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Fire is the most common and deadliest of emergencies. Understanding few basic facts about fires and taking some simple, yet effective, precautions is essential to preventing and surviving a fire emergency. Fire spreads quickly. Within two minutes a fire can become life threatening. Get out immediately.

Threats from Fire

Fire produces many deadly effects in addition to flames. These include:

  • Heat
  • Smoke
  • Poisonous gasses
  • Structure collapse
  • Oxygen depletion
  • Explosion

Fire Prevention and Preparation

The following is a list of simple and effective precautions to prevent fires and, in the event of a fire, protect one’s self, roommates, fellow employees, and property.

  • Never tamper with installed smoke alarms
  • Never leave cooking food unattended
  • Identify escape routes and practice using them during University fire drills
  • Avoid the accumulation of newspapers, magazines and other flammables
  • Never use gasoline, benzene, naphtha, or similar flammable liquids indoors
  • Inspect extension cords for frayed or exposed wires and loose plugs
  • Make sure wiring does not run under rugs, over nails, or across high traffic areas
  • Do not overload extension cords or outlets – use UL-approved power strips with built-in circuit breakers

During a Fire

If clothes catch on fire: STOP - DROP - and ROLL

  • Stop running or walking - running makes the fire burn faster
  • Drop to the ground or floor
  • Roll until the fire is extinguished

To escape a fire:

  • Crawl low under any smoke to exit - heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling
  • Check closed doors for heat before opening them
    • Use the back of the hand to feel the top of the door, the doorknob, and the crack between the door and the door frame before opening them never use the palm of the hand or fingers as they can be burn impeding the ability to escape.
    • If the door is cool, open it slowly and, if clear, escape through it shutting the door behind. Closing the door helps contain the fire and reduces the oxygen available to sustain it.
    • If the door is hot, do not open it - choose another door or escape through a window.
  • Do not use the elevator
  • Once safely out stay out - do not re-enter
  • Call the University Police Department at 688-5117 or 111 (from an on campus phone), or if residing off campus, call 911.

If escape is not possible, hang a white or light-colored sheet out the window alerting firefighters to your presence.

Designated Meeting Place

During a building fire, firefighters must determine as soon as possible whether or not all occupants have escaped. If not, they will attempt a rescue placing themselves at great risk of serious injury. Therefore, it is important to account for all individuals and for each person to report to a designated meeting area. If a meeting area has not been designated, meet outdoors on the upwind side of the building. The meeting place should be at a safe distance and clear of emergency responders, their vehicles, and equipment. If another location is designated, building evacuees should be notified at the scene.