Fire Safety

I hear the fire alarms. Is this a drill?

Fire drills in the college are always announced with printed notifications in the building. Should you hear alarms, follow the emergency procedures for your building.

The alarms have gone off in the main college. What should I do?

If the visual and audible alarms activate in the main college (A-F, LC and Whitney), an announcement noting the alarmed area will be communicated over the PA system. If the alarm originated from your area, emergency responders (engineers and safety personnel as well as the Fire Department) will check your surrounding workspaces for the cause of the alarm. If the alarm requires the evacuation of your area, you will be instructed to vacate the premises utilizing the closest means of egress.

There is a strong burning chemical odor in my area. What should I do?

Odors should be investigated. Contact Environmental Health and Safety and give as much information about the condition as possible. Personnel will be dispatched to your location to assess the situation.

Should I utilize a fire extinguisher in the event of a fire?

Fire extinguishers should only be utilized for fighting small type fires (such as waste paper baskets, etc.) and only if properly trained and confident in doing so. If a fire requires more than one extinguisher, it is too large to continue fighting.

A service representative I have contracted is working on equipment in my laboratory and has to do some soldering/hot work. Is that okay?

This type of work is considered "hot work" and could set off the fire alarm system. For this reason a permit from Environmental Health and Safety is required before work begins.

I am in the basement of the A-E college buildings. Sometimes I hear audible beeps which repeat about four times. What does this mean?

General fire codes sound in the basement and sub-basement levels, which when sounded, represent a particular building by the number of beeps heard. Basement and sub-basement levels have code cards at the manual pull stations which identify the building by alarm.

There are building materials and trash located inside the stairwell. What should I do?

Contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety and we will have the items immediately removed.

The cabinet fire hose is leaking. Who should I report this to?

Contact Environmental Health and Safety who will coordinate the repair with Facilities. Any discrepancies to the fire protection or alarm systems should be reported immediately.

May items be stored on shelves up to the ceiling?

According to NFPA 13, there must be ample clearance (18 inches) so that sprinklers can be activated and function effectively in case of a fire.

I noticed that most of the extinguishers are mounted on the wall, but our extinguisher is not mounted. Is this acceptable?

If your fire extinguisher is not mounted, contact EHS to have it mounted in a proper location.

Why can't I use the elevator instead of the stairs during a fire alarm?

It isn't appropriate to use an elevator during a fire or similar building emergency. Elevators are designed to be recalled to a floor, usually the lobby, during alarm conditions. In unusual circumstances, an elevator malfunction might cause the elevator to travel to the fire floor, thus exposing the occupants to the fire. Also, smoke may enter the elevator shaft, which would migrate toward the roof, exposing any elevator occupants to that smoke.

When is a pre-check required?

A pre-hot-work check must be conducted by the responsible person before hot work is authorized, and at least once per day. The check reports must be kept at the work site during the work, made available for inspection, and submitted to EHS after the work is complete.

What is a designated hot work area?

A designated area is a specific area approved for hot work. This is the area exposed to sparks, hot slag, radiant heat, or convective heat as a result of hot work. The designated hot work area is specified on the work authorization permit.

What is a hot work authorization permit (hot work permit)?

A hot work program authorization bearing the signature of the responsible person must be obtained for any project conducting hot work operations in WCM space. Hot work operations are limited to the area and time specified in the hot work permit.

Do I need to submit a hot work scheduling request form?

Yes, a hot work scheduling request form must be completed by the WCM staff member coordinating the hot work (i.e., E&M supervisor, project manager). This form must be submitted 24 hours in advance and presented to obtain a hot work authorization permit. Off-hours requests must submitted at least one week in advance to EHS.

Why do we have fire drills?

Fire drills are performed to familiarize occupants with the sound of the alarm system, practice evacuation procedures, and monitor alarm systems for functions.

How long does a fire drill normally last?

The duration of most fire drills is between five and 15 minutes. Drill times can vary from building to building, depending on many factors, such as speed of evacuation, building size and fire alarm system resetting.

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