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.
  • Take the Fire Extinguisher Training course. Register through Learn@Work.
  • 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

Building occupants should take the following actions during the presence of a fire condition or fire alarm activation:

  • Manually activate the fire alarm system (pull station) and call the appropriate emergency contact number.
  • Immediately exit the building, keeping low to the ground under any smoke, and closing doors behind you. Do NOT use elevators.
  • As able, quickly scan the area as you evacuate and assist others as needed.
  • Gather outside at your Emergency Assembly Point and notify emergency responders if you know of someone still inside the building.
    • WUPD (314) 935-5555
    • WUSM Protective Services (314) 362-4357
P.A.S.S. Technique
  • If the fire is small, you may try to use a fire extinguisher to put it out:
  • Notify co-workers of the emergency and activate the fire alarm system. Position yourself with your back to the closest exit and then use the P.A.S.S. technique:
    • 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, and evacuate the building.
  • Take shallow breaths through your nose and use a filter such as a shirt or towel.
To assist those with limited mobility:
  • Assist the individual to an available area of refuge:
    • Options include and enclosed stairwell or and adjoining building.
    • This helps isolate them from any fire or smoke in the area.
    • Always call the emergency number for your location.
  • Attempt a “rescue evacuation” only if there is an immediate danger and you cannot wait for help.
  • If waiting is not an option:
    • Have at least two physically capable volunteers assist the individual.
    • Ask the individual how to best assist them.
    • Move them to an area that is well clear of the threat.
If you are in route to your vehicle:
  • Be aware of the alarm activation (audio/visual)
  • Do not proceed towards your vehicle, leave it parked.
  • Immediately exit the parking garage via emergency exit(s)
  • Proceed to an Emergency Assembly Point (EAP)
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 and 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