personally). The use of hookah pipes, which use hot coals to generate heat, is prohibited on all College property. Vapouring & Smoking in any form is not permitted in any College room / building.

Attempting to generate lighting in any students’ rooms by means of candles or any other naked flame is prohibited.  The drying of clothes in front of electric fires is also prohibited. To start a fire carelessly or foolishly is highly dangerous and can place lives in jeopardy. The burning of incense sticks is also not permitted in any room / building.

Students’ rooms are equipped with smoke detectors. These are sensitive to tobacco smoke, burning toast, etc., and when activated on the College site will alert the Porters. Negligent activation of these devices, and of the heat detectors in gyp rooms and kitchens, will attract a fine, as will failure to evacuate the building once a fire alarm has sounded. Never leave a toaster unattended, and clean your toaster regularly; you will be held responsible if burning toast or crumbs trigger an alarm We require every item of furniture to comply with current safety standards. You will be required to remove any item of furniture which does not have appropriate certification; the College will not be able to store it for you, and may charge you for its removal.

Wilful or reckless contravention of these fire regulations will be treated as a serious disciplinary offence.  See the Screens, or click here, for penalties.

Fire Drills

The Head Porter is responsible for arranging fire drills for each college staircase and hostels; a log is maintained of all drills undertaken.  In addition, weekly  testing of the fire alarm systems will be undertaken by members of the Porter’s Lodge.

Two fire drills will take place as follows, although further drills may be required (take place) if responses have been slow or incorrect (e.g. going to the wrong assembly point, not leaving the building):

  1. Within the first few weeks in October (Michaelmas Term).
  2. Within the first few weeks of January (Lent Term).


It is the duty of all College members, guests and visitors to prevent fire. On a personal level, this means that individuals must be aware of potential dangers – e.g. smoking, cooking areas, worn electrical leads, no candles, etc. – while the College also has a number of procedures to ensure that risks are minimised.  Hair straighteners/curling tongs etc. should be placed on a heat resistant mat to cool off; if you do not have one please contact the Housekeeper, who will be able to assist.  Students should familiarise themselves with the “Fire Appliances - Extinguishers, Fire Doors and Escape Routes” section of this document.

It is the responsibility of all students resident in either the College or a College hostel to ensure that stairways and corridors are kept clear, signage is not covered up, and kitchens are kept tidy; regular inspections will be carried out.


Many doors throughout College and in particular doors to student rooms are fire doors designed to provide 30 minutes protection in the event of a fire.  Fire doors are signed to advise of their function FIRE DOOR KEEP SHUT and fitted with self-closing devices.  It is critical that Fire Doors are not wedged open and that self-closing devices are not tampered with or removed. Failure to comply with this may endanger life.

Detection and Alarm

All Pembroke College accommodation is equipped with automated fire detection and alarm equipment.  In College they are relayed back to the Porter’s Lodge by a dedicated link.  College-owned hostels are not currently wired back to the Porter’s Lodge.

In all hostels there is an emergency telephone to dial 999 only.  If a Fire is visible / located:

  1. 999 should be called first

and then

  1. the Porter’s Lodge should be informed.

Any tampering with the fire detection and alarm systems or ‘first aid fire appliances’ (extinguishers, etc.) is deemed a very serious offence, and will be dealt with most severely by the College.

It is essential that all members of College understand the actions which need to be taken in the event of a fire alarm, and these are clearly displayed on the back of every room door; these must not be removed.

The College is obliged, by law, to carry out random testing of its fire alarms on a weekly basis.  These will take place each week and will last for approximately 10 / 20 seconds.  In College and all College hostels fire alarm tests are undertaken by porters each week. Monday is the College fire  alarm test day and notices in all the Hostels show the day of the week they will occur in that hostel.


Each staircase and hostel has its means of escape clearly signed.  It is important that escape routes, especially staircases, which can act as a chimney, are kept clear of flammable material (e.g. paper, cardboard boxes etc.) and hazards (e.g. bikes).  Furthermore, all fire doors are to be kept closed unless the door is automatically held open and connected to the alarm system and these doors will close on activation all others fire doors should never under any circumstances be wedged open.  Residents should make sure they are familiar with the locations of fire exits on their staircase or in their hostel.

Each area of College accommodation has been inspected, and a fire report drawn up along with a general Health and Safety risk assessment.  These reports are held in the HR office (L9) and can be viewed on request.  Fire action plans are located on plaques on each floor of staircase or hostels.

Smoking Policy

The College recognises that smoking causes a hazard to health to both smokers and non-smokers and can constitute a fire hazard. Accordingly, the College does not allow Fellows, staff, students, visitors, conference guests, contractors or members of the public to smoke (including e-cigarettes) in any part of its buildings.

Smoking (this includes e-cigarettes) is not permitted in study-bedrooms nor the communal areas adjacent to them.  All rooms are fitted with sensitive smoke detectors.  Students are required to advise their guests of this College policy, and to ensure that it is followed.