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thinkSAFE – Fire Safety Tips

Imagine a building is an organism. The hidden steel girders are the bones and the visible masonry is the skin. The plumbing functions are the vascular system, and the information technology infrastructure comprises the nervous system. How about the immune system?

UTC’s Safety and Risk Management considers the fire alarm and suppression system to be a building’s immune system. When your body’s immune system loudly tells you an infection could be smoldering, you better heed the notification and change your activities before something gets inflamed. Likewise, when a building’s immune system (or fire alarm) sounds, heed the warning and take action. It may be tempting to ignore it, but a fire alarm can activate for several reasons – all of which can indicate a potentially dangerous situation. When you hear a fire alarm or see the strobes flash, you should immediately

  • Take notice where you are
  • Collect your belongings
  • Evacuate the building through the nearest usable exit.

ALWAYS assume a fire alarm indicates a real fire. Our smoke, heat, carbon monoxide detectors and fire sprinklers are among the most important safety features intended to protect you.

Help is on the way.

When the fire alarm activates, UTC Police receive instantaneous electronic information from the fire alarm system. Campus police will soon be on scene to determine the source of the alarm, and City of Chattanooga Fire Department resources will also be on the way. Remain calm, and help others evacuate.

Become a SafeMoc

October is National Fire Prevention Month. Become a SafeMoc by learning what to do and know how to prepare yourself in an event of a fire incident and how to prevent one from taking place.

  • Make sure you have a functioning smoke detector.
    • If battery-operated, change the batteries when the time changes (falling back to standard on November 3, and springing forward to daylight)
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen.
    • Don’t hide the extinguisher deep within a cabinet.
    • We recommend the extinguisher should be an ABC-type.
    • Replace old extinguishers every 6 to 10 years, no matter what the gauge says.
    • If you live in UTC Housing, your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are maintained by our department, so you never have to worry about checking or purchasing fire safety devices.
  • NEVER use water to put out a grease fire. If you can…
    • Turn off the heat.
    • Remove the pan from the heat.
    • Cover the pan with a metal lid.
    • Use an ABC-type fire extinguisher, if needed.

It CAN happen here.

From 2011 to 2015, fire departments in the United States responded to a yearly average of 650 structure fires on university campuses. In 2011, a relatively minor fire in Lockmiller Apartments caused the dislocation of approximately a dozen residents for several months, not to mention personal property loss for some residents. It can happen here, and it could affect you!

If you smell smoke or other unusual odors suggesting a possible fire, immediately call the UTC Police Department at 423-425-4357.

If you discover an actual fire situation, you should:

  1. Alert other building occupants by immediately sounding the building fire alarm. To do this pull a wall-mounted fire alarm pull station, located near all exit ways. If needed, fire extinguishers are located in all public corridors approximately every 75 feet and under all sinks inside residential dorms.
  2. Contact Campus Police by dialing 911 or 423-425-4357 and give them the location of the fire.
  3. Evacuate the building. Do not use the elevators. Most stairways are protected from smoke and are the safest way out of the building.

Never assume a fire alarm is false. Our smoke, heat, CO detectors and fire sprinklers are among the most important safety features intended to protect you.


© 2019 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
615 McCallie Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37405