The University of North Dakota Office of Safety urges you to follow these practical steps to protect yourself while working, living, or learning on campus.
What to do if you see a fire?
- Activate the nearest fire alarm. If the building doesn't have an alarm system, then inform building occupants of the fire threat by any means available (PA system, verbal).
- “A-B-C” type fire extinguishers available in university buildings can be used on most types of fires, but never endanger your life or the life of others by using them. Even if the fire has been put out with fire extinguishers, the Fire Department still must be called to determine that the fire has been completely extinguished.
- If you are on or off campus, alert the fire department at 911 from a safe phone. Give your name, address, location and extent of the fire.
- Calmly alert people in the building and evacuate the building by following the EXIT signs. DO NOT USE THE ELEVATORS.
- Once an alarm has been activated and immediate attention has been given by emergency personnel to the safety of others, close corridors, windows, doors and stairwells to prevent the spread of fire and smoke.
- Remain outside the building at a safe distance.
- Meet police or fire personnel upon arrival to direct them to the fire. Inform police and fire personnel of any special chemicals, biological or radiological hazards involved.
What to do if you are caught in a fire?
- Remain Calm.
- Before opening a door, feel it with the back of your hand. If it is hot:
- Do not open the door.
- Open the windows. If possible, lower the top half of the window to let out heat and smoke and raise the lower half to let in fresh air.
- Seal the cracks around the door with towels, linen, or clothes. Soak these items in water if possible.
- To attract attention, hang objects out of the window and shout for help.
- Keep low to the floor. Take short breaths to avoid inhaling smoke. Place a wet towel over your nose and mouth. Keep your head six to eight inches off the floor.
- If the door is not hot, brace yourself against the door and open it slowly. If hot air or fire rushes in, close the door and refer to step 3.
- If you can leave, close all doors behind you and proceed to the nearest safe exit. Leave the building and stand clear of the fire. Help direct police and fire personnel when they arrive.
Evacuation for Persons with Disabilities
Taken, with permission, from Clemson University.
The following are procedures designed to assist persons with disabilities in evacuating a building during an emergency:
Faculty and staff are expected to direct the evacuation from either their classroom or work area. They are responsible for knowing the primary and alternative routes of exit. They will provide assistance to the person with a disability according to the person's directions given either to the faculty member at the beginning of each semester or to the work supervisor within the first week of employment.
Individuals with disabilities are responsible for knowing how they want to be helped during an evacuation. (For guidance on assessing the need for assistance and appropriate procedures to use for evacuation, see "Emergency Preparedness" found on the UND Disability Services for Students webpage). They are expected to convey this information to their instructors within the first week of each semester or to their work supervisors within the first week of employment. Guests of the University and campus visitors should inform the University employee/student with whom they are dealing of their need for evacuation assistance.
If there is smoke or flames in the hallway, keep the doors closed to the room, place towels under the door (if possible) and call 911. Give the operator the exact location of where you are and wait until someone arrives to give you assistance.
In case of a fire requiring evacuation, please pull the nearest fire alarm and exit the building in a calm and orderly fashion. As soon as you are safe, call 911. It is important for everyone to familiarize themselves with the exits in buildings they occupy. Always know two ways out of the building, in case one exit is blocked by smoke and fire.
How to read fire evacuation maps
- To begin look in the lower right hand corner. There you will see the name of the building you are in and what floor you are on. You will also find a directional arrow, and a "You Are Here" marking on the map, use this this information to orientate yourself.
- From the "You Are Here" marking there will be arrows leading to all the exits available to you. Based on your situation, exit using the safest and quickest exit to you. This may not always be the closest exit to you.
- Never use an elevator in the event of a fire, also try to avoid the tunnels if at all possible unless it is your only option.
- On the map all fire extinguishers and pull stations in the building are labeled. If a fire is severe enough to warrant evacuation, pull one of the pull stations on your way out to warn others in the building. Only consider using a fire extinguisher if you are trained to do so, and if you can safely do so without risk to yourself or other persons.
There are around 2,000 fire extinguishers throughout all the buildings on campus at UND. Maintenance is done on a regular basis of every single one of them so you can be sure that they are all functioning and working properly. The extinguishers are all located in conspicuous locations and as per the International Fire Code are "readily accessible and immediately available for use".
Fire Extinguisher Training Handout
All RA's on campus are trained in how to use fire extinguishers every August and additional training is available for anyone upon request.
Fire Safety & Prevention
- Know every regular and emergency exit from the building you are in. Know how to activate the alarm system and what it sounds like. Know the location of fire extinguishers and how to operate them.
- Arrange the contents with fire safety in mind. Maintain clear and unobstructed access to your room door, from both the outside and the inside, at all times.
- Any device that heats, cooks, or cools must be plugged directly into a permanent outlet (no extension cords or power strips).
- Do not overload electrical outlets. Do not use broken, frayed or cracked electrical cords. Do not suspend lamps or lights by their own cords.
- If you smoke, exercise care when smoking and do not smoke in bed.
- Do not allow excess clutter or flammable materials.
- Do not keep bicycles in the building. They should be locked in the provided bicycle racks outside of the building.
When staying at a hotel, be sure to familiarize yourself with the following hotel fire safety guidelines:
- Acquaint yourself with all hotel emergency procedures.
- Make sure you know where all emergency exits are nearest to your room, as well as any conference rooms, dining areas, and any other hotel facilities you may frequent during your stay.
- When you hear the fire alarm sounding, immediately leave your room. Be only concerned with grabbing essential clothing and your room key. Use the stairs to go to the main floor; exit the hotel as quickly as possible; and follow all directions from the hotel staff.
- If the doorknob or door is hot, do not open the door to your room. Immediately, begin to fill the bathtub with water and get all the towels and washcloths wet.
- If smoke begins to come into the room from under the door, place the wet towels across the bottom of the door.
- Use whatever means necessary to notify emergency responders that you are trapped in your room (i.e. phone, cellular phone, wave a towel in the window, shine a flashlight out, etc.).
- Do not jump from the window of an upper story room, unless told to do so by emergency responders.
Candles, incense, or similar devices with open flames are prohibited in all campus buildings. This includes dormitories and offices. Some exemptions apply in Apartment/Family Housing and for supervised special events where prior approval has been granted.
The University complies with the fire codes and standards mandated by the State of North Dakota. Combustibles are objects that are capable of catching fire and burning, including but not limited to: paper, cardboard, wood, leaves, and fabric. Some of the key combustible storage concepts in these codes and standards include:
Storage of combustible materials in buildings must be orderly.
Combustible material must not be stored in exits or exit enclosures.
Two feet of clearance must be maintained below the ceiling in non-sprinklered areas of buildings. Eighteen inches or more of clearance is required below sprinkler head deflectors in areas of buildings that are sprinkled. Thirty-six inches or more of clearance is required below fast response sprinkler heads. Storage must be arranged with this in mind.
Combustible material storage is not permitted in boiler rooms, mechanical rooms, communication rooms, or electrical equipment rooms. According to Housing's Safety & Security policy, no combustible material can be stored in equipment rooms or attic areas or similar spaces
Attic, under-floor, and concealed spaces used for storage of combustible materials must be protected on the side where the materials are stored as required for 1-hour fire resistive construction. Openings are required to be protected by assemblies that are self-closing and are of non-combustible construction or solid wood core not less than 1.75 inches in thickness. Storage must not be placed on exposed joists. Some exemptions apply in areas protected by approved automatic sprinkler systems.
Oily rags and similar materials must be stored in metal, metal-lined, or other approved containers equipped with tight fitting covers. They are to be emptied daily.
Fueled equipment, including but not limited to motorcycles, mopeds, lawn-care equipment, and portable cooking equipment, must not be stored, operated, or repaired within a building. Some exemptions apply in buildings or rooms constructed for such use in accordance with applicable fire codes and where allowed by Sections 313 or 314 of the International Fire Code. The storage surface shall be protected by placement of a barrier (e.g. plastic, cardboard, wood, drip pans) to prevent contamination from oil, gas, grease, or other hazardous material.
Combustible rubbish kept or accumulated within or adjacent to buildings or structures must be in containers complying with applicable fire codes or in rooms or vaults constructed of non-combustible materials.
Decorations must not disguise, cover, or interfere with any safety device, including fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, exit signs, sprinkler heads and piping, and fire alarm pull stations.
Live cut trees must have prior permission from Office of Safety and have a tag showing that they have been flame-retardant treated. The tag must include the name and registration number of the chemical used, the name of the applicator and the date of treatment. Keep natural trees in water at all times to slow the natural drying process.
Live trees are not permitted in the residence halls. Artificial trees are allowed when placement, lighting, decorations and monitoring rules are adhered to. They must be kept out of corridors and away from doorways and heat sources.
Lights must bear the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) seal of approval and must be of miniature size. Be certain that there are no loose sockets and that wires are not frayed or damaged. Do not run wiring through doorways, under carpeting or through holes in a wall. The use of extension cords should be avoided; rather, a multiple-outlet power strip with an internal circuit breaker is recommended. Always turn the holiday lights off when you leave the building.
Decorating guidelines for apartment housing can be referenced in the UND Apartment Policy Handbook.
For further information, contact the Office of Safety at 701.777.3341
Large fires such as bonfires, brush fires, etc, are only allowed if they have been approved by the Office of Safety and the Grand Forks City Fire Marshal. Once approved, a permit is required with the city of Grand Forks. There is a charge associated with this permit.
With the use of a recreational fire permit, the Office of Safety may approve smaller fires such as campfires. This approval is granted under specific criteria on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the Office of Safety for more information on recreational fires.
Alarm modification, other than authorized testing or maintenance, cannot be made to any University-owned and/or controlled fire alarm system without first receiving approval from and training through Office of Safety. Upon receiving approval to use alarm modification, all standard operating procedures must be followed.
The only events eligible to use alarm modification are those approved through the activity/event approval process and must fall into one of three categories: performances, rehearsals, or special assemblies.