Fire safety is everyone's responsibility. Below are basic requirements for all faculty, staff, and students:
- Always evacuate the building immediately in case of fire or sounding of a fire alarm.
- Learn emergency evacuation routes for your building, and review fire safety rules for your building or department.
- Become familiar with the location of fire extinguishers and manual fire alarm stations in your building.
- Review your departmental Emergency Plan, including the location of your department's evacuation assembly point.
Have An Exit Strategy
It is critically important to be aware of emergency evacuation routes from not just the places you work and live, but any public space you may visit. TWU is working with the Office of the Texas State Fire Marshal on their Have An Exit Strategy awareness program.
Life Safety Equipment
Fire extinguishers, fire/smoke detection systems, and various fire extinguishing systems are provided in University buildings for emergency use only. The TWU Department of Public Safety (DPS) monitors all TWU fire alarm and automatic sprinkler systems 24/7. The DPS website contains information regarding current fire incident statistics for TWU.
Faculty, staff, and students should never attempt to disable or modify any life safety equipment; including smoke detectors, sprinklers, fire alarm panels, etc. In addition, please inform EH&S of any damage or other issues you may observe related to these systems.
Fire Extinguisher Use
Fire extinguishers are found throughout University buildings; however, only appropriately trained faculty, staff, and students are permitted to use fire extinguishers, and then only if all of the following are true:
- The fire alarm has been activated and/or DPS has been notified (DPS contact info), and evacuation has begun,
- The fire is small and contained,
- You have the proper type of extinguisher, AND
- Your escape route is not threatened in any way!
No employee will ever be required to attempt to extinguish a fire, no matter the situation. Faculty, staff, and students are instructed NOT to try and extinguish a fire if they have any doubts about their ability to do so safely and to immediately evacuate the building.
Faculty, staff, and students can take a number of simple steps to reduce the risk of a fire:
- Do not use candles, incense, and other open flames.
- Do not accumulate paper, debris and other combustibles.
- Do not overload outlets with multiple plugs.
- Do not use extension cords, electrical devices should only be plugged into an outlet, or plugged into surge protectors or uninterruptible power supply which are in turn plugged directly into an outlet.
- Never cover light bulbs with paper or clothing.
- Never leave stoves unattended while cooking.
- Never use damaged electrical appliances, including any damage to the insulation on the cord or plug.
- Use caution when using space heaters; ensure there is sufficient space around the unit and do not leave it running unattended.
Flammable Materials Storage
Flammable and combustible liquids must be stored in appropriate flammable storage cabinets or specially designed storage rooms when not in use. Only limited quantities of flammable or combustible liquids that are actively in use may be outside of these cabinets or rooms.
Dispensing of highly flammable liquids needs to be restricted to specially equipped areas. Generally, this is applicable to flammable materials with a flash point equal to or less than 73º F. Required equipment may include proper grounding and bonding facilities to prevent ignition of vapors, explosion-proof lighting and other electrical equipment, and spark proof tools, pumps and spigots; in addition to adequate ventilation.
Contact EH&S for assistance in determining what is required for storage or dispensing of materials in your department.
Employees conducting any work that produces heat, sparks or flames (e.g. welding, brazing, grinding, etc.) are required to obtain a "Hot Work Permit". The Hot Work Permit will list the required precautions that must be taken to prevent fires, such as removing flammable materials from the area and conducting a "fire watch" for a period of time following completion of the hot work. There are some designated locations, such as welding shops, where hot work is permitted without obtaining a Hot Work Permit. Please contact EH&S for additional information on hot work.
The Department of University Housing has a fire safety web page specifically describing the various rules and precautions applicable to residence halls and apartment residents. EH&S provides fire safety and evacuation training for Resident Assistants at the beginning of each academic year. The RAs in turn provide basic fire safety training to their residents.
Igot2know.org is a website developed by the People's Burn Foundation with fire safety videos and information specifically aimed at college students living in residence halls and apartments.
Employees who are not familiar with their department's emergency procedures should contact their supervisor or Additional Duty Safety Officer. In addition, fire safety and evacuation training is available in various formats from EH&S and is required for all employees.