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Fires

  1. Fire Procedures
  2. Fire Prevention Tips

Fire Procedures

If you see or receive a report of visible smoke or fire in the building:
  • Activate the nearest alarm box and/or dial 911 to report the situation.
  • Remove people from the affected area if necessary and if possible.
  • Close doors and windows. Do not lock. If possible, mark "FIRE" on the door where the fire is located.
  • Leave by the nearest marked exit and alert others to do the same.
  • Only use fire extinguishers if you have been trained to do so, on small fires only (for example, a wastebasket fire), and if it is safe to do so. Make sure that you are between the fire and the nearest exit and have a clear path to the exit. Try to work with another person.
When the building evacuation alarm is sounded, an emergency exists:
  • Never assume that it is a false alarm! Walk quickly to the nearest marked exit and alert others to do the same. Gather only essential personal belongings (coat, purse, etc.).
  • Do not use the elevators.
  • When leaving a room after a fire alarm, feel the door first. If the door is cool to the touch, exit carefully. If it is hot, stay where you are, seal the door, and post a sign in the window to signal your location. NEVER enter a room where there is fire or smoke.
  • If you encounter smoke, crouch near the floor as you exit. If possible, breathe through a dampened cloth. Smoke is the greatest danger in a fire, so stay near the floor where air will be less toxic.
  • Assist the disabled in exiting the building.
  • Once outside, move to a clear area at least 500 feet away from the affected building. Keep streets, fire lanes, hydrants, and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and crews.
  • Keep clear of the Command Post and all emergency vehicles.
  • Do not return to an evacuated building unless told to do so by the Fire Department or other official.
If you are trapped inside a building that has been evacuated:
  • Do not panic! Call 911 to alert emergency responders to your location.
  • Place an article of clothing (shirt, coat, etc.) outside the window and/or underneath a door as a marker for rescue crews.
  • If smoke is present, move toward the window and open it unless there is thick smoke and/or flames near it. If there is no window, and/or smoke is present, close or cover any openings under the door or walls to prevent smoke spread.
  • Stay near the floor where the air will be less toxic.
  • Shout at regular intervals to alert emergency crews as to your location.
If clothing is on fire:
  • Drop to the ground or floor and roll to smother flames.
  • Smother flames with a blanket or other suitable object.
  • Drench with water from a safety shower or other source.
  • Seek medical attention for all burns and injuries.

Fire Prevention Tips

It's easier to prevent a fire than it is to extinguish or escape from one:

  • Know the location of fire extinguishers, fire exits, and alarm systems in your area and how to use them.
  • Keep aisles and hallways clear and accessible. Don't block doorways.
  • Keep equipment such as fire extinguishers, electrical panels, detectors, pull stations and automatic fire sprinklers clear at all times. Sprinklers require at least 18 inches of clearance and electrical panels require at least 36 inches of clearance.
  • Never tamper with life safety devices such as sprinklers, detectors, and fire extinguishers. It is a violation of state law to do so.
  • Avoid the use of extension cords. Use only surge protected, UL-listed power strips and plug them directly into wall outlets.
  • Plug major appliances directly into wall outlets.
  • Check electrical cords frequently for damage and replace if worn or damaged. Avoid running cords underneath rugs or traffic areas to avoid damage.
  • Store combustibles away from all heat sources such as heaters, stoves, ovens, etc.
  • Store flammable liquids in designated cabinets.
  • Avoid the use of space heaters. When allowed on campus by facilities, space heaters must be electrical only, with no open flame, and must have an automatic shut-off feature when tipped over.
  • Keep grills at least 10 feet away from all buildings, including building overhangs, porches, and balconies.
  • Smoke in designated spaces only and use designated receptacles for cigarette disposal.
  • Any outside fire on campus or off, including campfires and portable outdoor fireplaces, requires a fire permit. Contact your local fire department to obtain a permit.
◔ Emergency Handbook – Page 5 of 12

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About this Policy

Ownership: Environmental Health and Safety; Campus Safety
Last Revised: September 22, 2009
Categories: Safety
For questions regarding this policy, please contact the policy owner.