What to Do in an Emergency

Approximately 1800 documented fires occur on university campuses in the United States each year.


  • Cooking
  • Arson
  • Candles
  • Smoking Materials
  • Electrical
  • Alcohol-impaired judgment


  • Own a fire extinguisher
  • Test smoke alarms
  • Keep sprinklers unobstructed
  • Keep exists, extinguishers, alarms available and clear
  • Report fire hazards
  • Know that fire is fast!!

During a Fire

Quickly exit the area and close the doors as you leave to stop the spread of fire.

Always check doors with the back of your hand before opening them - If a door is hot, DO NOT OPEN IT as there is a fire and toxic smoke on the other side.  If a door is cool, carefully open it and proceed to the closest exit, staying low to the floor.

If you cannot use the door, stuff towels and/or clothing under it to keep smoke out and call 911to notify the Fire Deparmtent of the fire and your location.

Use the closest stairwell and never use an elevator.  If the closest stairway has smoke in it, close the door leading to it and find another way out.

Use a pull station to activate the building's fire alarm and alert others as you leave the building.  Once outside, call 911 and ensure that the Fire Department is aware of the fire.  Never go back inside the building to retrieve belongings - they can be replaced but you cannot.

Know How to Get Out

Pay attention to your surroundings - your life may depend on being able to get out through an exit other than the one used to enter the room.  Do not wait for an emergency since there may not be enought time to find another way out.

In public and private places, always look for at least two ways out (including windows).

Clear escape routes in your room.

Avoid placing objects in front of doors or windows.

Never paint or nail windows shut preventing them from being used as an exit.

Fighting a Fire

Call 911 or activate the fire alarm before attempting to put out a fire with a fire extinguisher.

If the fire is small and you have been trained in the use of a fire extinguisher, you may chose to attempt to put the fire out after calling 911.  By calling 911 first, the fire department will already be on the way should the fire grow beyond your capabilities.

Fire extinguishers are place throughout campus for use during fires.  Know where your nearest fire extinguisher is located.  To use an extinguisher, follow these steps:

NEVER let the fire get between you and the way out.  Always keep yourself between the fire and the doorway for a quick escape.

Remember P A S S for the proper technique:

  • P ull the safety pin at the top of the extinguisher.
  • A im the nozzle, horn or hose at the base of the flames.
  • S queeze the handle of the extinguisher.
  • S weep the nozzle slowly from side to side starting at the base of the fire and covering it until it goes out.

Watch carefully to make sure it does not reignite.

If the fire is large or one extinguisher was not enough, leave the area immediately shutting the door behind you.

Tampering with Fire Safety Equipment

Fire safety is an important life safety issue and tampering with any fire safety equipment or activating fire alarms as a joke are very serious violations and are handled in a very serious manner.  Tampering with fire equipment is a misdemeanor punishable with a fine not exceeding $1000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year.  A person found tampering with fire emergency equipment or who refuses to vacate a building during a fire alarm may be referred to the fire and/or police department for prosecution.  The person(s) will also be referred to the College Judicial System.