Estates and Safety frequently asked questions
This information is here to help you stay safe and answer questions you may have, if you're coming back on Campus. You can find guidance for Face Coverings on our dedicated page.
The information below covers:
- Fire safety
- Building Operations
- Soft Services
How often should I wash my hands?
Wash your hands more frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or after touching a surface that may potentially have been contaminated with the virus.
If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
Should I wear gloves in communal areas and when opening doors?
The use of gloves is required when working with substances that could cause skin irritation and permeate through your skin.
Otherwise, in 90% of cases, you do not need to wear gloves. Washing your hands with soap and warm water or using hand sanitiser when you have reached your destination is the most effective way of preventing the transmission of the virus.
Are Imperial buildings safe to reoccupy from a fire safety perspective?
Since the start of the College lock down, the fire safety team have been working with the estates operations teams to ensure both the passive and active fire safety measures embedded within the College remain suitable and sufficient for the current level of occupation and for any phased return to work. The fire safety team are continuing to investigate all fire alarm activations and ensuring that weekly fire alarm testing is being carried out. All College fire alarm systems are being maintained in a full operational state. The wider fire safety systems testing, and maintenance programme continues to be carried out and is being audited to ensure compliance. The fire safety team have also continued to carry out on-site audits to ensure that compartmentation is compliant.
What should I do if I had a Personal Emergency Egress Plan (PEEP) in place?
If you had a PEEP in place prior to working from home, you should review it before you start working or studying on campus again, to ensure the information is still relevant.
What do I do about social distancing when evacuating a building?
If you have to evacuate a building because of a fire alarm, you should leave in a calm fashion, observing the rules on social distancing as you do so. Our buildings are designed to hold back the effects of fire and smoke, ensuring all building users are able to leave the building safely. The fire assembly points throughout the College campuses should continue to be used and the rules on social distancing should also be observed here.
Can I prop doors open to avoid multiple touching of handles?
Can I ignore one way systems in an emergency?
Yes. One-way systems are designed for normal access and egress into and within a building, to ensure social distancing is maintained. During a fire alarm, you should make their way to the nearest safe exit, regardless of the one-way system, observing the rules on social distancing as you do so.
Should I do anything else in the event of a fire alarm?
If it is safe to do so, you may wish to contact security via your mobile phone whilst evacuating. This will inform them that people are evacuating the building where the fire alarm is actuating. Remember, not all buildings are being occupied at this present time.
What do fire wardens do?
Fire wardens play a key role in assisting building users to evacuate safely. Fire wardens are volunteers who, without putting themselves in danger, ensure the area they are responsible for is evacuated safely. You should always follow the advice of the fire warden in your area during an evacuation.
Can I become a fire warden?
The fire safety team have developed a strategy to train and update Fire Wardens with the information they need to safely fulfil their role. The fire warden training provided by the fire safety team has been adapted and is now being delivered via MS Teams. In addition, the team are available to deliver bespoke fire safety training as part of any phased return to work programme. We would encourage staff to volunteer. Find out more about Fire Warden training and Fire Prevention and Fire Safety at Work training.
How can I prevent unnecessary fire alarms?
The fire safety team ask you to ensure outer doors to changing/shower rooms are kept closed, as steam may activate the fire alarm, causing an inconvenience for all building users.
Is it safe to leave hand sanitiser in my car?
Hand sanitizer with 70% alcohol has a flash point of 21°C. Although alcoholic hand sanitisers are potentially flammable, there would need to be a spark to start a fire at temperatures this low. The flammable ingredients in hand sanitiser would need to be at much higher temperatures, over 350°C, to combust without a spark. To be safe, you should store them out of the heat and away from open flames and hot surfaces.
How do I contact security on campus?
Safezone is the College's mobile app that allows all students and staff to alert, contact and directly speak to the Security team in the event of an emergency.
If you or someone else ever need assistance in an emergency, simply tap the alert button and the Security Control Room will be immediately notified and your location will be shared with them. Find out more about the app
You can also contact the security team by phone.
What arrangements are there for COVID-19 related signage, including directional signage across buildings?
Can we use the lifts?
What arrangement is been made for the general ventilation system?
Information from the HSE indicates the risk of air conditioning spreading COVID-19 in the workplace is extremely low as long as there is an adequate supply of fresh air and ventilation. Where the system allows, the College’s ventilation systems have been set to supply fresh air as opposed to a mixture of fresh and recirculating air.
Does laboratory ventilation with fume cupboards, containment laboratories or Central Biomedical Science(CBS) operate continuously through the weekend?
The laboratory ventilation system operates continuously and supplies fresh air which is extracted to the atmosphere.
Is the domestic water service safe to use?
Both hot and cold water services are maintained in accordance to HSE ACoP on Legionnaires. For further information, please refer to the statutory compliance page.
Who is responsible for flushing a seldom used outlet?
Maintenance are undertaking weekly flushing of outlets that are under their control i.e. in communal areas. The Faculty are responsible for the flushing of outlets within their space.
What procedures are in place for domestic water services in the Halls of Residence and Sport Imperial?
The unused water outlets are flushed weekly by hall management and Sport Imperial at Ethos and Harlington sports ground.
What does the enhance cleaning scope involve?
Priority will be given to all touch points eg lift buttons, door handles, bannister rails etc. As a consequence, floors will be cleaned less frequently.
Will there be deep cleaning before occupation?
A number of buildings were being cleaned as we went into lockdown so areas should already be clean with the exception that some dust will have settled; this will easily be removed once cleaning resumes.
How will cleaning operate including deep cleaning arrangements and are there changes to pre-lockdown rota?
Periodic cleaning arrangements are yet to be reviewed; but can be requested where there is justification.
Has cleaning been reinstated to all areas?
What provision have been made for sanitisers and how they are replenished?
Who will be providing sanitising equipment (hand sanitisers/anti-viral sprays/wipes)?
Your department should provide cleaning wipes or equivalent for sanitising printer/copiers, coffee machines, kettles, fridge handles and microwave oven touch points and other hard surfaces. Cleaning should be encouraged both before and after use. Display signage encouraging these good hygiene practices.
How do we replenish the return to work Welcome Packs?
Those returning to work will be provided a Welcome Pack containing face coverings and cleaning essentials (surface wipes and hand sanitiser). It is your departments responsibility to replenish them.
Has the frequency of cleaning areas changed?
The core cleaning hours remain the same (06:00-09:00 in Academic buildings and 10:00-13:00 in Residences). Janitors have amended duties and are cleaning key touch points throughout the day.
How should we dispose our used face coverings?
Are we still using hand dryers or will paper towels be provided?
The College is complying with Government and World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations and are maintaining the use of handryers; hand towels will not be provided as an alternative.