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Fire emergency management and evacuation

In the event of a fire or emergency, it is vital that everyone in the building who may be in danger is evacuated to a safe place in a calm and controlled manner.

Calling 111 - What to expect


Contacting emergency services

If dialling from a mobile phone, you may need to dial an area code before dialling the number.

If you are using a University phone, dial 1-111.

Tell the operator the nature of the emergency, the building name and the street address,

including the suburb and city.



The University of Auckland evacuation notices are displayed:

  • at every alarm point
  • in public, student and staff common areas
  • in cafeterias, tea rooms, kitchens and dining areas
  • in reception areas
  • in every room or unit with sleeping facilities
  • at lift entries.


Deal with the cause of an emergency only if it is safe to do so.

If it is not safe or if you have any doubt about handling the emergency, you need to evacuate the building.

  • Phone emergency services and sound the nearest alarm (these are close to all building exits).
    Please note: if you suspect that the emergency is a bomb scare or a gas leak, do not sound the alarm. Guide people through evacuation by word of mouth and ask for all mobile phones to be switched off.
  • If possible, notify the nominated floor warden of the emergency and phone Unisafe.
  • Follow the instructions of all floor or building wardens at all times during the procedure.
  • Evacuate in a calm and controlled manner to your nearest assembly point using emergency exit points.
  • Only re-enter the building when you have been told by the building or floor warden/manager that it is safe to do so.

If you are in a building outside of normal working hours and an emergency happens, sound the alarm and evacuate by the nearest exit and report to the alarm panel.

When the fire service arrives, inform them that the building has not been searched.

Communication during the evacuation process

Communication is vital to the success of any evacuation. For this reason, when evacuating keep the following in mind:

  • anyone who becomes aware of an emergency that requires a building evacuation should activate the nearest alarm and contact the emergency services
  • if possible, the floor warden (and, if appropriate) the building warden should be notified
  • floor wardens should give updated details about the emergency to the building warden, initially when reporting on the evacuation and then, as often as necessary
  • building wardens should confirm that emergency services have been contacted and notify UniSafe of the emergency details and location.

Assembly areas

  • Each building has a designated assembly area(s), which is highlighted on the evacuation instructions. Everyone that is evacuating a building should go to, and stay at, the assembly area until emergency services give the 'all clear' through the building warden.
  • If the assembly area could be in a dangerous position, go to the nearest safe location e.g away from smoke, Hazardous storage areas, arriving fire appliances. 

Emergency medical treatment

  • When an evacuation alarm sounds, the nominated first aid officers should report to the building warden with their first aid kit.
  • If you discover an incapacitated person in the building, you should stay with them and help if you can - as long as you can do so without putting yourself in danger. Ask someone to advise the floor warden of the problem and to seek first aid help from the building warden.
  • If the incapacitated person is in immediate danger from the emergency, ask other people to help you to move them to a safe place. If they can't be moved, leave the building and report their location to the building warden.

Help for people with disabilities or who need assistance during an Evacuation

During an emergency evacuation of a University Building it is likely that some occupants may need assistance and support as they will have limited or no ability to evacuate a building independently. During such an event staff members can provide that needed support.

There may be a variety of reasons why an occupant may have difficulty or be unable to exit via designated emergency stairwells, such as;
• Physical Impairments wheel chair user, someone using crutches, restricted mobility.
• Visual impairment or blind
• Hearing impairment or deaf
• Medical Condition – Cardiac condition, arthritis, panic attacks / claustrophobia

There are some steps that you can take to make sure everyone is safe and accounted for during such emergency situations.

Any person who knows that they will need assistance during an evacuation can register their name and location details with the Building Warden. In the event of an evacuation the Building warden can immediately inform arriving fire crews the location of that occupant needing assistance.

It should be noted that this register needs to be updated frequently and will not function well with staff or students who move from building to building on a regular basis.

The Assistance Register does not require the person to disclose any personal health details. It just needs to have information that the person will need assistance to evacuate the building.

Assign a buddy/s to provide support when an evacuation takes place.

Take a wander around your building (with your buddies) and work out where exit stairwells are located, take note of alternative accessible routes that could lead you out of the building or away from immediate danger. Pre-plan now!

Important Notes

Do Not Use Lifts during an emergency evacuation!

Do not attempt to carry any person down stairs!

Fire Wardens will not stay with any person on the floor. Their role is to check and account for people and report their findings to the Building Warden and Fire Service. Wardens may request that you stay with a person that needs assistance.

1. When the fire alarm is activated all staff should be alert to someone who may need assistance and support. Approach and ask that person what support they need;  establish if they can descend stairs or not.

2. Guide the person towards the nearest smoke free EXIT. Ensure that they do not get knocked over by other persons accessing the designated EXIT.

3. Allow other occupants to enter the EXIT stairwell first. This is the safest option for all parties and prevents other occupants being hindered, such a situation could result in an accident or aggravate that person’s condition.  It also takes the pressure off the person requiring assistance.

4. If the person can descend stairs, be it slowly, guide them & support them. Inform the Floor Warden & other staff members that you are going to assist the person down the exit stairs. Ensure that you are not holding anyone up. If so, step aside into the next lobby area. Once the stairway is clear, then continue your descent. There is no need for speed, just a steady and safe descent.

5. A lot of noise from alarms, conversations from people, smell of smoke, flickering lights, stair pressurisation systems can make this a confusing and potentially daunting time. So remember to;

6. If the person is unable to descend the stairs, locate them into a smoke free EXIT stairwell lobby. At least one staff member should remain with the person as a support. Ensure the Floor Warden or other staff members know your location. They need to advise the Building Warden & Fire Service. The Fire Service will come to your aid immediately. If you do not think anyone knows your location, dial 111 for Fire Service and inform them. They will relay the message to onsite Fire Service personnel.

7. If the Fire alarm is activated after normal operational hours and there is no warden available, follow the steps above. Ask other staff members or students to inform the Fire Service of your location, stay with the disabled person and provide support. If you do not think anyone knows your location, dial 111 for Fire Service and inform them. They will relay the message to onsite Fire Service personnel.

8. If alone with the disabled person who cannot descend the stairs locate them into a smoke free stairwell lobby. Tell them that you will report their location to the Fire Service and Exit the building. Report to the Fire Service immediately. If you are still in the building you should dial 111 on your cell phone or landline (if it is safe to do so). Inform the Emergency operator of the person’s locality.

9. Buildings have inbuilt life safety systems to preserve life for 60-90 minutes. These system, which will vary in each building, are:

a. Smoke Stops doors that can withstand intense heat and keep smoke out
b. Stairwell pressurisation systems to keep smoke out
c. Emergency lighting
d. Early detection and warning alarms
e. Sprinklers to suppress fires

These systems provide vital support to a person who may have to remain in the building until the Fire Service can provide assistance.


Instructions for staff

As a staff member at the University you have a number of responsibilities in emergencies and emergency evacuations. These include:

  • for academic staff, at your first lecture for each group of students at the start of every semester (or every course if it doesn't involve a full semester), ensuring that the students know where to find evacuation notices, exits and assembly points for the lecture facilities
  • if people other than staff and students are using a building for which you're responsible, ensuring that users know about the building's evacuation procedure and, if no staff are to be present, that someone has accepted responsibility for the Building Warden's duties
  • when the evacuation alarm sounds, ensuring that students and other visitors evacuate the building by the nearest exit. If anyone refuses to leave the building, don't waste time arguing. You should note their name or room number and report them to the Building Warden
  • where you're not responsible for any students or visitors and are not a warden, helping wherever possible to ensure your building is evacuated effectively.

If you're part of the University's maintenance staff and work in plant rooms or other areas that wardens can't search, make sure you evacuate when the alarm sounds and report to the Building Warden that the areas are clear of occupants.


Instructions for building occupants

If you're in a University building and discover a fire or other emergency that could endanger people, you should:

  • sound the nearest alarm
  • report the incident (or arrange to have it reported) by dialling 1-111 on the nearest phone and asking for the Fire Service. Give them the building's name, street address, suburb and city and brief details of the incident
  • close down any process or machinery if you can do so safely and quickly
  • leave immediately by the nearest exit. Move quickly but don't run, close doors but don't turn off lights and don't use any lift
  • report to the designated assembly area or, if that's not possible, to a safe place
  • stay away from the building while the evacuation alarm is sounding
  • stay out of the building until a Building Warden says you can go back inside.

Alarm systems

To signal an evacuation to their occupants, most University buildings have audible alarm systems that are activated either automatically or from manual points.



All buildings have EXIT signs. You must be able to open all exit doors without keys at all times, and exit paths must be kept free of obstructions.

Should an exit door that is mag locked fail to release when the fire alarm is activated, look for the emergnecy door relaese, break the cover (use a small tool such as a pen, keys etc) and depress the release switch. This will release the door for exit.

Special Notes

Epsom Campus Buildings - Exit doors do not release automatically during a fire alarm activation. When reaching the door, look for the "emergency door release switch" adjacent the door which will deactivate the mag lock.  



Smoke-stop doors

Smoke-stop doors should never be wedged open. If you see one open, please report it to the building warden or a senior staff member straight away.


Fire-fighting equipment

Most University buildings have hose reels and extinguishers for small fires. They must only be used by trained staff, and only if it's possible to do so without the risk of people being injured or overcome by smoke.


Key people involved during emergency evacuations

Wardens and First Aiders

Every University building has a Building Warden and a Deputy Warden (identified with a yellow jacket) and, if relevant, Floor Wardens and deputies, who wear red jackets.

Wardens are responsible for:

  • making sure everyone evacuates the building when the alarm sounds
  • making sure building services are turned off when safe to do so
  • liaising with the emergency services when they arrive.

Those staff who have been trained and have been nominated as being the first aid administrators for their area can be identified by green jackets.

Using the documents below, you can identify the Building Warden, Floor Warden and First Aid officer is for your floor or building.

Sector 100 Buildings
(24.1 kB, EXCEL)
Sector 200 Buildings
(24.3 kB, EXCEL)
Sector 300 Buildings
(24.7 kB, EXCEL)
Sector 400 Buildings
(24.8 kB, EXCEL)
Sector 500 Buildings
(26.7 kB, EXCEL)
Sector 600 Buildings
(12.2 kB, EXCEL)
Sector 800 Buildings
(17.3 kB, EXCEL)
Epsom Campus Sector 6E
(19.8 kB, EXCEL)
Tamaki Campus Sector 700
(20.4 kB, EXCEL)