The University of Newcastle, Australia

Being fire safe on campus

Friday, 18 October 2013

Understanding the campus environment


The current bushfires affecting large parts of the state are a reminder that NSW is in peak bushfire danger season.

What is the risk?

Higher temperatures, experienced throughout spring and summer, increase the likelihood that a fire will start or continue to burn.

While the University maintains the campus environment with consideration given to fire hazard reduction, we must not ignore the inherent risks associated with our Callaghan and Ourimbah campuses being set within a bush environment.

Bushfires can originate from both natural causes and human activity. For example, over 4,500 fires are caused annually by cigarettes and other materials used in smoking such as cigarette lighters and matches.

What can you do?

If you smoke, you should always ensure your cigarette is completely extinguished prior to disposal in a designated waste bin. Never throw cigarettes onto the ground or into garden or bush areas.

Know what the fire danger level is especially on hot, dry, windy days. This information can be found on the Rural Fire Service website. Pay attention to weather warnings and never smoke on campus on days that are classified as having 'severe', 'extreme' or 'catastrophic' fire danger.

Fire threats on campus

On  days, that are 'severe', 'extreme' and 'catastrophic' fire risk danger days, University of Newcastle will communicate a warning via emergency alerts, text messaging, and the University of Newcastle's Twitter, Facebook, website etc. when advice indicates a fire has the potential to impact on the University Campus.

These warnings serve to ensure everyone on campus is aware of the heightened risk, observe necessary fire bans to keep our campus safe and are prepared to evacuate if required.

In the unlikely event of a fire on campus, you should observe these basic guidelines:

If inside - University of Newcastle buildings, including student accommodation, fitted with automated fire alarm systems will activate a loud warning siren in the unlikely event of a fire. You should exit buildings via the stairs, not the elevator.

If outside - Be aware of signs of fire. Do not for any reason enter buildings that are sounding a fire alarm. Do not go towards a fire to collect personal belongings or a car. Bushfires can spread very quickly. 

Look for fire wardens, identifiable by brightly coloured hard hats, or fire fighters for advice on which direction to proceed. Be aware of smoke and signs of fire and move in a direction that is clear of any signs of fire.

The following numbers can be used to gain assistance in the event of a fire:

On campus security:

Newcastle 4921 5888

Ourimbah 4348 4222

Port Macquarie 0412 595 054

If Security Services cannot be reached contact:

Fire, Ambulance or Police: 000 (Prime emergency call service number)

112 (International standard emergency number)

106 (Emergency relay service for the hearing or speech impaired)

  • Sheena Martin
  • Phone: +61 2 4921 8714

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