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Annex 18 - Fire Safety

Objective

The objective of this annex is to define the actions and roles necessary to provide a coordinated emergency response by students, administration, faculty, support personnel, visitors and departments during an emergency situation or disaster.  This plan provides personnel and departments at Binghamton University with a general concept of potential emergency assignments before, during and following emergency situations.

Situational Overview

The Binghamton University Fire Safety Annex is intended to reduce the morbidity, mortality, and social and economic disruption caused by these events within the student, staff and faculty population of the Binghamton University community.  This plan provides a framework for fire preparedness and response activities and serves as a foundation for further planning, drills and emergency preparedness activities.

Concept of Operations

Deaths and damages caused by fires, hazardous materials and explosions can be mitigated if proper preparation and response procedures are taken by individuals during these types of situations. This annex should be used in conjunction with the Shelter-In-Place and Evacuation Annexes of the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP).

It is the responsibility of supervisors and faculty to ensure that students, faculty, staff and visitors are familiar with evacuation signals, evacuation routes, exterior assembly areas, shelter-in-place locations and other procedures related to fire safety evacuation and hazardous material evacuation or shelter-in-place scenarios.

Fire Safety

Binghamton University maintains a high degree of awareness related to fire safety on campus.  While Binghamton University does not have a dedicated fire department, the office Environmental Health and Safety, Emergency Management, and Physical Facilities are responsible for overall fire safety and, to a degree, share maintenance and operational responsibilities related to fire protection systems as well as code enforcement.  Fire safety is always a concern because the actions or inactions of building occupants can have a great impact on the Binghamton University community.  Individuals who violate fire-safety code place the health and safety of others in peril.  Binghamton University takes fire safety seriously and shall aggressively investigate fire safety issues and individuals responsible for willfully violating safety standards may result in a campus judicial referral and/or criminal prosecution.

 Binghamton University maintains property in multiple fire department jurisdictions.

    • Vestal Campus = Vestal Volunteer Fire Department
    • University Downtown Center = City of Binghamton Fire Department
    • Johnson City Campus (under construction) – Village of Johnson City Fire Department
    • Small Business Development Center = City of Binghamton Fire Department
    • Library Annex = Conklin Volunteer Fire Department

Fire Alarms

Each year members of the Vestal Fire Department respond to many false alarms and in doing so, put themselves and the community at risk.  False alarms result in complacency among building occupants as they become less sensitive to fire alarms, resulting in a greater possibility that lives may be lost during future fire events.

Binghamton University’s modern computer-based central fire alarm monitoring system is designed to provide early warning of fire danger in campus buildings.  All fire alarms are immediately reported to the Binghamton University 911 emergency services dispatch center which is staffed 24-hours per day. Localized alarms sound in all buildings.

University Police, Environmental Health and Safety and members of the local fire department respond to fire alarms to prevent or mitigate the chance of fire, to respond to fires in progress and ultimately, to ensure the safety of campus students, faculty, staff and visitors.

Prohibited Items

To prevent or greatly reduce the fire potential, prohibited items include but are not limited to:

    • Extension cords (only power strips with surge protectors are allowed)
    • Multi-plug adapters
    • Candles or open flame devices
    • Incense
    • Toaster ovens, hot plates , Foreman style grills, deep fryers
    • Halogen, torchier, or multi-head lamps
    • Fog machines
    • Electric heaters
    • Air conditioners
    • Holiday lights
    • Non-fire treated tapestries or other wall coverings, including flags
    • Coffee pots (units with an auto shut-off feature and Keurig-style coffee makers are allowed)
    • Fireworks and pyrotechnics

Note: Any illegal appliance which comes to the attention of a university official will be confiscated and the student will be referred to the appropriate disciplinary board.

Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers should be utilized for their intended purpose and should not be removed from their assigned areas. Fire extinguishers should only be used by trained personnel.  To receive training, individuals may contact the office of Environmental Health and Safety at (607) 777-2211.

Fire and Smoke Doors

Fire and smoke doors must be kept closed at all times.  These doors are in place to save lives and minimize damage to buildings and personal property.

Fire Drills

Fire drills in residence halls are scheduled periodically, in accordance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and local fire-safety codes.  Fire drills are intended to ensure occupants are aware of exit locations, assembly areas and that emergency-response personnel know their respective and mutual responsibilities.

Students, faculty and staff shall participate in fire drills.  When a fire alarm is activated, it is mandatory that all persons evacuate the building.  Practicing evacuation procedures during drills and alarms is the best way to prepare for a real fire.  When a fire alarm is activated, all individuals exit the building and proceed to the designated assembly area.  The building shall be completely evacuated.  It is against the law to not vacate a building during a fire alarm.

Safety Checks

Residential Life Resident Assistants (RAs) are responsible for occasional inspections of residential rooms.  RAs are encouraged to be mindful of safety policies and regulations and immediately report any infractions and/or concerns to supervisors.  Residential Life Staff are not trained as code enforcement experts, but rather to enforce policies designed to protect the community from hazardous conditions.  Residential Lief Staff will document fire/safety violations for remediation and/or judicial referral when observed.

In the interest of fire prevention and safety, Binghamton University students, faculty and staff must maintain an awareness of various potential building hazards in their respective areas.  Always remove clutter; properly dispose of old papers, books, boxes, printouts and anything which is potentially flammable and no longer of use.  Always keep halls and doorways clear.

Fire Evacuation

General

All building occupants are required by New York State Law to evacuate the building when the fire alarm sounds.  Any fire alarm calls for an immediate and full building evacuation.  Follow the building's general evacuation procedures as soon as you hear the fire alarm.  In the event of an actual fire-related emergency, 911 should be called immediately.

Upon the triggering of a fire alarm, residents and guests should be directed to leave the building, and University Police should be contacted and provided with as much information as possible, including the building’s location and name, and the location of the alarm.  During an evacuation only the stairways should be used; elevators should never be used.  Buildings may only be re-occupied when authorized by a university official or a member of the local fire department.

False Alarms

False alarms are serious pranks that have the potential for creating panic situations, as well as being the cause of unintentional injury.  Any individual found responsible for causing an intentional false alarm will be referred to the campus judicial board and/or prosecuted criminally.

Fire Response Guidance for Individuals

    1. Remain calm.
    2. Activate the building fire alarm if it is not already sounding.
      • Pull an alarm station on the way out.
      • If the building is not equipped with a fire alarm, knock on doors and shout on your way out.
    3. Leave the building by the nearest exit.
      • Assist individuals with disabilities and those who appear to need direction.
    4. Notify emergency responders from a safe place away from the building and proceed to the Assembly Area.
      • Call 911 from a campus phone or;
      • Call University Police at (607) 777-2222 or by dialing ext. 7-2222 from any on-campus phone. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year.
      • Use Blue Light Emergency Phones.
    5. Crawl if there is smoke.
      1. If you get caught in smoke, get down and crawl.  Cleaner, cooler air will be near the floor.  Get Low-And Go.
    6. Feel the doors before opening.
      • Before opening any doors, feel the metal knob with the back of your hand.  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 in the room.
    7. Go to the nearest exit of stairway.
      • If the nearest exit is blocked by fire, heat or smoke, go to another exit.
      • Always use an exit stairwell, not an elevator.  Elevator shafts may fill with hazardous 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 confine the fire.
      • Total and immediate evacuation is always the safest option.  Only use a fire extinguisher if the fire is very small and you are properly trained.  Do not delay in calling emergency responders.
    8. Do not re-enter the building until officials say it is safe to do so.
    9. If you are trapped in the building:
      • Place cloth material (wet if possible) around and under the 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 will be drawn inside.
      • SIGNAL FOR HELP.  Hang an object in/out the window (jacket, shirt, towel, etc.) to attract the fire department’s attention.  If you have a phone in the room, call University Police at (607) 777-2222 or dial 911 and report that you are trapped.  Be sure to give them your location and room number.
      • If all exits from a floor are blocked, go back to your room, close the door, seal cracks, open the window, if safe, wave something and shout or phone for help.
    10. If you are on fire
      • If you clothes catch fire, stop, drop and roll, wherever you are.  Rolling smothers the fire.
    11. If you are burned
      • Seek medical help immediately.
      • If medical help is delayed, use cool tap water for small burns.  Don’t use ointments.

Last Updated: 2/8/16