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Emergency Guide Fire

Table of Contents

Part II: Natural Disasters and Public Emergencies


Fire is the most common and deadliest of emergencies. Each year, more than 4,000 Americans die and more than 25,000 are injured in fires, many of which are preventable. Direct property loss due to fires is estimated at $8.6 billion annually. Understanding a 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 the 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 it.  Never use the palm of the hand or fingers as they can be burnt 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
  • Close doors after escaping through them – this helps delay the spread of the fire
  • Do not use the elevator
  • Once safely out stay out – do not re-enter
  • 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, the following areas should be used to meet:
  • Residence Halls occupants should meet in the nearest safe residence hall
  • Occupants in non-residential buildings should meet outdoors on the upwind (usually west) 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 will be notified at the scene
Additional Information  is available on the following website: The National Fire Protection Association