Fire Safety

The potential for loss of life or injury from a fire-related incident can be a serious risk on campus. In addition, few occurrences on campus represent a greater potential for property loss than a serious fire or explosion.  Fire safety is an important area of concern for every college and campus.

A fire emergency exists whenever:

  • A building fire evacuation alarm is sounding;
  • An uncontrolled fire or imminent fire hazard occurs in any building or area of the campus;
  • There is the presence of smoke, or the odor of burning;
  • There is spontaneous or abnormal heating of any material, an uncontrolled release of combustible or toxic gas or other material, or a flammable liquid spill.

All building occupants are required by law to evacuate the building when the fire alarm sounds, including during fire drills.

If there is a fire in your area:

  • Pull the fire alarm first! If you have been trained and are able to safely extinguish the fire (no larger than a small/office garbage can), do so. However, make sure that you have a safe exit from the fire area.
  • If you are unable to extinguish the fire, leave the area immediately and pull the fire alarm. Call 911 and report the fire.
  • Evacuate the building as soon as the alarm sounds and proceed to the designated Emergency Assembly Area (EAA).  Each building is equipped with an Emergency Quick Reference Guide that lists the building's Emergency Assembly Area. 
  • Warn others nearby on your way out. 
  • Move away from fire and smoke. Close doors and windows, if time permits.
  • Touch closed doors before opening. Do not open them if they are hot. Use stairs only; do not use elevators. Elevator shafts and stairwells can produce a chimney effect that draws up heat and smoke. 
  • If there is excessive smoke and heat, or the door is warm or hot to the touch, remain in the room and follow these procedures:
    • Stuff the cracks around the door with towels, lab coats, throw rugs, etc. to keep out as much smoke as possible.
    • Go to the window, and if it is clear outside (no smoke or flames), open the window at the top (to exhaust any heat or smoke in the room) and at the bottom (for a source of outdoor air). Signal for help by hanging a “flag” (sheet, jacket, etc.) out of the window. If a telephone is available, call 911 and DPS and inform them of the situation. Never attempt to jump from the upper floors of a multi-story building—jumps from heights of 3 floors or more may be fatal.
  • Do not re-enter the building or work area until you have been instructed to do so.

FIRE SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS

Faculty & Staff

  • All employees are required to follow the Emergency Response Plan in order to provide the safest possible response to emergencies.
  • Faculty members should instruct each class on the appropriate evacuation routes from the room in which their class is being held.
  • Provisions must be made to assist individuals requiring assistance.
  • Evacuation plans are to be communicated to all personnel in the area.
  • Aisles are to be maintained free and clear.
  • Exit signs are to be visible from all exit corridors
  • Doors are to be kept unlocked when a room is occupied.
  • Sprinkler heads are to be kept unobstructed – no storage of anything within 18”.
  • Fire alarm pull boxes should be kept free and clear for instant access.
  • Fire extinguishers should be kept free and clear for instant access.
  • Covers on electrical switches and receptacles which are broken or discolored should be replaced immediately.
  • Electrical plug in strips are to be plugged into wall receptacles and not into each other or extension cords (i.e., no daisy chaining).
  • All employee provided appliances (fans, coffee makers, lights, etc.) must comply with campus standards.

Students

  • Fire Safety Equipment and Procedures
    • All residential facilities are equipped with fire detection and firefighting equipment. Tampering with fire safety equipment is strictly prohibited. Tampering with fire safety equipment, including discharging fire extinguishers or disabling smoke detectors, may result in suspension from the college, plus cost of restoring equipment to its original condition. Failure to comply with these policies will likely result in disciplinary action.
    • Students may be fined for a fire alarm resulting from the use of a prohibited appliance, such as a toaster, or prohibited activities (smoking, burning candles or incense, etc.).
    • It is vital that all fire alarms are taken seriously and you are expected to leave the building during a fire alarm. You must remain outside the building until such time as Department of Public Safety or Facilities personnel indicate that it is safe to re-enter the building.
    • Your RA or House and Apartment Manager will have information on proper procedures for evacuating the building during a fire alarm. Failure to leave the building during a fire alarm may result in fine or disciplinary proceedings. Fire drills will be held during the semester and are coordinated by Student Life and the Department of Compliance & Enterprise Risk Management.
  • Flammable Materials
    • Spark or flame-producing items such as fireworks, firecrackers, explosive materials, candles, incense burners, oil burning lamps and lanterns are prohibited in all residential spaces.
    • Grills may not be used indoors. All grills must be placed at least 25 feet from any building and may never be used on rooftops, roof decks or fire escapes. Do not dump hot coals onto the grass or into a trashcan. Cold coals may be emptied into trashcans.
    • You may not store gasoline motors of any type, including motorcycles, mopeds, etc., within residential spaces. You may not keep fuels, such as gasoline or propane, in residential spaces.
  • Smoking
    • Smoking is prohibited in all areas of the residential spaces, including rooms, bathrooms, lounges, hallways and stairwells. Additionally, smoking is prohibited with 25 feet of all buildings on campus. 
  • Cooking
    • Cooking within a residential facility is permitted within pre-identified kitchen area or with approved appliances (see “Appliances” section of Residential Living Guidelines and Policies) within an individual room.

Visitors

  • In the event of an emergency, visitors are expected to comply with all directions given by college personnel in order to effect a safe and orderly evacuation. Your cooperation and understanding is appreciated in this matter.

Contractors

  • Contractors are required to adhere to all current codes, standards and safety rules that are in effect at the time of the work being performed. 

Academic Classrooms

  • Electrical plug in strips are to be plugged into wall receptacles and not into each other or extension cords (i.e., no daisy chaining).
  • All employee provided appliances (fans, coffee makers, lights, etc.) must comply with campus standards.
  • Storage of material must not present an overhead hazard.
  • When leaving for the day (or in an emergency) the faculty member shall turn off all appliances and lights and close/lock the door.

Laboratory Classrooms

  • Evacuation plans are to be communicated to all personnel in the area.
  • Aisle ways are to be maintained free and clear.
  • Exit signs are to be visible from all areas of the room.
  • Doors are to be kept unlocked when a room is occupied.
  • Sprinkler heads are to be kept unobstructed – no storage of anything within 18”.
  • Fire alarm pull boxes should be accessible for instant access.
  • Fire extinguishers should be accessible for instant access.
  • Covers on electrical switches and receptacles which are broken or discolored should be replaced immediately.
  • Electrical plug in strips are to be plugged into wall receptacles and not into each other or extension cords (i.e., no daisy-chaining).
  • All employee provided appliances (fans, coffee makers, lights, etc.) must comply with campus standards.
  • Storage of material must not present an overhead hazard.
  • Ensure that all chemical containers are labeled as to content and hazards and stored in compliance with the Chemical Hygiene Plan
  • Provide physical separation between hazard classes.
  • Store flammable liquids in approved flammable liquid storage containers.
  • Store oxidizers well away from flammables.
  • Compressed flammable gases shall be stored 20’ from oxidizing gases or by a physical barrier having a 1.5-hour fire rating.

Vehicles and Motorized Equipment

  • Only Dickinson certified drivers shall be allowed to operate campus vehicles and motorized equipment.
  • No smoking when fueling vehicles/equipment.
  • Employees must follow all fueling directions in order to prevent fires.
  • Employees must follow proper battery disconnecting/connecting procedures in order to prevent fires.
  • Only approved portable safety containers will be used for transporting flammable liquids.
  • Approved safety containers will be placed on the ground when filling.

Interruption of the Fire Alarm

  • No person may shut off any fire protection or alarm system during a fire emergency incident without the permission of the fire department officer in charge.
  • No person may shut off any fire protection or alarm system during a bomb threat emergency without the permission of the DPS officer in charge.
  • It shall be the responsibility of Facilities personnel to reset or cause to be repaired, any fire protection or alarm system after an emergency incident when notified by the fire or public safety department in charge. Facilities personnel shall inspect each system immediately after every emergency incident and place the system in serviceable condition.
  • The fire and public safety departments may reset an alarm system only if there is no damage to the system and when it is within their technical capabilities to do so.
  • Any person desiring to interrupt service to any fire protection or alarm system must obtain permission from the Associate Vice President of Campus Operations and the Director of Compliance & Enterprise Risk Management

Fire Extinguisher Training

Fire extinguisher training is available by request to departments and individuals seeking to learn how to operate a fire extinguisher.  Please contact Daniel Berndt (berndtd@dickinson.edu) for scheduling and/or any questions.

fire extinguisher

(above) Vice President & Chief Information Officer learning how to use a fire extinguisher on an open flame.