Emergency Procedures -Health & Safety - Computer Science and Software Engineering - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Emergency Procedures: Erskine Building

This document summarises aspects of the Erskine building, housing the departments of Mathematics & Statistics (MS) and Computer Science & Software Engineering (CSSE), relevant to student evacuations, and reproduces the University's Emergency Procedures document.

At the start of each course the lecturer will give details of emergency procedures that apply to that particular room. These details include the locations of the assembly area, emergency exits, alarm activation points, fire extinguishers and hose reels. These details for the Erskine teaching areas are given in the next section.

Emergency Details for the Erskine Building

The Erskine building has three main exits--at the eastern and western stairwells, and the main building entrance. The assembly area for the Erskine building is the mathematical garden, to the north of the building. This area is bounded by the Physical Sciences Library, the Rutherford (Physics/Chemistry) building, the Erskine building and a car park.

Most teaching rooms have a single exit. Exceptions are:

  • Rm 031 (the basement seminar room) has exits at the front and rear.
  • Rm 133 (CSSE lab 2) has a main exit directly to the atrium, and an exit in the east wall that gives access to the neighbouring room 134 (CSSE lab 3), which in turn has an exit to the atrium.

In the basement (level 0), there is an alarm activation point in the lift well area just outside room 031. There is a hose reel nearby at the base of the western stairs.

On level 1 (ground floor), there are several alarm activation points: one each in the eastern and western stair wells, two on the north side of the atrium (between the entrance and room 111, and between rooms 111 and 121) and two on the south side of the atrium---just outside CSSE lab 3 (room 134), and in the corridor leading to room 132. There are three hose reels on level 1: just inside the northern set of doors between the western stairs and the lift lobby, just inside the northern set of doors between the eastern stairs and the atrium, and on the northern atrium wall between the main entrance and room 111.

More detailed information is available on the evacuation procedures for the Erskine building.

University Emergency Procedures

In an emergency, call the 111 Emergency Service and tell the operator the service you need most urgently:
  • FIRE


If you discover a fire follow the instructions at the end of this document. Raise the alarm and notify the Fire Service. If the fire is small, use a hose or extinguisher. If the fire cannot be put out, leave the building.

Only attempt fire fighting if it is safe to do so.

When you Hear A Fire Alarm leave the building immediately by the nearest escape route. Report to the assembly area. Keep well clear of Fire Service access and of the building to avoid danger of falling glass, etc.

Gas Leak

If you discover a gas leak shout a warning. Notify the Fire Service with a 111 call. Do not activate the building alarms, contact the Building Warden or Floor Warden. Pass the alarm by word of mouth.

Ensure that naked flames are extinguished and check that the nearest gas isolator switch is off. Evacuate the building immediately avoiding the area of contamination as much as possible. Do not use any electrical equipment, including hand held radios or cellphones.


When an Earthquake Happens

Do not rush outside. Move away from windows and glass partitions. If possible shelter under a desk, or stand in a doorway, or lie beside a solid structure, such as beams or walls, and hold on. Move clear of large light fittings and other suspended items. In libraries, move clear of book stacks. If you are outside, keep clear of buildings.

When the Shaking Stops

If a fire has started, put it out if possible. Check for electrical and gas hazards. Turn off all electrical switches and gas taps. Assist those nearest to you who may be injured. Do not go outside --- the hazards out there may be worse. Wait for instructions from the Warden or rescue teams.

If an Evacuation is Initiated

If the fire alarms sound, or the building is unsafe, or instructions are given, leave the building. Follow instructions from the rescue team leader or the Building Warden. Proceed to the assembly area as directed. Do not use lifts. Give first aid to the injured.

Disabled Persons

DO NOT FORGET PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES, whether permanent or temporary. In an emergency they should be taken to a pre-determined safe area, inside a stairwell or outside a fire door, in such a manner as to not obstruct others leaving the building. If their disability prevents their evacuation immediately after other occupiers have left, a person or persons capable of helping them from the building should stay with them. If they are still unable to be safely evacuated, the Building Warden must be told help is needed and their location given to the Fire Service on their arrival.

If you are disabled and likely to need assistance in an emergency, contact the Floor Warden or Building Warden of any building that you use regularly and ask for your details to be recorded in the Building Assistance Register.

Injured People

Do not remove any unconscious or seriously injured people unless they are in immediate danger of further injury by fire, falling debris, etc. Stay by them and send for help. Get someone to call for an ambulance.

Give first aid to the injured. University staff who hold a First Aid Certificate are marked with an asterisk (*) in the University Telephone Directory.


For assistance other than the Emergency Services (Fire, Police or Ambulance), call the University Security Centre. If using an internal telephone on campus dial 6111. From an external telephone dial 364-2111. This puts you in contact with the Security Centre which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Important Points to Remember

How you react in a fire will depend on how well you have prepared yourself BEFORE it happens.
  • Know the location of all exits from your work area and learn where the nearest alarm is. Make sure you know where the assembly area is and how to get there. The locations of these are stated on the Emergency Procedures notices posted in buildings.
  • Make yourself familiar with the location of hose reels and extinguishers and the methods of operation.
  • Remember never to use a lift in a fire as they could stop at the floor where the fire is.
  • If you are in a lift when the alarm sounds, leave the lift at the next stop unless that is where the fire is.
  • Close all doors behind you on the way out and do not re-enter the building until the Fire Service has told you it is safe to do so.
  • Before opening a door, feel it with the back of your hand. If it is hot leave it closed and use another escape route. If it feels normal brace your body against it and open it slightly --- be prepared to slam it shut if heat or smoke rushes in.
  • If you get trapped in smoke, crawl low at floor level because that is where the clean air will be.
  • The worst mistake that can be made on discovering an emergency usually stems from a natural reluctance to cause a disturbance. Serious fires have developed from a failure to inform the Fire Service quickly or to evacuate the building while the opportunity exists.


If, in a fire or other emergency requiring evacuation you are, or become aware of, the absence of a warden or wardens, please take all practicable steps to facilitate the safe and expeditious evacuation of the building occupants. If appropriate, carry out the role of Floor Warden and/or Building Warden.

If you discover a fire

  1. Raise the alarm immediately by operating the nearest fire alarm.
  2. Ensure the fire service is notified by calling 111. This may be done using the telephone in neighbouring premises, or, if safe to do so, by the receptionist/telephonist prior to their evacuating. Clearly state the premises NAME, ADDRESS, NEAREST CROSS STREET (including suburb and city or town) and NATURE OF EMERGENCY (fire, bells ringing, etc).
  3. Potentially dangerous processes or machinery should be closed down. Leave lights on. The closing down process should only be carried out if possible to do so safely and with no delay.
  4. Leave immediately by the NEAREST escape route. Move quickly but DO NOT RUN.
  5. Lifts should not be used.
  6. Report to your designated assembly area.
  7. Do not return to the building until the all clear is given.
During an emergency the building warden has absolute authority until the emergency service arrives.

Remember the "RACE" acronym

  • R: Remove people.
  • A: Alert fire service (sound alarm, call 111).
  • C: Confine fire (close doors, windows, etc).
  • E: Extinguish fire (if safe to attempt this).

Kat Bell, CSSE department safety officer,
(Room 204, ext. 91234, Kat.Bell@canterbury.ac.nz

  • Phone: +64 3 369 2777
    Fax: +64 3 364 2569
  • Computer Science and Software Engineering
    University of Canterbury
    Private Bag 4800, Christchurch
    New Zealand
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