Many 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.