Revised June 2014

The Accommodation, Catering and Events Department manages and administers residential accommodation for some seven thousand students, in both halls of residence and blocks of flats. Staff and students share the responsibility of ensuring that all are able to live and work in these residences in safety and in the absence of risks to their health.

The staff are responsible for the management and conduct of the Departmental Health and Safety Policy, which is fully documented. The management of the policy is monitored by the Department's Health and Safety Committee. A member of the Accommodation, Catering and Events' staff represents student residents' interests and concerns on this committee.

However, maintaining health and safety is everyone's responsibility; each student resident's contribution to this should be to take careful note of the key issues described below, and then to exercise common sense and care when going about their daily life, so as to avoid injury and accidents and to protect themselves and their possessions.

Fire safety

1. Please be aware that your tenancy agreement / terms and conditions prohibits the keeping or storing of gas/ oil heaters or other fuel burning appliance, including candles, in your accommodation. If you are found with any of these items you will be asked to remove them from the property. If any damage is caused by their use you will be charged the cost of making it good.

2. All of our accommodation is designated as completely non-smoking this includes e-cigarettes. You need to make your guests aware of the smoking status of your accommodation when they visit.

3. When cooking, do not leave the hob or grill unattended. Keep your cooker and grill pan free from grease. Always keep the kitchen door closed when cooking: use the fan or window for ventilation. Do not wedge doors open.

4. Check all appliances are off before you leave your room / flat

5. Keep fire doors closed and do not interfere with door-closers or cover detector heads.

6. Take care not to overload electrical sockets.

7.  Whilst we test the electrical goods we provide, it is your responsibility to ensure your own goods comply with the safety regulations. If in doubt please ask a member of staff.

8.  It is essential that any soft furnishings you bring into the accommodation meet with fire regulations. If you are in doubt please check with a member of staff.

9. Do not store bicycles in your accommodation or block passageways with them. Ask staff for details of bike storage sheds.

10. Take care with heaters. Do not cover heaters, or leave flammable items close to them.

11. Do not allow guests to sleep in the kitchen or other shared areas.

12. Do not place posters on walls near or around cooking appliances. 

This is a considerable list, but one that reflects our experience of fires in student accommodation. Thankfully, we have had few fire incidents but those we have had have been caused by unattended cooking and carelessness with candles and cigarette ends. We also know that false alarms are a nuisance for all concerned: if you follow the guidelines given, you will help to reduce the chance of these occurring.

Fire procedure

1. Study the instructions in the FIRE ACTION notice displayed in your room / flat, and those displayed in the public areas of your accommodation. Disabled residents should request specific Procedures for Disabled Persons from staff, if you have not already done so.

2. Any students inviting a disabled person into their residence is encouraged to make this known to the Security Staff, whether or not that person is to remain in residence overnight. In the event of a fire evacuation, the Fire Assembly Controller will access the information and inform the Fire Brigade.

3. WHENEVER the fire alarm sounds in your accommodation, leave the building IMMEDIATELY, following the procedure in the notice displayed in your room / flat. You are legally required to evacuate the building when the alarm sounds

Fire evacuation of disabled persons

Pollock Halls

In the event of a fire alert, if a mobility-impaired person is on an upper floor, the student that they are visiting must call Accommodation, Catering and Events Security team by dialing 0 from the phone in their room or 0131 651 2060 from a mobile to advise that they have a mobility impaired person who requires to be evacuated from the building.

It is the residents' responsibility to evacuate the mobility impaired person from the building. On exiting the building they must confirm to the Fire Assembly Controller that they have safely evacuated the building with their guest.

John Burnett house (specific information for)

In the event of a fire alert, if there is a mobility impaired student in house, the student who they are visiting must ensure that:

  • the person is taken to the central staircase
  • that they wait with the student
  • they wait for instructions by means of the communications panel. If it is unsafe to get into the central staircase the person should be taken to another stair case and should stay there communicating via the communications panel.

Visiting students out-with Pollock Halls

It is the students' responsibility to evacuate the mobility impaired person. In the event of a fire, they should contact U of E security and inform them so that they can inform the Fire and Rescue service on their arrival of the location of the disabled person.

4. NEVER use a lift as a means of escaping from a building in which the fire alarm is sounding.

5. Remember it is a criminal offence, as well as a disciplinary one, for anyone to tamper with fire alarm systems, fire fighting equipment, fire notices or fire escape notices. This includes blocking escape routes, covering or removing detector heads and misusing extinguishers. If you are aware of any faults in any of the fire protection equipment please report this immediately to a member of staff.

6. Only the Fire and Rescue Service can authorise you to re-enter the building. Never return to a building until authorised to do so, even if the alarm has been silenced. You must obey all instructions from the Fire and Rescue Service. Their only interest is to ensure your safety!

7.  Do not, under any circumstances, tamper with or cover any smoke detector within or in the vicinity of your accommodation. This will endanger your safety and that of other residents.

Safety in your accommodation

1. Remove rubbish to a designated area. (For clarification of where this is, contact a member of staff.) This helps to prevent disease and the attraction of vermin. Stores of rubbish can also pose a serious fire risk. Take special care when disposing of sharp items. If you have a need for special disposal arrangements, please seek guidance from a member of staff.

2. Keep your food storage and preparation areas clean. Always store food in sealed containers; mice and other pests will only visit if there is a supply of food! If there is a spillage, wipe or mop the area. This keeps the area clean but also prevents the risk of accidents from slipping

3.  Replace light bulbs as necessary, particularly in escape routes.

4. Do not trail electrical wires between rooms, as this is a trip hazard.

5. Never attempt repairs yourself, always report them to a member of Accommodation, Catering and Events staff, e.g. an Accommodation Manager or a Domestic Team Leader.

6. Where fitted, do not remove security chains / safety catches from windows.

7. Be careful when exiting the shower. Use the appropriate area to dry yourself before stepping onto the vinyl floor covering. This will reduce the risk of slipping.


1. Keep your room / flat door locked at all times, even when you are in.

2. Keep your keys in a safe place; remove any address labels from them. Report the loss or theft of a key immediately.

3. It is vital that you secure the property before going out. Make sure all windows are closed and doors locked.

4. Keep your personal valuables in a secure location.

5. Never wedge open any door in the property.

6. Make sure your bicycle is secure.

7. Check that the insurance cover provided meets your needs. This is especially relevant if you have a bike, mobile phone, computer or other valuable items with you.

8. At night, keep to well lit areas and ensure you are not alone.

9.  Do not allow strangers into the building.

10. If you see anything suspicious, you should phone the police / security staff.

11. For guidance, please contact a member of staff: Wardens, Accommodation Managers and Residents' Assistants are all here to help you.


1. You should register with a doctor on arriving in Edinburgh. If you feel unwell, do not hesitate to contact your doctor or, in the event of an emergency, call an ambulance.

2. You will have received information on meningitis on arrival at your accommodation. Please make sure you read this carefully. If in doubt seek help!

Reporting of incidents

Please report any serious incidents, accidents or fires to your Warden or Accommodation Manager. We would also ask that you let us know if anyone requires to be taken to hospital.


We have done our best to ensure that your stay with us is a safe one, and we hope that these guidelines will be of use and will help you during your stay. It is, however, impossible to cover everything. If you have a concern, or need guidance, please contact a member of staff: Wardens, Accommodation Managers, Halls Assistants and Residents' Assistants are all here to help you. We may well be able to assist you ourselves, but if not we will be able to advise you of others in the University who can help you.

Useful telephone numbers 

Contact Number
Emergency services In an emergency dial 999 for Police, Fire Brigade or Ambulance. 101 for Police (non-emergency)
Pollock Halls reception centre 0 (Keycom) or +44 (0) 131 667 1971 
Pollock Security (24 hours) +44 (0) 131 667 1971 or 0 from your room telephone. In the event of an emergency contact +44 (0)131 651 2060 or 6666. 
University Security (Appleton Tower: 24 hours) +44 (0) 131 650 2257
University Health Centre and Pharmacy (Bristo Square +44 (0) 131 650 2777
Environmental Health +44 (0) 131 529 2777
EUSA Advice Place +44 (0) 131 650 2272