Developing a Plan
Each department is responsible for developing a comprehensive plan for evacuations and fire drills. Consider the following when developing the plan:
- Contact RMSO for assistance in developing an evacuation plan for your building.
- Building evacuation routes or maps should provide accurate layout of the building and multiple exit routes from any location. These plans must be posted in prominently traveled areas (e.g., hallways, stairwells, dorm rooms, etc.). Unusual building layouts require more evacuation maps to be posted.
- Building floor plans used for evacuation plans are prepared by Facilities Operations.
- Special attention must be given to evacuation procedures for persons with disabilities. Even if no known building occupants have special needs, the evacuation plan must contain these provisions to ensure the safety of visitors or others with special needs.
- A preplanned meeting place for evacuated occupants should be at least 200 feet from the building and clear of fire hydrants and access roads.
- Certain people on each floor should be responsible for the following:
- Ensuring that persons on the floor are aware of an emergency and the need to evacuate
- Ensuring that building evacuation routes are clearly posted in prominently traveled areas
- Ensuring that new employees are familiar with evacuation and fire drill procedures
A written plan for emergencies and fire drills is essential for each major University building. Evacuation exercises are particularly important for student-residence facilities, high-rise buildings, patient treatment facilities, and daycare centers. Studies show that when occupants discuss, plan, implement, and practice evacuation plans, they are better able to protect themselves and others. The figure below shows a typical evacuation plan posted in University buildings.
Conducting Fire Exit Drills and Evacuations
To ensure that building occupants are prepared for an emergency evacuation, fire drills must be conducted periodically. A safe and orderly evacuation is more important than a quick evacuation.
Fire exit drills are only conducted by or under the direction of the Fire Safety Specialist for the Environmental Health, Safety & Risk Management office.
Before conducting a practice fire drill, the Fire Safety Specialist or his/her representatives will do the following:
- Notify UPD dispatch operator so they do not contact the local fire department.
- Invite stake holders, UPD, San Marcos Fire Department, Department Heads to participate or observe the conduct of the drill.
Practice fire exit drills should proceed as follows:
- Fire drills should involve all occupants. Everyone should leave the building when the fire alarm sounds. A person may be exempt from a fire drill if it will cause undo hardship (e.g., interrupt an experiment); however, exemptions are strongly discouraged.
- Occupants should close (not lock) doors as they leave the work area. Items that require security may be placed in a locking file cabinet or desk drawer on the way out.
- Department administrators should check all rooms and close doors on their way out.
- All building occupants should gather in the preplanned meeting place.
- Department administrators should take a “head count” to determine if all occupants have left the building.
- Upon completion of the drill, the Fire Safety Specialist completes a Fire Drill Checklist and forwards it to the affected department heads.
Revised November 2014