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Fire Safety Procedures

Call: Public Safety Department: 276-6611 or 911 from a campus phone.

Note: Dialing 911 from a cell phone will not connect you with Public Safety.

What is a Fire Emergency?

Any time you see uncontrolled flames, smoke, or smell smoke.

What do l do?

Activate the nearest fire alarm pull station according to the instructions on the pull box. This will start the building evacuation alarms and summon emergency response.

Exit the building and proceed to a safe location.

Call the Department of Public Safety at 276-6611 or 911 from a campus phone. Provide your name and exact location of the fire. STAY ON THE LINE for additional questions from the dispatcher. Also remain at the scene to provide information to the fire response personnel.

Should I attempt to use a fire extinguisher?

ONLY if all three of the following conditions are met:

You have received fire extinguisher training by Rensselaer within the last year.

The fire is in the incipient stage.

You are in absolutely no personal danger.

If in doubt, leave the area immediately. Fire extinguishers are provided for escape purposes only.

You are never required to attempt to extinguish a fire.

What to Know:

To protect yourself, it’s important to understand the basic characteristics of fire.

Fire can spread surprisingly fast. There is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In just five minutes, an entire home can be engulfed in flames.

Heat and smoke from a fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super-hot air can sear your lungs. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Most people assume that the heat of a fire will wake them up but, instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Smoke is the leading cause of residential deaths. Cooking accidents are the primary cause of residential fires.

Rules and regulations have been established to protect all members of the Rensselaer campus community. More information on fire regulations that pertain to on campus housing can be found at the Web Site of Residence Life.

You should have a plan in case you do experience a fire. Your plan should include the following:

  • Know your residence and routes of escape
  • If you only have one stairway exit out of the building and a window is the only other exit point, obtain a window exit device such as a semi rigid or rope ladder that affixes to the window
  • Keep your smoke or heat detectors in working condition and place them in locations such as kitchens where most fires originate
  • Keep a fire extinguisher near-by and know how to use it
  • Limit the use of portable heater units and if you do use one, ensure it has tip over and over-current protection.

What to Do in a Fire:

  • Do not panic
  • Alert others
  • Call 911
  • Act fast to contain the fire and when possible, extinguish the fire
  • Use water or a fire extinguisher to put out small fires. Do not try to put out a fire that is getting out of control or is larger than a small waste basket. If you are not sure if you can control the fire, get everyone out of the area and call the fire department from another location
  • Never use water on an electrical fire. Use [insert methods] to control an electrical fire. Even an electrical fire that looks contained could be spreading within the walls outside of view. When in doubt, call the fire department.
  • Remember the valuable lesson you learned as children--if your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop and roll until the fire is extinguished. Running only makes the fire burn faster
  • Sleep with the door closed. If you wake up to the sound of a smoke detector, feel the bottom of the door with the palm of your hand before you open the door. If the door is cool, leave immediately. Be prepared to crawl. Smoke and heat rise, and the air is clearer and cooler near the floor.
  • If the door is hot, escape through a window. If you cannot escape, hang a white or light color shirt outside the window, alerting fire fighters to your presence.

Fire prevention is the responsibility of everyone.

Tips to Follow to Prevent Fires:

  • Keep your area clutter-free
  • Keep the hallways/walkways safe from obstacles
  • Do not block exits or stack items on the windowsills
  • Inspect extension cords for frayed wires
  • Do not overload extension cords or outlets
  • Know your building safety plan
  • Participate in building fire drills. When you hear an alarm never assume that it is just a drill. Get out immediately.
  • Take the time to learn an alternate route to evacuate your building
  • Never leave candles burning unattended. Candles, incense, or any open flames are not permitted in the Residence Halls.
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