You have been on campus for a while, and you are probably feeling settled into your new routine. But what about things that are not routine? Do you know what to do if there is a fire in your dorm or apartment building? The one thing you must NEVER do is assume it isn’t a real fire. Do not sit idly in your room. Get up. Check it out!

Of course, preventing a fire from occurring is your best line of defense. Avoid these common and avoidable causes of a fire:

  • unattended candles, or candles overturned by children or animals
  • unattended cooking–don’t walk away from that stove!
  • overloaded electrical outlets
  • lamps or lights covered with flammable materials–only use shades or materials specifically designed for that purpose
  • smoking–smoking in bed, disposing of smoldering cigarettes and alcohol-related carelessness

Be prepared! Before an emergency occurs, it is always a good idea to have a plan.

  • Map out at least two ways out of your room or apartment.
  • Know where the fire pull stations are near your room.
  • Know where the closest evacuation stairwell is located.
  • Know your routes well. Count doors, know the obstacles that might be in your path if the hallway is filled with smoke and you are forced to feel your way to the nearest exit.
  • Never plan on using an elevator. If you are unable to use the stairs, know where the nearest area of refuge is. (Click here for more about areas of refuge/rescue.)

If there is a fire, make sure you know how to safely escape and what to do if you are trapped in your room or apartment.

Before you open it, feel the door, door frame, and door knob. If it feels hot, don’t open that door! Fire is probably on the other side! Use your secondary exit route!

  • IF YOU ARE ABLE TO LEAVE YOUR ROOM:
    • If the door is cool to the touch, open it slowly and evaluate the situation.
    • If the hallway is clear, exit your room, closing the door behind you, and move calmly and carefully to the nearest exit or fire escape.
    • If there is smoke visible in the hallway, get as low as you can to avoid breathing the smoke and crawl to the nearest exit.
    • Cover your mouth with a cloth or the edge of your shirt.
    • NEVER delay your exit by collecting valuables like your cell phone, wallet or jewelry. Every second is important when escaping a fire!
    • NEVER go back for anything. Once you are out, STAY OUT! Possessions are replaceable. YOU are not!
  • IF YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO LEAVE YOUR ROOM:
    • Keep smoke from entering your room by blocking the cracks around your door.
    • Close all doors between you and the fire.
    • Call 9-1-1 to let first responders know where you are.
    • While waiting for rescue, get to a window and make your presence known by shouting and waving clothing or other objects. This will let people know exactly where you are.

Questions? Call the Safety and Risk Management at 423-425-5741.

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