fire emergencyMany do not appreciate the risk and destructive power of fire. The U.S. Fire Administration, a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, believes in promoting awareness that fires are fast, hot, dark and deadly. Knowing what to do quickly during a fire situation will save lives.

How to prepare before it happens

  • Be familiar with locations that you frequent. Know where stairwells, fire extinguishers and fire alarm pull stations are located.
  • Know the designated Emergency Assembly Point for your building.
  • If you are not carrying them, always keep your keys, wallet and ID in the same easily accessible place.

What to do when it happens

  • Manually activate the fire alarm system (pull station) and call the appropriate emergency contact number.
    • Danforth Campus: 314-935-5555
    • School of Medicine: 314-362-4357
    • North/West/South Campus & Tyson Research: 911 then 314-935-5555
  • If the fire is small, you may try to use a fire extinguisher to put it out. Using the P.A.S.S. technique, position yourself with your back to the closest exit and then:
    • P…pull the safety pin from the handle.
    • A…aim at the base of the fire.
    • S…squeeze the trigger handle.
    • S…sweep from side to side at the base of the fire.
  • If you are not able to put out the fire, quickly gather your keys, wallet and ID, if safe to do so.
  • Immediately exit the building, keeping low to the ground under any smoke, and close doors behind you. Do NOT use elevators.
  • Take shallow breaths through your nose and use a filter such as a shirt or towel.
  • As able, assist others to get out. Notify emergency responders if you know of someone still inside the building.
  • Gather outside at your Emergency Assembly Point.
  • If you are trapped in a room:
    • Wet and place cloth material around and under the door to prevent smoke from entering the room.
    • Close as many doors as possible between you and the fire.
    • Be prepared to signal someone outside, but DO NOT break glass until absolutely necessary (outside smoke may be drawn into the room).
  • If you are forced to advance through flames (which should be a last resort):
    • Hold your breath.
    • Move quickly.
    • Cover your head and hair with a blanket or large coat.
    • Keep your head down and your eyes closed as much as possible.

What to do right after it happens

  • Check with fire officials or Protective Services/WUPD to make sure it is safe to go back inside.
  • Watch out for any structural damage caused by the fire.
  • Do not attempt to reconnect any utilities if there is an outage.
  • Conduct an inventory of damaged property and records.
  • In coordination with department officials, notify Insurance and Risk Management.

Additional resources