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Emergency Procedures


Building Evacuation and Fire Emergencies

Fire Emergency Response

If you discover a fire:

  • Alert people in the area of the need to evacuate
  • Activate the nearest fire alarm
  • Call Public Safety at 911

If a building fire alarm is sounding or you receive notification of a fire emergency:

  • Feel the door or doorknob to the hallway with the back of your hand. If it feels hot, do not open it – the fire may be on the other side of the door. If you are trapped, put a cloth or towel under the door to help prevent the entry of smoke. Dial 911 and tell the Public Safety dispatcher your location and telephone extension and that you are trapped in the room and need rescue. Stay on the phone until instructed otherwise.
  • If the door is not hot, open it slowly. If the hallway is clear of smoke, walk to the nearest fire exit and evacuate via the nearest stairwell to the street/grade level exit.
  • Close doors behind you.
  • Do not attempt to use elevators. Elevators are tied to the fire detection system and are not available to occupants once the alarm sounds.
  • Assemble at the area designated in your departmental Emergency Action Plan and remain there until instructed by Public Safety or the fire department that it is safe to re-enter the building.

If you have been trained to use a fire extinguisher

Only trained personnel may use fire extinguishers. Small fires can be extinguished without evacuation, but you much constantly evaluate and be ready to evacuate if the fire cannot be controlled. NEVER ENTER A SMOKE-FILLED ROOM.

  • Alert people in the area.
  • Activate the fire alarm.
  • Smother the fire or use the correct fire extinguisher. Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  • Maintain an accessible exit.
  • Avoid smoke and fumes.
  • Remain available to answer questions from Public Safety, EHS or the fire department.
  • Contact Building Services at 258-3490 to replace the fire extinguisher.
  • Report all fires to your supervisor and Public Safety.

Fire Emergencies and Emergency Action Planning (top)

Potential emergencies in University buildings may require the occupants to evacuate the building. The following information and procedures have been designed to help ensure your personal safety, should an evacuation become necessary.

University Fire Emergency Policy and Procedure

In case of a fire emergency (defined as (1) an uncontrolled fire or imminent fire hazard, (2) the presence of smoke or the odor of burning, (3) the uncontrolled release of a flammable or combustible substance, or (4) a fire alarm sounding), Public Safety must be notified immediately at 911. Public Safety has primary responsibility for managing fire emergencies and summoning outside assistance when necessary. Unauthorized re-entry into a building during a fire emergency is not permitted. Violators of this policy are subject to University and state fire code sanctions.

Each University Department must designate an Emergency Coordinator responsible for developing and maintaining a departmental Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and training employees on all elements of the plan as well as any special duties assigned specific individuals. During a fire emergency, only individuals designated in the EAP may remain in the building to fulfill their responsibilities. All other occupants must immediately evacuate the building in accordance with the departmental emergency action plan.

Building occupants are not required to fight fires. Individuals who have been trained in the proper use of a fire extinguisher and are confident in their ability to cope with the hazards of a fire may use a portable fire extinguisher to fight small, incipient stage fires (no larger than a waste paper basket). Fire fighting efforts must be terminated when it becomes obvious that there is risk of harm from smoke, heat or flames.

Emergency Action Plan

Each building on campus has an Emergency Action Plan. Information specific to each plan includes:

Emergency Coordinator: Each University building has an appointed emergency coordinator. The Emergency Coordinator is the first point of contact for questions about the emergency procedures and the emergency action plan. A list of department emergency coordinators is available.

Fire Protection Systems: Each plan has a description of the fire alarm, if equipped, and any fire suppression systems.

Evacuation Procedures: After occupants have left the building via the nearest stairwell or street grade exit, they should go to the designated assembly point established in their building's plan. At the assembly point, supervisors will account for personnel and notify the Emergency Coordinator or Public Safety if any personnel are missing.

During an emergency, students and visitors who may not be familiar with this plan must be informed of the requirement to evacuate. Special attention should also be given to any persons with disabilities, especially those who are visitors or unfamiliar with the building.

Additional Duties: Additional duties may be required for assistance during an evacuation or the shut-down of special processes or equipment.

Training: Each department is responsible for training its employees on all elements of its emergency action plan. New employees must receive training when first
assigned to the department. Additional training is necessary when an employee's required actions under the plan change, or when there are changes to the plan.
Additional training assistance is available from Environmental Health and Safety (EHS).

Additional Information: Additional information on emergency action planning can be found in the Princeton University Health & Safety Guide , on the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) web page , or by contacting Kelly States, Health & Safety Specialist (8-2648) or the University Fire Marshall (extension 8-6805).

Fire Extinguishers (top)

The use of fire extinguishers must conform to the following guidelines which are specified by the OSHA standard (29 CFR 1910.157);

  1. Portable fire extinguishers suitable to the conditions and hazards involved shall be provided and maintained in an effective operating condition.
  2. Portable fire extinguishers shall be conspicuously located and mounted where they will be readily accessible. Extinguishers shall not be obstructed or obscured from view.
  3. Portable fire extinguishers shall be given maintenance service at least once a year and a written record shall be maintained. Building Services is responsible for obtaining annual maintenance for the extinguishers.
  4. Monthly inspections which entail visually inspecting for broken seals, damage, and low gauge pressure, depending on type of extinguisher, are performed by Building Services personnel. A tag affixed to the extinguisher is initialed by the inspector after each inspection.
  5. Employees designated to fight fires must receive training in the general principles of fire extinguisher use and the hazards involved with initial stage fire fighting.

Fire Prevention (top)

  1. Proper housekeeping including the prompt removal of wastes and keeping the work space free of unnecessary combustible materials will help to prevent or
    reduce the severity of fires.
  2. Limited quantities of flammable liquids may be stored in laboratories and shops. Flammable liquid storage cabinets are required where large amounts are
  3. Storage of combustible materials such as cardboard boxes, etc. should be kept to a minimum.
  4. Electrical wiring should be maintained in good condition. Extension cords should be used only for temporary use.
  5. The emergency number for Public Safety (911) should be posted on every phone.

For a safety survey of your area, contact Greg Cantrell at 258-5849.



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