Fire emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere, even on campus. According to the NFPA, firefighters respond to an average of 3,810 fires at college residence halls and Greek housing each year across the country.
Fires in residence halls are more common during the evening hours, between 5 and 11 p.m. and on weekends. Roughly six out of seven fires in residence halls are started by cooking.
Northeastern takes the safety of our students, faculty and staff seriously. The following guidelines will help everyone in that endeavor, and never hesitate to dial 911 for an emergency:
Campus Fire Safety
Always stay observant, utilizing “Situational Awareness” skills and use your best judgement when evacuating. Be aware of the fire alarm indicators such as the audible tone, how loud it may or may not be in certain locations, if there are strobe lights, etc. Notify Campus Safety & Security of any concerns at 970-521-6683.
Know your evacuation route exit options. Always know at least two different ways out.
Know the locations of the fire alarm pull stations and “role play” scenario’s in your mind -evacuating and activating a particular pull station as you exit.
Know the locations of the portable fire extinguishers that are available, and what kind of fires they are meant to be used on.
Learn the PASS procedures for operating a fire extinguisher; Pull (the pin), Aim (at the base of the fire), Squeeze (the handle) and Sweep (steadily back and forth across the base of the flames).
If you encounter a small fire in its "incipient stage" and you feel comfortable attempting to put it out, do so, but if it doesn't go out quickly, evacuate and close doors behind you. Have someone pull a fire alarm pull station and dial 911 while you attempt to put it out. If no one is around to do that, and if you can't put it out immediately, evacuate, activate a fire alarm and call 911. Always keep your exit option to your back, never put the fire between yourself and your exit. Approach the fire and squeeze the handle approximately 6-8 feet away from the fire and slowly advance to a distance of 3-5 feet from the fire.
Follow the fire safety regulations which cover cooking safety, no open flames, electrical precautions and more that are listed in your student handbook. Check with Campus Safety for additional information and training.
Fire Extinguisher use
Watch what you heat, Cooking Safety
During an evacuation
During an evacuation event, stay calm. Move quickly, don't run, to the closest, safe, fire exit. Evacuate immediately, do not stick around to collect personal items. But, do have a plan and be prepared. Have your cell phone accessible and be aware of the weather conditions – having appropriate clothing ready to grab. If there is smoke or fire, exit in an alternative, safe direction, try not to breathe in smoke. Remember to activate a pull station on the way out if the general alarm isn’t already sounding and close doors behind you as you go.
Before opening a door; Feel, Listen, Smell, Look. Always touch the door - then the door knob - with the back of your hand prior to opening it. If it feels hot to the touch, don’t open it. If it is cool or warm, kneel down low – move out of the way of the door to the side (not in front of it) and open it just an inch or two. Peer outside looking and smelling for smoke, fire or other chemical odors. Remember that smoke and heat rise while many chemical gases seek low spots. If nothing is observed, carefully open the door and look both directions.
Exit in the direction that smoke is the lightest and where there is obviously no fire. As - or after you exit, keep low to the ground if there is light smoke or a haze that you can see through for a fair distance.
If the smoke is heavy and/or you have a medical history, keep your head 12 – 18 inches from the floor (even crawl if necessary). Try to exit with others so that you have at least one “buddy” to keep track of each other during your escape. Never use an elevator during a fire alarm.
Do not use elevators when an alarm sounds
Persons with disabilities: If you can assist someone with a disability to evacuate, do so, but have someone notify firefighters directly or by calling 911. If you are unable to assist them to escape, try to help them to a stairwell or to a safe place to wait for their rescue.
Respond as quickly as possible, in an orderly fashion, to the designated “Assembly Area” and check in with your RA, the Duty RA or the Hall Director, Instructor or Building Captain.
Make sure you don't stand in roadways or block emergency response vehicles or emergency responders from reaching the building
Do not re-enter until declared “Safe” to do so by the fire department or a designated authority figure.
Shelter in Place
If you feel that you cannot escape, if there is really thick smoke with no or very limited visibility or if there is discernable heat or fire in the hallway, close the door. Retrieve towels or clothing items such as t-shirts and seal around the door and vents. Try to soak the item with water or soda and use something like a ruler, pen or pencil to fill the air space gaps under and around the door if possible.
If you are unable to exit through the window, Dial 911 to notify them exactly the room location, the floor and room number where you are located. Explain landmarks that you see outside of your window. Place a HELP sign in your window and try to signal responders outside with a flashlight or cell phone light. Try not to open the window too much until responders reach your window to rescue you unless there is too much smoke and you need fresh air. If it is a sealed window, tape the window if you can with several long pieces of tape, put on protective clothing and gloves as you use a chair or other object to break the window. Shield your face and eyes as best as possible.