Fire Emergencies

In the event of a fire within a campus building, it is necessary and safest for occupants to evacuate. University policy is total evacuation.

A fire or hazardous materials emergency exists whenever:

  • A building fire evacuation alarm is sounding
  •  An uncontrolled fire or imminent fire hazard occurs in any building or area of campus
  •  There is the presence of smoke, or the odor of burning
  •  There is abnormal spontaneous or abnormal heating of any material
  •  There is an uncontrolled release of combustible or toxic gas or other hazardous material, or a flammable liquid spill.

To Survive a Building Fire

1. Activate the building fire alarm if not already sounding

  •  Pull a fire alarm station on the way out
  •  If the building is not equipped with a fire alarm, knock on doors and shout on your way

2. Leave the building by the nearest exit

3. Notify emergency responders from a safe place away from the building

  •  Call 911 from a campus phone
  •  Call 301-405-3333 from a cellular phone
  •  Use Blue Light Emergency Phones

Crawl if There is Smoke

If you get caught in smoke, get down and crawl. Cleaner, cooler air will be near the floor. Get Low - And Go.

Feel doors before opening

Before opening any doors, feel the metal knob. If it is hot, do not open the door. If it is cool, brace yourself against the door, open it slightly, and if heat or heavy smoke are present, close the door and stay out of the room.

Go to the Nearest Exit or Stairway

  •  If the nearest exit is blocked by fire, heat, or smoke, go to another exit.
  •  Always use an exit stair, not an elevator.
  •  Elevator shafts may fill with smoke or the power may fail, leaving you trapped. Stairway fire doors will keep out fire and smoke, if they are closed, and will protect you until you get outside.
  •  Close as many doors as possible as you leave. This helps to confine the fire.
  •  Total and immediate evacuation is safest. Only use a fire extinguisher if the fire is very small and you know how to do it safely. Do not delay calling emergency responders or activating the building fire alarm. If you cannot put out the fire, leave immediately. Make sure the fire department is called - even if you think the fire is out.

If you Get Trapped, Keep the Doors Closed

  •  Place cloth material (wet if possible) around and under door to prevent smoke from entering.
  •  Be prepared to signal your presence from a window. Do not break glass unless absolutely necessary, as outside smoke may be drawn inside.

Signal for Help

Hang an object at the window (jacket, shirt) to attract the fire department's attention. If there is a phone in the room, call 911 or 301-405-3333 from a cellular phone, and report that you are trapped. Be sure to give your room number and location. If all exits from a floor are blocked, go back to your room, close the door, seal cracks, open the windows if safe, wave something out the window, and shout or phone for help.

If you are on fire – Stop, Drop, and Roll

If your clothes catch on fire, Stop, Drop, and Roll, wherever you are. Rolling smothers the fire.

Cool Burns

Use cool tap water on burns, immediately. Don't use ointments. If skin is blistered, dead white, brown or charred, call for an ambulance.


Storage of any items in the corridors to include: bicycles, chairs, desks, and other items are prohibited in all exit ways, including stairwells. Blocked exits and obstacles impede evacuation, especially during dark and smoky


If you are Disabled

If you are disabled (even temporarily), you should do the following:

  • Learn about fire safety.
  • Plan ahead for fire emergencies.
  • Be aware of your own capabilities and limitations.

For more information, visit the Fire Marshal’s Office website or e-mail


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