What Everyone Should Know About Fire Safety on Campus
Small fires occur on the Knoxville campus every year. Thankfully most are generally small and quickly controlled. However, all fires have the potential to cause extensive damage and injuries. UT Environmental Health and Safety is available to assist departments with all aspects of fire planning and response. The following basic information is important and applies to everyone on campus.
Extinguishers – There are nearly 6,000 fire extinguisher located in buildings on campus. Everyone should know the location of nearby extinguishers. The vast majority are of the ABC type, indicating they are effective against ordinary combustibles (wood, paper, plastic), flammable liquids and fire in and around electrical equipment.
Fire Plan – Each department should have a fire plan that is communicated to employees and periodically tested. These plans do not need to be extremely detailed, but should define roles, address fire barriers (e.g. doors), response to fires, provisions for the physically challenged, alarms, assembly points and more.
Fire Drills – Conducting a test or drill is important. It allows staff to practice how they would respond to an actual event, reinforces key points in the fire plan and should identify deficiencies. Drills are required by law in certain buildings on campus.
Fire Alarm Systems – Most buildings on campus have a fire alarm system that connects directly to Central Alarm. Pull stations are located near exits and are used to active the alarm. Many buildings with a fire alarm also have automatic detection (smoke detectors, heat detectors or a sprinkler system) that provides 24/7 coverage, plus early warning. Everyone should be familiar with the alarm system in their building, including its operation and the sound of the horns, bells or other audible signaling devices.
Assembly Point – A “head count” must be conducted after a building has been evacuated. Having a designated assembly point at least 200 feet away from the building is a must and it should not be located immediately adjacent to a building’s entrance.
Training – Information and training are key elements that connect all the topics listed above. There are a variety of options to obtain fire safety training at UT. Contact campus Environmental Health and Safety for details or assistance at 974-5084.