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A continuous emphasis is placed on fire prevention. However, when prevention fails, we must be prepared for evacuation to assure survival. A clear understanding of the characteristics of fire and smoke is essential for escape in a fire situation.

Take note that ceiling-level temperatures are hottest. Oxygen is burned at high levels first, so air is available on the floor. Smoke that is produced banks down to knee level and hovers there even in serious fires. If you remain in a prone position or crawl, you will likely be able to breath and even see across the floor to a fire exit or area of safety.

Steps to Follow

Before a fire occurs

  • Before a fire occurs, know at least two exits other than the elevators.
  • Know how to use a fire extinguisher.
  • Know the designated assembly area outside the building where your department or group will meet.
  • Know the location and operation of the fire alarm system.

In the event of a fire

If you see an active fire, pull the nearest fire alarm as quickly as possible. If the fire alarm system fails, three short blasts of an air horn will be used as the backup alarm.

  • Evacuate the building immediately and proceed to designated assembly area outside the building.
  • If you are in a room and a fire alarm sounds, feel the door from top to bottom for heat before opening.
  • Brace yourself behind the door and open it slowly to determine if the environment is safe to exit.
  • If it is safe, enter the hallway and make your way to the nearest exit. Do not use elevators.
  • If it isn’t favorable for you to exit your room, pack your doorframe with wet towels, sheets, whatever you have to retard smoke from entering your room. Keep a towel to your face as well.
  • Stay close to the floor. Proceed to your window and open.
  • Let everyone within hearing distance know that you are trapped. Yell, wave a towel outside but most of all stay near the window.
  • Stop, drop and roll, if your clothes catch fire.
  • Use cool tap water immediately on burns. Don’t use ointment.
  • Take a building or area head count.
  • Report any hazardous chemicals or materials that may be in a building that is on fire.
  • Remain outside the building until an all-clear signal is given by Public Safety and Residence Life and Housing.