44.105: Fire Emergencies




March 17, 2009

Initiated by:

Joe Adams | Director of Environmental Health and Safety

Endorsed by:

Kathy Krendl | Executive Vice President and Provost

Approved by:

Roderick J. McDavis | President

Signatures and dates on archival copy
  1. Purpose

    This policy is intended to prevent injury, loss of life, and property damage from fire emergencies.

  2. Prevention

    Fire prevention is the responsibility of every person associated with Ohio University. All members of the University community are to exercise caution and fulfill their obligation to prevent fires and thereby protect human life and property. Exits and exit paths must remain clear of obstructions and hazards. Report fire hazards to the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, at 593-1666.

    Tampering with fire extinguishers, standpipe hoses, fire alarm systems, smoke detectors, fire alarm pull stations, sprinkler systems, or other protective fire equipment is strictly prohibited and may result in expulsion from the university, fines, and criminal charges.

  3. All University Facilities

    In the event of a fire in any University building, follow the procedures described below, based on the Ohio Fire Code, Emergency Planning and Preparedness, and Fire Precautions.

    Any fire, regardless of size, must be classified as an emergency situation. During a fire emergency, first priority must be placed upon the protection of human life, and second priority on the protection of property and of the environment. The area and building must be evacuated immediately and 911 called to inform the fire department. Due to personal risk involved in fighting fires and the fact that "small" fires often become uncontrollable, emphasis must be placed on building evacuation and notification of the Fire Department through the 911 Emergency Communications Center.

  4. Residence Buildings

    Because of special nature of residence buildings, it is particularly important that their occupants fully cooperate with all the procedures and standards listed in this policy. This cooperation may be critical in saving the lives of residents of the building if a fire emergency should occur. It is the responsibility of every resident to be familiar with these procedures and standards and to observe them fully.

  5. When the Fire Alarm Sounds

    1. Evacuate the building immediately via the nearest available exit. Go to a location out of the path of emergency response vehicles, away from fire hydrants, approximately 50 feet away from the building, and account for the people in your group. If you know someone is unable to evacuate the building, you should relay that information to 911.

    2. If you cannot evacuate the building due to mobility impairment, the intensity of the fire, or smoke, then "Shelter in Place" by:

      Wait until help arrives.

      1. closing the doors to the room you are in;

      2. calling 911 to give your location and information;

      3. stopping up cracks (e.g., with wet towels) to block smoke;

      4. opening windows to the outside for fresh air; and

      5. staying next to the floor to avoid breathing hot gases and smoke.

        Wait until help arrives.

    3. In order to slow the spread of the fire, doors, and if possible, windows, should be closed as the last person leaves a room or area during the evacuation of the building.

    4. Do not use elevators, use the building's stairwells.

    5. Do not return to your room until the all clear signal is given by the Ohio University Police Department ("OUPD"), or the Athens Fire Department, or — in the case of a fire drill — Environmental Health and Safety ("EHS").

  6. If You Discover a Fire

    1. Call 911.

    2. Assist any person in immediate danger to safety, if that can be accomplished without risk to you or other persons.

    3. Do not try to fight the fire yourself; call 911 and be prepared to give your name, location, and fire information. If the fire is small enough and you have been trained, you may use a nearby fire extinguisher to control and extinguish the fire after calling 911.

    4. Immediately activate the building fire alarm system by pulling a manual fire alarm pull station on your way out of the building if the building alarm is not already sounding. In all residence halls and many other buildings this will automatically notify OUPD and the fire department and get help on the way. The Stopper II device which covers the pull station will sound a local alarm when opened. Do not mistake this for the actual fire alarm. After opening this cover, the actual pull station must be pulled to sound the fire alarm.

    5. If you cannot evacuate the building, then shelter in place, as described in item B of section II, above.

    6. Never reenter a building after a fire without permission from the the Athens Fire Department or OUPD.

  7. General Fire Safety Standards

    1. Fire doors in halls and stairwells must be kept closed at all times.

    2. Do not block exit paths, exit signs, or fire extinguishers.

    3. Do not take any chances with fire, because even a small one can get out of control quickly. In case of a fire, activate the alarm, evacuate the building, and call 911. Call 911 before attempting to use an extinguisher.

    4. If you are in a room where a fire starts, leave quickly. Close the door to confine the blaze to that one room as long as possible, but do not lock the door.

    5. Always close the door to your room when you go to bed. Many people have been killed in their sleep by rising heat and toxic gases even before they knew there was a fire.

    6. If you wake up at night and smell smoke, do not open your door until you feel it with the back of your hand. If it is hot, leave it closed. This is a sign that you cannot survive in the corridor long enough to get down the stairs. In that case, go to the window and call for help unless you can get out through other rooms that do not lead into the corridor. Do not jump or use drapes or bed sheets to try to escape.

    7. Know the location of all fire exits, fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and the nearest telephone, for use in the event of any emergency.

    8. Smoking is prohibited in University buildings and vehicles (including all residence hall rooms); see Policy 44.113.

    9. Never tamper with any fire safety device. Never do anything to restrict proper operation of smoke detectors.

    10. Multiple outlet extension cords are not permitted. Power Strips with grounded surge protection and internal circuit breaker are permitted. Do not string wires or extension cords under rugs, over hooks, or in any place where they may be subject to wear or mechanical damage. All electrical cords should be checked periodically for wear or damage.

    11. Candles, incense, and similar flame-producing items are not allowed in residence hall sleeping rooms by the Ohio Fire Code.

    12. Other than coffee makers, only cooking devices provided by the university are allowed to be used in residence hall sleeping rooms.

    13. Electrical devices must be labeled approved by a listed agency. Devices that have been recalled or pose a hazard are not allowed in university buildings.

    14. Space Heaters are not allowed in residence halls and other university buildings unless approved by Facilities Management. Where approved, they must be operated according to manufacturers instructions, meet current safety standards, be labeled and listed approved by an approved safety agency such as U.L., include an automatic shutoff device, and may not be used within 3 feet of combustible materials.

    15. Hot Work Permits for welding and other hot work are required and are available from the Department of Environmental Health and Safety.

    16. All appliances above 1500 Watts must be approved by the Resident Director before they may be used in a residence hall.

    17. All electrical and utility system work must be coordinated through Facilities Management.

    18. Report all fire hazards to EHS, using the Operational Hazard Report.


Proposed revisions of this policy should be reviewed by:

  1. President

  2. Executive Vice President and Provost

  3. Executive Staff

  4. Vice President for Finance and Administration

  5. Assistant Vice President for Safety and Risk Management

  6. Director of Facilities Managment

  7. Executive Director of Residential Housing

  8. Vice President for Student Affairs

  9. Policy and Procedure Review Committee