Policy 4204 – Fire Safety, Including Life Safety Standards

Revision Date: 11/1/2011

Responsible Office: Environmental Health And Safety


Smoking Material- Carelessness with cigarettes, matches, etc., accounts for the greatest number of residence hall fires. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES IS SMOKING PERMITTED IN ANY UNIVERISTY BUILDINGS.

Flame- Candles can be dangerous.  Leaving them burning unattended or too close to combustible materials can lead to fires.  Candles are not allowed in any residence hall.

Decorations- Some decorations ignite easily and allow a fire to spread rapidly.  These include holiday decorations, large posters, filmy curtains, and flammables tacked to the ceiling. Make sure all electrical devices, including lighting and extension cords are UL-approved

Trash– The accumulation of trash, boxes, papers and other items that are slated for disposal, especially in corridors and stairwells, are a fire hazard.  Report such accumulations to a Budget Unit Head or Resident Assistant.

Flammable Liquids- Common materials like paint, paint remover, hair spray, duplicator fluid, and thinner can be fire hazards. Many chemicals which are used in University laboratories and by personnel in the Physical Plant are also flammable. University personnel must examine the labels on the containers or the MSDS for the chemical to determine safe storage and handling procedures.

Appliances- Careless use of heat-producing appliances can start fires.  Especially hazardous are:

  • Hot plates left on, unattended, or with grease build up on coils.
  • Electric blankets left on when resident is not in bed.
  • Irons left on, lying down, unattended, or used on a bed.
  • Toaster ovens left on, with accumulated grease, or unattended.
  • Hair dryers laid down while they are on or used to dry clothes.
  • Portable space heaters placed near combustibles like curtains or used to dry clothes.
  • Certain tools and equipment used in laboratories and other areas.

Arson- Setting fires on purpose is the leading cause of campus fires.  Arson is a serious crime that can result in unnecessary deaths.

False Alarms- False alarms are also a hazard.  They create a mood of apathy so you may not react quickly enough to save your life if there is a real fire.  And if fire fighters are called out on a false alarm, they will not be available to fight a real fire.

FIRE SAFETY FEATURES– The following are some of the fire safety features at the University.


Emergency numbers shall be clearly posted on or next to phones or on bulletin boards, etc., for quick dialing.

In the event of fire or other emergency, call 9+911.  If injury is involved, tell the operator; they will alert EMS.


Fire extinguishers are designed to fight small fires.

  • Find out where they are located and what kind of fires they are designed to fight.
  • Learn in advance how to operate them properly.
  • Do not block access to extinguishers.
  • Report all extinguishers that are missing, damaged, or have been discharged.
  • Do not empty fire extinguishers as a prank.

Extinguishers mounted in cabinets, wall recesses, or brackets shall be placed in such a manner that the operating instructions shall face outward.  Extinguishers shall not be obstructed or obscured from view, and cabinets housing extinguishers shall not be locked.

The Physical Plant is responsible for periodically checked and/or maintained, tagged, and dated.

Fire extinguishers come in various shapes, sizes, colors, and types.  They shall only be used on the type of fire for which they are rated.  Before an emergency arises, it is recommended that all employees/students read and understand the directions of the fire extinguisher(s) in their area.

A WATER extinguisher is designated by an “A” inside a GREEN TRIANGLE on the label and is easily recognized by its silver container.  This extinguisher is only to be used on Class A type fires.  CAUTION:  Do not use on electrical fires.

A CO2 extinguisher is designated by a “B” in a RED SQUARE and a “C” in a BLUE CIRCLE on the label and is easily recognized by the large black discharge horn.  This type of extinguisher is only to be used on Class B and/or C type fires.  CAUTION:  Do not use in a confined space.

MULTI-PURPOSE and ORDINARY DRY CHEMICAL extinguishers are designated by: an “A” inside a GREEN TRIANGLE, a “B” inside a RED SQUARE, and a “C” inside a BLUE CIRCLE on the label respectively.  These types of extinguishers are only to be used on Class B and/or C type fires, while multi-purpose dry chemical can also be used on Class A type fires.  CAUTION:  Respiratory irritant, if inhaled

HALON 1211 extinguishers are labeled by the same designations as a multi-purpose dry chemical extinguisher, “ABC.”  Halon is usually packaged in a red container similar to a dry chemical extinguisher, but it is usually not recognizable until the label is read.  This extinguisher is for use on Class A, B, and C type fires.  CAUTION:  Do not use in a confined space. NOTE: A Halon 1211 or CO2 fire extinguisher is recommended for use in computer rooms or in areas where electronic equipment is located.  Dry chemical and water extinguishers are not.

A COMBUSTIBLE METAL fire extinguisher is designated by a “D” inside a YELLOW STAR on the label.  This extinguisher is only for use on Class D type fires.

HOW TO USE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER:-The method described below is a standard application for how to use a fire extinguisher; however, it is highly recommended that all employees/students read and understand the directions on the fire extinguisher(s) in their area

To use extinguisher, remember P A S S.

Pull the pin.  (Some may require pressing a puncture lever or releasing a lock hatch.)

Aim the extinguisher nozzle or cone at the base of the fire.

Squeeze or press the handle.

Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire until it appears to be out.  With a water extinguisher, place your finger over the nozzle to create a mist.  Stop the extinguisher, check the fire area, and (if necessary) continue your extinguishment efforts.  Always back away from a fire so you will not be caught.


Activation of the protective system shall occur by any or all of the following means but not limited thereto:

  • Manual fire alarm initiation
  • Automatic heat detection
  • Automatic smoke detection
  • Extinguishing system operations

Each manual fire alarm station of a system shall be accessible, unobstructed, visible, and of the same general type.

Audible alarm indicating devices shall be of such character and so distributed as to be effectively heard above the ambient noise level obtained under normal conditions of occupancy.

The fire alarm and heat/smoke detection system shall be tested periodically and the results of the test recorded. The general evacuation alarm shall operate throughout the entire building.

Each employee shall:

  • Know where alarms are located and learn how to activate them.
  • Alert as many people in the building as possible and evacuate the building when you hear a fire alarm.


Smoke detectors usually alert while there is still time to escape.  Remember, smoke is the greatest danger in a fire.

  • Check their location near your room.
  • Do not hang things over them or cover them up.
  • Test regularly, if authorized to do so.


Sprinkler Systems are designed to fight fires that have become too large to handle with a fire extinguisher.  If a Sprinkler System becomes activated, evacuate the building and notify Campus Police.


Exits shall be so located and exit access shall be so arranged that exits are readily accessible at all times.  Where exits are not immediately accessible from an open floor area, safe and continuous passageways, aisles or corridors shall be maintained leading directly to every exit and shall be so arranged as to provide convenient access for each occupant to at least two exits by separate ways of travel.

In no case shall access to an exit be through kitchens, store-rooms, restrooms, closets, bedrooms, or similar spaces or other rooms subject to locking (above does not apply specifically to dwelling or some apartments–contact Environmental Health and Safety Department for clarification).

Ways of exit access and the doors to the exits to which they lead shall be clearly recognizable.  Hangings or draperies shall not be placed over exit doors or otherwise located so as to conceal or obscure any exit.  Mirrors shall not be placed on exit doors.  Mirrors shall not be placed so as to confuse the direction of exit.

Exit Signs

Every required sign designating an exit or way of exit access shall be so located and of such size, distinctive color, and design as to be readily visible and shall provide contrast with decorations, furnishings, or equipment which impair visibility of an exit sign.  There shall not be any brightly illuminated sign, display, or objects in or near the line of vision to the required exit sign of such a character as to detract attention from the exit sign.

Every exit sign shall be suitably illuminated by a reliable light source.  Externally and internally, illuminated signs shall be visible in the normal and emergency lighting mode.

A sign reading “EXIT” or similar designation with an arrow indicating the direction of the nearest approved exit shall be placed in every location where the direction of travel to reach the nearest exit is not immediately apparent.

Fire Exits

  • Know how to find them, even if it is dark and smoky.
  • Do not use them as porches or balconies and keep them free of obstructions such as plants, bicycles, storage boxes, etc.

Panic Hardware for Required Exits

Panic hardware consists of a door latching assembly incorporating device which releases the latch upon the application of a force in the direction of exit travel.  Only approved panic hardware shall be used.

Panic hardware shall not be equipped with any locking or dogging device, set screw, or other arrangement that can be used to prevent the release of the latch when pressure is applied to release bar.

Fire Doors

Fire doors prevent fire and smoke from spreading and provide a safe escape route. You must keep fire doors closed at all times, except that doors with automatic (sentronic) closers should remain open–they will close by themselves in the event of fire.

  • Report any that need repair or have been propped open.
  • Do not block access to fire doors.

Locking or Obstructing Exits and Passageways

A door shall be so arranged as to be readily opened from the side from which egress is to be made at all times when the building served thereby is occupied.  A latch or other fastening device on a door shall be provided with a knob, handle, panic bar, or other simple type of releasing device; the method of operation shall be obvious even in darkness.

The minimum width of any corridor shall be 44 inches in the clear.  (Passageways, doors, and exits shall be free from obstructions


Illumination of means of egress shall be continuous during the time that the conditions of occupancy require that the means of egress be available for use.  Artificial lighting shall be employed at such places and for such periods of time required to maintain the illumination.  For the purposes of this requirement, exit access shall include only designated stairs, aisles, corridors, ramps, escalators, and passageways leading to an exit.

NOTE:  Test dates and results of emergency lights, alarm systems, and sprinkler systems can be obtained from Physical Plant


Evacuation diagrams shall be placed by the Physical Plant on each floor on bulletin boards or areas where persons gather.  Diagrams shall indicate where those individuals are and the safest and most direct route out of the building.

Periodic inspection of large assembly areas and unusual structures such as stadium press box, air supported structures, or tents shall be performed by the department heads in those areas..


Any new construction, alteration, addition, or renovation plans for state buildings shall be endorsed by the rules and regulations promulgated by Facility Planning and Control. Additionally, the plans shall be reviewed by the State Fire Marshal to assure compliance with the National Fire Protection Association Life Safety Code 101 among other codes, local or otherwise. Logically, such plans would be reviewed by the Environmental Health and Safety Department prior to submission to the State Fire Marshal. Experience has taught us that we shall inspect for those code requirements that can be reasonably controlled by the building coordinator and/or Physical Plant personnel. Areas of considerable concern include:  exits and means of egress, panic hardware, locking or obstructing exits and passageways, exit signs and exit ways, fire alarms, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, sprinkler systems, housekeeping, and evacuation diagrams.


Follow all campus rules and take the following precautions: 




  • Store trash away from heat.
  • Empty wastebaskets often.
  • Keep exits clear of possessions and trash at all times.
  • Store combustibles away from heat.
  • Store flammable liquids (including paint and remover) in proper metal containers. Store aerosols properly.  Store all in approved area, never inside your room or building.

Appliance Use

  • Use appliances according to instructions.
  • Do not leave heat-producing appliances unattended. Unplug them when not in use, and let them cool before storing.  Do not cover ventilation openings on TVs, stereos, and radios.
  • Unplug all appliances before leaving on vacations.
  • Check appliances for damaged cords and circuits. Have faulty appliances repaired or discard them.
  • Do not overload circuits by plugging too many appliances into one outlet. Use heavy duty UL approved extension cords to increase cord length, not to plug in more appliances.
  • Do not use hot plates, grills, or other appliances in your dormitory if they are prohibited.

Other Precautions

  • Decorate for holidays or parties with flame-retardant or noncombustible materials. Remove them before leaving for holidays.  Use artificial Christmas trees.  Check lights for damaged wires and loose connections.  Unplug lights before leaving the room
  • Never store motorcycles, mopeds, or gas cans indoors. Any spark–even from turning on a light–can ignite gas vapors.
  • Use grills and hibachis only where permitted–never indoors, on fire escapes, in stairways, or in your dormitory. Do not leave them unattended while fire is burning.
  • Do not tamper with emergency equipment. Leave extinguishers and alarms alone except in a fire emergency.  Never disconnect a smoke detector.
  • Report damaged or missing extinguishers, alarms, smoke detectors, or exit signs to a resident assistant or to Physical Plant.
  • Make a plan. Think about how you would exit from different areas of your residence hall/classroom building.
  • Decide on at least two exits (primary and alternate) from your room, classroom, etc.
  • Count and remember the number of doors between the room and the exits.
  • Take special note of the location of safety equipment and of exits in other buildings.
  • Have an outside meeting place to get a head count.


Storage of flammable materials shall be made in fireproof containers.  State buildings and public places of assembly shall be regularly policed to clean up and place in fireproof containers all flammable materials; and all places of storage shall be arranged and maintained in such a manner that exit from said places and access to said places for the purpose of fire-fighting is not in any way impeded.  Flammable materials include, but are not limited to paper, cigarettes, food wrappings, cardboard containers for paper, and office supplies. NOTE:         None of the above, nor gasoline, paint, or other flammable liquids shall be stored under stairwells or in halls, aisles, corridors, or passageways.  A comprehensive discussion of chemical hygiene is located in the “Chemical Safety” part of this Safety Plan and in the “Laboratory Safety Manual.


Fire and smoke drills are very important, especially in residence halls/classroom buildings.  If you know what to do, you are less likely to panic.  (Some drills may be held at night to practice escaping in the dark.) Take fire drills seriously; they may save your life. Follow directions of the person in charge.

Fire drills may consist of a “live” drill in which building occupants must vacate a building to a safe haven in the same way that they would in the case of a fire. Occasionally, the drill may be a “mock” drill, in which building must state what they should do in case of fire, including indicating the “safe haven” to which they should evacuate to in case of fire The designated safe havens for university building are:


A.E. Phillips Lab School-  Grassy area north of IfM

Adams Hall – Grassy area south of building

Aillet Field House-  Parking lot on south side

Alumni Center – Lambright Parking lot

Aswell Hall – Grassy area on east side

Band Building-  Parking lot on west side

Biomedical Engineering-  Parking lot on east side

Bogard Hall-  Grassy area behind Keeny Hall

Carson-Taylor Hall-  Grassy area on SE side

Caruthers Hall-  Parking lot on south side

College of Business-  Aspire sculpture

Cottingham Hall-  Parking lot on south side

Dudley Hall-  Grassy area on east side

Early Childhood Education Center-  Parking lot on north side

Engineering Annex-  Grassy area on south side

Graham Hall-  Parking lot on south side

Hale Hall-  Parking lot on west side

Harper Hall – Parking lot on south side

Harris Hall-  Parking lot on north side

Howard Auditorium-  Quad area on north side

Hutcheson Hall-  Parking lot on east side

Jenkins-McFarland Hall-  Parking lot on north side

Keeny Hall-  Grassy area on east side

Lambright Intramural Center-  Parking lot on west side

Lomax Hall-  Parking lot on north side

Madison Hall-  Parking lot on east side

Memorial Gym-  Parking lot on east side

Mitchell Hall-  Parking lot on north side

Pearce-  Hall Grassy area on north side

Physical Plant-  Parking lot on south side

Power Plant-  Parking lot on south side

Prescott Library-  Quad area on south side

Printing Services-  Parking lot on south side

Reese Hall-  Parking lot on north side

Richardson-  Hall Parking lot on south side

Robinson Hall-  Parking lot on west side

South Hall-  Parking lot on north side

Student Center/Bookstore-  Quad area on NE side

Thomas Assembly Center-  Parking lot on east side

Tolliver Hall-  Plaza area on east side

Woodard Hall & Education Lab-  Parking lot on north side

Wyly Tower of Learning-  Quad area on south


STEP 1.            Stay calm.  Think out what you have to do, then act because every second counts.

STEP 2.            Sound alarm to warn others.  Pull the alarm box.  If there is none, shout and pound on doors as you evacuate.  Never ignore an alarm.  (In buildings equipped with smoke detector systems, the alarm will sound automatically–if it doesn’t, pull the alarm!)

STEP 3.            Call  9 + 911 and:

  • Give full location clearly.
  • Describe extent of fire.
  • Answer any questions before you hang up.

STEP 4.            If you are in your room when you hear an alarm, feel the door, from bottom to top (heat rises).  If it is hot, don’t open it.  Stay in your room.  If it is cool, open it a crack–but be ready to slam it shut if you find smoke or flames.  Leave if corridor seems safe.

STEP 5.            If you can exit:

  • Take your key and walk to nearest exit if there is no smoke. If there is smoke or if it is dark, crawl to exit, counting doors so you don’t get lost.
  • Close all doors behind you.
  • Do not use elevators–they are deathtraps in a fire. Use the stairs; hold on to rail.
  • Turn back if you encounter heavy smoke (it is deadly) and look for another exit.
  • Stand clear of the building and out of the way of the fire fighters when you get outside. Never go back into a burning building for any reason.  Report to your meeting place.

STEP 6.            If you are trapped in your room:

  • Keep your door closed.
  • Seal cracks around door with tape, clothes, sheets, etc.
  • Open windows slightly, if there is no smoke outside. Open at top (to vent smoke) or at bottom (to let in fresh air).
  • Tie wet cloth over nose and mouth to aid breathing.
  • Stay low, where air is fresher (smoke rises).
  • Signal rescuers by waving a sheet or clothing out the window, or telephone for help.
  • Do not jump if you are higher than two stories.

STEP 7.            If clothing catches fire–Stop, Drop, and Roll!

  • Do not run–it will fan the flames. Drop to the floor and roll out fire.
  • Drop and roll someone else on the ground. Use a rug, coat or blanket to smother flames.
  • Cool the burn with cold water. Get prompt medical attention.