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Environmental Health & Safety

Building Fire Safety Features


Compartmentalization is critical to fire containment and successful evacuating.  Fire doors must be kept closed at all times.  If fire doors are open during a fire, fire and smoke can spread unchecked.  Stairways will act as chimneys and corridors will fill with smoke.  If the doors are kept closed, the fire can be contained and the stairways and corridors will provide a protected escape route.  It is especially important that the doors be kept closed at night when people are asleep and fire detection and room evacuation are slower.

Specially constructed doors designed to contain fire and smoke are installed throughout university buildings. These doors are to remain closed and latched when not in use unless equipped with a magnetic hold open device that release automatically upon activation of the fire alarm system. Fire doors cannot be wedged, blocked, chained or otherwise prevented from performing their design function. In addition to corridor and stairwell doors, student room doors are required to be kept closed and cannot be wedged open.


Fire exits are clearly marked with an exit sign.  Exit signs with arrows indicate which way to go to an exit. Each university building must have a sufficient number of safe exit routes that are properly marked with exit signs. These exit routes must remain free of any obstacle, which could cause a reduction in the number of persons safely utilizing the exit path.

Fire Alarm Systems:

Fire alarm systems provide a rapid means of notifying all building occupants of a fire emergency.  These must be kept in operating condition at all times.  Vandalism of these systems may result in injury of loss of life during an actual fire emergency.

Smoke detectors alert you while there’s still time to escape from a fire.  Learn their locations and be sensitive to avoidable activation (cooking, smoke, cigarette smoke, aerosols, steam etc.).  Don’t hang things from them or cover them up.

Pull stations are located in your exit paths, usually near an exit or stairwell door.  Simply activating the pull station will activate the building alarm system and alert Security.

Sprinkler systems are provided in some areas of some buildings.  The sprinkler system provides fire suppression water over the area where the fire starts.

Fire Extinguishers:

Fire extinguishers should be used only after you follow RACE and the area is evacuated.

Fire extinguishers are strategically located throughout the university’s buildings.  Fire extinguishers are only to be used for incipient fires and if you have been trained within the last year on their use.  Extinguishers are used on a voluntary basis only and when it is certain that there is no personal risk to their user.  Training classes may be arranged by contacting the University Fire Marshal.  Report all extinguishers that are missing, damaged, or discharged, and don’t block access to extinguishers. See the Guidelines for Fire Extinguishers and Their Use for additional information.

Contact EH&S at (585) 275-3241 or e-mail EH&S Questions.

This page last updated 3/9/2011. Disclaimer.