Emergency Guidelines for the Campus Community

Fire Emergency  

Fire Emergencies and Emergency Action Planning

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.

For more information on emergency action planning, please contact Kelly States at 8-2648 or kstates@princeton.edu.


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 (from a campus phone) or 609-258-3333 (from a cell phone) once outside

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 number 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 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 (see above) and remain there until instructed by Public Safety or the fire department that it is safe to re-enter the building.

Evacuation Procedures

Evacuate immediately unless you have specific emergency responsibilities designated in your Emergency Action Plan.  After you have left the building, go to the designated assembly area for your building and remain there.  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.

Persons with Disabilities

Planning for Assistance in an Evacuation
If you think you might need specialized assistance during an evacuation (e.g. a visual alarm device, identification of fire-exit stairwells, specialized evacuation equipment or alternative egress route planning) due to a medical condition or disability, you may contact your emergency coordinator to arrange for a needs assessment.  Self-identification is voluntary and confidential.  All such requests and any special arrangements made will only be disclosed to Public Safety and individuals who have a responsibility to assist under the plan.  Remember that elevators are tied to the fire detection system and are not available to occupants once a fire alarm sounds.

Evacuation Procedures
If you are alone at the time of a fire or emergency evacuation, notify Public Safety of your location by calling 911 from any campus phone or 609-258-3333 from a cellular phone.  Proceed to the nearest fire-exit stairwell and wait on the landing for assistance.  To ensure that your location is known, tell an individual who is evacuating to notify Public Safety at the designated assembly point of your location.  Members of Public Safety, the Princeton Fire Department or the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad will assist you from the building.

University Fire Emergency Policy and Procedure

In case of a fire emergency*, notify Public Safety 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.

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 personal harm.

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.

* A fire emergency is 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.


The Emergency Coordinator is responsible for providing all new employees or other regular building occupants with initial Emergency Action Plan training..  All building occupants must be familiar with the contents of this plan and retrained annually.  The Emergency Coordinator is responsible for full dissemination of any changes to the plan following the annual review.

Fire extinguisher training and the arrangement of fire drills is available upon request through the University Fire Marshal (8-6805).

Additional Information

Additional information on emergency action planning can be found on the Emergency Information Quick Links on the Princeton University home page or by contacting Kelly States, Program Manager, Safety (8-2648 or kstates@princeton.edu) or Robert Gregory, University Fire Marshal (8-6805 or rgg@princeton.edu).

\Fire Extinguishers 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

  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 present.
  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.

©2003 The Trustees of Princeton University. Last modified 17-Aug-2010 14:07 by Robin M. Izzo