Reasons for evacuating a building

  • Visible signs of smoke and/or fire,  
  • Activation of a building’s fire alarm system

A fire may include visible flames or strong odors of burning.  The appropriate emergency action is for persons to evacuate the building quickly and safely and notify the Fire Department by pressing 911 on a telephone. 

Immediate Action

For the person discovering the fire

  • Extinguish only if you can do so safely and quickly.
  • See Appendix B for information on the operation of fire extinguishers
    • After the fire is extinguished, call UI Police - Dial 335-5022
    • In case of emergency - call 911
  • If the fire cannot be extinguished:
    • Confine the fire by closing the doors
    • Activate (pull) the nearest fire alarm, if there is one
    • Notify the Fire Department – call 911
    • Alert others
    • Meet the Fire Department when they arrive

For occupants of the building

  • Close the doors to your immediate area.
  • EVACUATE the building via the nearest exit.  Assist others in exiting the building.  
  • DO NOT use elevators.
  • Avoid smoke filled areas.

For persons evacuating from the immediate fire area 

  • Feel door from top to bottom.  If it is hot DO NOT proceed; go back.  
  • If door is cool, crouch low and open the door slowly.  Close door quickly if smoke is present so you do not inhale it.  
  • If no smoke is present, exit the building via the nearest stairwell or exit.  
  • If you encounter heavy smoke in a stairwell, go back and try another stairwell.  

 For persons with mobility concerns 


The responding Fire Department will control and make decisions at the scene of the fire.  The Fire Department will decide when to turn control of the scene back to the University Police.  University Police will decide when to turn control of the scene back to the facility tenant(s). 

Decision Maker(s)

The Fire Department will make decisions regarding the control and abatement of the fire incident, and issuing or not issuing all clear for safe building re-entry and occupancy.  At the discretion of the Fire Department Incident Commander, site control will be transferred to the appropriate University entity, e.g. the University Police or the facility tenant(s). 

Subsequent Procedures/Information

Depending on the nature and degree of the fire incident, other support agencies and University resource units may be brought in for service or assistance.