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Durham University

Learning and Teaching Handbook

6.2.9: Emergency Evacuation Procedure

Emergency regulations - where evacuation of the building is necessary

1. Invigilators are responsible for making themselves aware of the fire regulations operating in the building where they are invigilating. Copies of the appropriate fire regulations are displayed prominently in all University lecture rooms.

2. In the event of an emergency, invigilators should stop the examination and advise students to leave the building promptly by the nearest exit. Students should be instructed to leave all examination material (answer books, question papers, photographs, charts, etc.) on their desks.

3. Invigilators should take with them the attendance lists to serve as a record of who was in the room at the time of the evacuation.

4. The invigilator should be the last to leave the room. Where there is only one invigilator a student should be directed to the fire assembly point and asked to lead the other students there whilst the invigilator checks that the room is left unoccupied. Where there is more than one invigilator, an invigilator should lead the way to the fire assembly point leaving the other or others to check that the room is left unoccupied. Invigilators should join the students in their charge at the fire assembly point as quickly as possible. Students should be asked to keep together.

5. Invigilators should not put themselves at risk if a student declines to evacuate the room promptly; the invigilator should note the names of any such students and report them to the Examinations Officer.

6. The examination room door should be closed, but not locked.

7. A note should be made of the time when the examination was interrupted and this time should be communicated to Student Planning and Assessment at the earliest convenient moment.

8. If possible, the attendance list should be checked to see if all students are accounted for.

9. No-one should re-enter the building until the emergency is over.

10. Students may, nevertheless, seek to re-enter the Examination Room during the emergency particularly if there is the appearance of a false alarm. Invigilators should not put themselves at risk, but should note any suspicious behaviour for report to the Student Registry.

Procedure after evacuation

11. If the evacuation has been caused by a genuine emergency, there is likely to be a long interval before the building can be re-entered. As soon as it becomes clear that the examination has been, or will be, interrupted for more than half an hour, the examination should be called off and the students allowed to disperse. If more than two-thirds of the time allowed for the examination has elapsed, the remainder should be called off in any event. The position should then be reported to the Student Registry who will make arrangements with the Emergency Services to recover the scripts if they survive the emergency. It will then be a matter for the relevant Board of Examiners and the Chair of the relevant Faculty Education Committee to determine what further action should be taken to determine whether the incomplete examination should be counted, repeated, or discounted.

12. If it becomes possible to re-enter the examination room and resume the examination within less than half an hour of the evacuation, the invigilator(s) should lead the students back to the examination room and request them to continue where they left off. Students should be allowed an extra fifteen minutes for the examination. A full account of the interruption should be given to the Examinations Officer together with the names of any students absent from the resumed examination. The Student Registry will inform the chair of the relevant Faculty Education Committee and Chair(s) of the Board(s) of Examiners concerned.