Skip navigation to content

Fire safety

Upon arrival

Unfamiliarity with a building during a fire can mean the difference between escape and injury.  As soon as you arrive in your accommodation take a moment to locate the ...

  • Fire Safety notice;
  • Nearest fire exit;
  • An alternative exit;
  • Fire alarm;
  • Fire extinguishers.

Close doors at night, especially on stairs and those to kitchens. Ensure escape routes are free from obstruction and storage of combustibles.


For safe evacuation, ensure your escape routes are free from obstructions and flammable material.

Fire routines detailing what to do if you discover a fire or hear the fire alarm are positioned in all study bedrooms and common areas. Familiarise yourself with these.

Fire deaths and injuries tend to occur when the normal route becomes unavailable. This occurs when combustible material is ignited in escape routes, or doors leading onto escape routes are held open by wedges allowing smoke (normally the killer) to fill the building.

In this situation, follow the advice below

  • Raise the alarm if this has not been done.
  • Telephone the Fire Service by dialling '999' and ask for the Fire Service.
  • Gather everyone together in a safe room, preferably at the front of the building.
  • Block gaps in the door to prevent smoke ingress.
  • Go to a window and shout for help. Stay at the window.
  • If you are on the first floor it may be possible to drop from arm's length from the sill.
  • If you are trapped on a higher storey, stay at the window until the Fire Service arrives.

Unwanted fire alarms

Unwanted fire signals are problematic for a number of reasons.

  • They redirect the resources of the Fire Service from life saving duties.
  • They disrupt the operation of the building.
  • They tend to reduce the effectiveness of the response to the fire alarm signal: "just another fire alarm".
  • Dangerous situations may occur when people ignore the fire alarm thinking it's false.
  • Costly.
  • Lead to restrictions placed on the use of the building, i.e. cookers, toasters removed.

In order to reduce the incidence of unnecessary fire alarms, follow these simple steps:

  • Close doors to kitchens when cooking. These areas are protected by heat detectors and will not respond to smoke. By opening the door, the smoke detector in the hall may actuate.
  • Ensure kitchen fans are on and room is well ventilated.
  • Do not smoke under fire detectors.
  • Do not use hair spray, deodorant, beneath the detectors.
  • Do not remove the detector. A fire signal may occur. In any case a faulty alarm will register on the fire pane.
  • Steam from showers may set off the alarm.

Don't drink and fry

Alcohol, at times, as you are no doubt aware, is not conducive to sensible behaviour and a large number of fires are caused each year by people returning from the pub deciding to make chips or cook some other snack.  Cooking-related fires can spread rapidly and your response to a fire could be adversely affected by alcohol.

Ask a question



Advice and Support Centre
79 North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1334 46 2020


Student services

Eden Court
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AS
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1334 46 2720
Fax:+44 (0)1334 46 4007

Eden Court location map

Tell Us What You Think

We welcome feedback about your experience with Student Services. Whether your experience has been positive or negative we would like to hear about it so we can understand what we did right or where we could have done better. If there are issues with the service that need to be resolved or if you haven’t formed a good rapport with your Adviser/Counsellor we may put you in touch with an alternative member of our team or signpost you to an external source of support (if appropriate). Please share your feedback with Adam Welstead ( or Dr Penny Turnbull ( Assistant Directors of Student Services. Alternatively, you can fill in our Comments and Suggestions online survey.

Please also be aware that the University has Complaints Handling Procedure for formally addressing concerns.

  • Book an Appointment online