Fire & Life Safety

Fire Alarm Policy

It is the policy of the Radford University Police Department (RUPD) to immediately respond to all fire and trouble alarms and reports of fire and smoke reported on campus and within the department’s jurisdiction. On all fire alarms, trouble alarms, and reports of fire or smoke, RUPD Communications will immediately assign a Police Officer to the call. Radford City Fire Department (RCFD) will be contacted by RUPD Communications to respond to all fire alarms and reports of fire or smoke, it may not be necessary to contact RCFD if a trouble alarm has sounded. When RUPD arrives on scene during a fire alarm, the Officer will assist in the evacuation of the building and will wait to assist RCFD. If the Police Officer notices an obvious cause for the alarm, he/she will notify RUPD Communications who will relay that information to RCFD. RUPD will also notify RCFD in the event of people trapped inside the building or located in areas of rescue. RUPD will then assist RCFD in investigating and sweeping of the building to determine the cause of the alarm. RUPD Communications may have to contact the appropriate Facilities Department personnel in order to clear a problem with fire detection equipment. Ultimately, it is a determination by RFCD to clear the alarm and allow people to return to the building. Radford University Police Department or Facilities Department may help with the physical act of clearing the fire panel and resetting the alarm.

Fire Extinguisher Program

1.0  Scope and Application

  1. The requirements of this section are in compliance with OSHA regulations and apply to the use, maintenance, and testing of portable fire extinguishers provided for the use of employees.

2.0  General Requirements

  1. Portable fire extinguishers will be provided, mounted, located and identified so that they are readily accessible without subjecting employees to possible injury.
  2. Only approved portable fire extinguishers will be used.
  3. Portable fire extinguishers will be maintained in a fully charged and operable condition and kept in their designated places at all times except during use.

3.0  Selection and Distribution

  1. Portable fire extinguishers will be provided for employee use and selected and distributed based on the class and size of anticipated fires.
  2. Portable fire extinguishers will be distributed for use by employees so that the travel distance to any extinguisher is 75 feet or less for Class A fires.
  3. Portable fire extinguishers will be distributed for use by employees so that the travel distance to any extinguisher is 50 feet or less for Class B fires.
  4. Portable fire extinguishers used for Class C hazards will be distributed on the basis of the appropriate pattern for the existing Class A or Class B hazards.
  5. Portable fire extinguishers or other containers of Class D extinguishing agent will be distributed for use by employees so that the travel distance from the combustible metal working area to any extinguishing agent is 75 feet or less. Portable fire extinguishers for Class D hazards are required in those combustible metal working areas where combustible metal powders, flakes, shavings, etc., are generated at least once every two weeks.

4.0  Inspection, Maintenance, and Testing

  1. The Safety Office is responsible for the inspection, maintenance and testing of all portable fire extinguishers on campus.
  2. Portable extinguishers will be visually inspected monthly by safety office personnel and housekeepers.
  3. The Safety Office will conduct an annual maintenance check on all fire extinguishers. The maintenance date will be recorded and the record kept for one year.
  4. Stored pressure dry chemical extinguishers that require a 12-year hydrostatic test will be emptied and subjected to applicable maintenance procedures every 6 years.
  5. When portable fire extinguishers are removed from service for maintenance and recharging another fire extinguisher will be put in its place.

Hydrostatic Testing

  • Hydrostatic testing will be performed by trained persons with suitable testing equipment and facilities.
  • Portable extinguishers will be hydrostatically tested at the intervals listed in the following table:
Type of extinguishers     Interval (years)
Cartridge operated water and/or antifreeze5
Stored pressure water and/or antifreeze5
Wetting agent          5
Dry chemical with stainless steel5
Carbon Dioxide     5
Dry chemical, aluminum shells12
  • Portable fire extinguishers will be hydrostatically tested whenever they show new evidence of corrosion or mechanical injury.
  • Extinguisher shells, cylinders, or cartridges which fail a hydrostatic pressure test, or which are not fit for testing will be removed from service and from the workplace.
  • The Safety Office will maintain records that hydrostatic testing of fire extinguishers has been performed at the proper time intervals. The record will include the date of the test, the signature of the person who performed the test and the serial number, or other identifier, of the fire extinguisher that was tested. Records will be kept until the extinguisher is hydrostatically retested again or is taken out of service, whichever comes first.

5.0  Training and Education

  1. The Safety Office will provide an educational program to familiarize employees with the general principles of fire extinguisher use and the hazards involved with fighting a fire.
  2. The education program will be provided upon initial employment and at least annually thereafter.

Fire Safety Plan

1.0   Introduction

Fire safety is an important area of concern for every college and university. The potential for loss of life or injury from a fire-related incident can be a serious risk on campus. In addition, few occurrences on campus represent a greater potential for property loss than a serious fire or explosion. Every institution of higher education should have a comprehensive fire safety program. The program should take a proactive approach to recognize and evaluate fire safety risks and institute appropriate steps to remove or reduce them.

An effective fire safety program requires sufficient resources to attain code compliance, education of the campus community in fire safety practices, and enforcement to correct fire safety violations. Beyond basic life safety code compliance, fire safety should be a primary component in the design and construction of new or renovated campus buildings. Equally important are the inspection, testing and maintenance of alarm systems, sprinkler systems, emergency signs and lighting, inspection of smoke detectors, and maintenance of fire suppression equipment. Fire risk analysis coupled with fire prevention programs are additional key components of a comprehensive fire safety program.

This manual is designed to provide guidelines for identifying, monitoring, and addressing fire safety issues at Radford University. The manual describes emergency procedures, fire safety equipment, drills, inspections, training, and procedures that will reduce the possibility of fires. In addition, the Fire Safety Manual describes duties and responsibilities of safety personnel, resident directors, building wardens, campus police, and provides for notification of campus administrators. The Manual is evaluated and revised annually by the Safety Manager and the Fire Safety Specialist.

The rules, regulations, and recommendations in this manual are in conformity with codes established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code (VSFR), Building Officials and Code Administration (BOCA), International Fire Code, and  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

2.0  Fire Detetion and Warning Equipment

Fire alarms.  Manual pull-stations are located along the means of egress, usually at exit doors, to provide a means to alert occupants to a hazardous condition. Except for Dalton and Davis Halls, alarms in academic buildings alert personnel in the building but do not summon the Police or Fire Department. Resident Hall alarms are connected to the Campus Police Department. To reduce malicious alarms some stations are equipped with covers that sound an internal alarm when the cover is removed.

Testing. Fire alarm systems are installed, repaired, and tested, by outside contractors and the Facilities Management Department. Fire alarms are tested monthly in academic buildings by Facilities Management. The system is activated from a different pull station each month. Resident Directors pull a different alarm every month to check the system in the Residence Halls. All horns are checked for operation. Alarms in the Residential Halls are completely tested every six months by an outside contractor in accordance with NFPA regulations. Problems are corrected as quickly as possible. Records are maintained in the Safety Office concerning all tests.

False Alarms. Persons who knowingly turn in a false fire alarm endanger the lives of others and may cause damage to the persons and equipment responding to the false alarm. This is a violation of the Code of the State of Virginia and may result in jail terms and/or fines. Persons maliciously activating fire alarms or fire detection equipment will be severely disciplined. Possible dismissal from student residence, expulsion from school, and/or criminal prosecution is possible.

Investigations. All fire alarms are investigated by the Fire Safety Specialist to determine the cause and to prevent recurrence of the alarm. A fire incidence report is completed by the RD's in Residence Halls and forwarded to the Safety Office for review. The building warden in academic buildings is responsible for notifying the Safety Office.

3.0  Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors respond to both visible and invisible products of combustion and sense fire at the earliest practical detection stage. Since the mid 1970's, when smoke detectors became widely available, there has been a tremendous reduction in the number of fire deaths in the U.S. Smoke detectors are used for numerous fire alarm functions ranging from warning occupants to automatically closing doors.

Locations. Residential buildings have single station smoke detectors located in sleeping areas. Hardwired detectors are located in the halls and battery operated detectors are located in each student room. Detectors located in the halls and other public areas are connected to the building alarm system. Except for Norwood Hall, units located in bedrooms are not connected to the building alarms. Battery powered and hardwired smoke detectors are also located in certain academic buildings and off-campus buildings. Some smoke detectors are connected to the fire alarm system and provide many functions such as shutting down air handler units, elevator recall, and release of magnetic door holders. These detectors are powered by the building fire alarm power source.

Battery powered smoke detectors in student rooms should be tested weekly to ensure proper operation. Students are responsible for checking their own smoke detector. Any problems should be reported to the RD as soon as possible. The Resident Director inspects all room smoke detectors during school closings (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring, Summer). Inspections are documented and sent to the Safety Office for review. All problems are sent to Facilities Management for repair.

The Resident Director will, at the beginning of each semester, post signs on the hall bulletin boards reminding students to check room battery operated smoke detectors every week. Notices are also broadcast over the RU television station to remind students to check their smoke detector. Hardwired smoke detectors in the Residence Halls are inspected semiannually by an outside contractor.

Maintenance. In order for smoke detectors to function properly they must be periodically cleaned and tested. Resident Directors change batteries as needed. Batteries are routinely changed every year by Facilities management. Dust accumulates in detectors over time and reduces the ability of the detector to detect smoke. Simple vacuuming on a regular cycle increases life expectancy and reliability. Hardwired smoke detectors in the Residence Halls are cleaned and tested by an outside contractor every six months to ensure the sensing chamber and alarm circuits function properly. The Facilities Management Department cleans room detectors yearly.

Abuse. Misuse, deactivation or tampering with smoke or heat detectors is prohibited. Smoke detectors must not be covered or blocked. Nothing may be attached to the wiring of hardwired detectors.

4.0  Heat Detectors

Heat detectors typically operate when a preset temperature has been reached or a rapid temperature change occurs. Heat detectors are the least expensive fire detectors and have the lowest false alarm rate. They are also the slowest in detecting fires.

Locations. Heat detectors are frequently found in mechanical rooms, storage rooms, attics, and other normally unoccupied areas. These devices are also found in kitchen areas, where smoke and steam could cause smoke detectors to give false alarms.

Inspection and Maintenance. Heat detectors are tested every six months by an outside contractor.

5.0  Fire Suppression Equipment

The university maintains appropriate fire suppression systems in each building to include: fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, standpipes, interior hose packs, and automatic halon extinguishing systems.

6.0  Portable Fire Extinguishers

Portable fire extinguishers are the first line of defense against a fire. They are designed to extinguish or contain a small fire or open an escape route. Portable fire extinguishers are not designed to fight a large or spreading fire. Fire extinguishers should be used after the evacuation plan has started. If you know how to use an extinguisher, locate and identify the ones in your area . . . before you need them.

Operation. Fire extinguishers should only be used by persons trained in their proper use. If you have the slightest doubt, get out and call the fire department.

1. Never fight a fire if:
The fire could block your escape route.
You are unsure of the proper operation of the extinguisher.
You are in doubt that the extinguisher is designed for the type of fire or is large enough.

2. Fight the fire only if all of the following are true:
The fire department has been notified.
The area has been evacuated.
The fire is small and confined to its immediate area of origin (wastebasket, sofa, small appliance).
You have a way out and can fight the fire with your back to an exit.
You have the proper extinguisher and know how to use it.
You use careful judgement and get out fast if the fire starts to spread.

3. To operate a fire extinguisher, recall the word PASS:
PULL the pin by grasping the extinguisher neck in one hand and removing the pin with the other.
AIM the nozzle, hose, or horn at the base of the fire.
SQUEEZE the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
SWEEP from side to side at the base of the fire until it is out.

Responsibilities. Approximately 1000 portable fire extinguishers are located on campus. The Fire Safety Specialist is responsible for training, inspecting, testing, and refilling fire extinguishers.

Types of fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers vary in type based upon the extinguishing agent they contain. Every extinguisher must be clearly labeled to show the classification of the fires it is effective against. Water fire extinguishers must be labeled to indicate that they cannot be used on electrical fires. Pictograms show in blue the type of fire the extinguisher should be use against. Fires on which the extinguisher should not be used are shown in black with a red slash through the pictogram. Extinguishers may carry labels, pictograms or both.

Class A. Class A fire extinguishers are used to extinguish fires in ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, cloth, rubber, and plastics. These extinguishers should not be used on electrical, flammable liquid or combustible metal fires. Extinguishers effective against type A fires contain water or a special dry chemical agent.

Class B. Class B fire extinguishers are effective against flammable liquids and gas fires such as solvents, oil, gasoline, and grease. Dry chemical agents, carbon dioxide, and halogenated agents are typically used. Water will only spread a flammable liquid fire and should not be used as an extinguishing agent for Class B fires.

Class C. Class C fire extinguishers are used to extinguish fires involving energized electrical equipment. Non-conducting agents such as dry chemical, carbon dioxide, or halogen compounds are used. Water should never be used to extinguish an electrical fire.

Class D. Class D fire extinguishers contain a special granular formulation that is effective against combustible metal fires such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and lithium. Normal extinguishing agents must not be used against combustible metal fires because they may increase the intensity of the fire.

Class ABC - ABC fire extinguisher will put out most types of fires that could start on campus- wood, paper, flammable, and electrical fire. These extinguishers are also known as multi-purpose extinguishers. Most extinguishers on campus are classified as ABC.

Fire extinguishers are installed according to guidelines established by BOCA and NFPA. Laboratories, workshops and other areas in which flammable solvents are used must have an appropriate fire extinguisher. Travel distances should normally be less than 75 feet for ordinary combustible and 50 feet for flammable liquids.

Fire extinguishers should be readily accessible and the location of the extinguisher should be clearly identified. Fire extinguishers must be mounted off the floor and no higher than five feet. Extinguishers weighing more than 40 lbs. should be mounted no higher than 3 2 ft.

All portable fire extinguishers are visually inspected each month under the supervision of the Safety Office. Resident Directors may assist the Fire Safety Specialist in the Resident Halls. Missing, discharged, or damaged fire extinguishers are usually replaced by the Safety Office within one week in low hazard areas. Fire extinguishers are replaced within one day in high hazards areas and areas with overnight accommodations. Broken glass in fire extinguisher boxes in the Residence Halls will be replaced by the Resident Directors.

Records. Maintenance, hydrostatic testing records and an inventory of all fire extinguishers are maintained by the Fire Safety Specialist. Records are kept in the Safety Office for monthly inspections. Hydrostatic testing and maintenance records are placed on the fire extinguisher.

Training on the proper use of portable fire extinguishers is offered by the Safety Office for faculty, staff, and students. Classes can be scheduled by calling the Safety Office at 831-5860.

Maintenance of portable fire extinguishers is performed by the Fire Safety Specialist. Automatic extinguishers located in kitchens are tested by a qualified and licensed contractor. Every fire extinguisher is numbered and a record kept showing the inspection date, maintenance date, type of extinguisher, and name of the person performing the maintenance. Upon completion of the routine yearly maintenance the fire extinguisher tag is initialed. Maintenance procedures include a thorough examination of mechanical parts, extinguishing agent and expelling means. Hydrostatic testing is performed within the time specified by the manufacturer according to NFPA 10. Hydrostatic testing is done by an outside contractor.

Portable Halon Systems
- Halons are colorless, odorless, non-corrosive gases that extinguish fires by inhibiting the chemical reaction of fuel and oxygen. Halon systems are 2.5 times more effective than carbon dioxide and will discharge 6-10 times faster. Because of environmental concerns, however, these systems are being phased out. Portable halon fire extinguishers are located in several computer labs on campus. These units are rated "ABC" and are inspected monthly by the Fire Safety Specialist.

Misuse of fire extinguishers is prohibited. Fire extinguishers are not to be removed from their proper locations or discharged unless there is a true fire emergency. Anyone found tampering with a fire extinguisher will be subject to disciplinary action. Report vandalism and/or discharged fire extinguishers to Facilities Management.

7.0  Overhead Fire Extinguishing Equipment

Kitchen Fire Protection Systems. Kitchen systems consist of cylinders of dry or wet extinguishing agent connected by piping to discharge nozzles. The nozzles are located in the kitchen hoods over cooking appliances such as grills and deep fat fryers. The extinguishing agent is activated by manual activation of a pull station or discharge button, or automatic activation of heat activated fusible links in the hood. Systems in Dalton Hall will activate the building alarms. Systems in Muse and McGuffey Halls will not activate the building alarm. Dry chemical systems act the same way as ABC dry powder fire extinguishers. Powder from these systems smothers the fire and can cover everything in the kitchen. A kitchen can be put out of operation for several hours. Wet chemical systems use a foamy material similar to soap that smothers and cools the fire. The wet extinguishing agent stays in the hood area and does not spread throughout the room.

Fire suppression systems in the kitchens are inspected and cleaned by an outside contractor. Hoods and ducts are cleaned quarterly. Filters are inspected and cleaned quarterly or as needed. Fusible links are replaced every six months. The Fire Safety Specialist conducts periodic inspections to oversee the work of the contractors.

8.0  Standpipes and Hose Systems

The purpose of a standpipe system is to provide hose connections inside the building, usually located in or near stairwells. Hose connections may be designed for use by the fire department or building occupants. Generally 2.5 inch lines are used by fire departments and 1.5 inch lines by occupants.

Use. Hoses should be used only by trained personnel. Standpipe systems should be used with caution because the pressure may be difficult to control. Unless occupants are properly trained, it is best to leave hose lines to fire fighters. Hose connections should be in readily accessible locations, clearly visible, and in good working order.

Inspections. Approximately 50 standpipes are inspected every year for water flow by personnel in the Facilities Management Department and an outside contractor. Standpipe systems are visually inspected monthly by the Safety Office.

9.0  Automatic Sprinkler Systems

Automatic sprinkler systems consist of a series of pipes and nozzles that distribute water when heat activates the sprinkler heads. Most sprinkler heads activate at 165 F. Only the heads exposed to this heat will discharge. They are typically connected to the building fire alarm systems. Automatic sprinkler systems are extremely effective at preventing fire spread. In terms of life safety there have been no reported cases of multiple deaths occurring in fully sprinkled buildings where the system was operating properly. Sprinklers seldom fail to control fires, but when they do, failure is usually due to a closed supply valve.

Automatic sprinkler systems are located in the following buildings: Dalton, Russell, Norwood, trash shoots in Muse, Preston Stage, Porterfield, Davis hall, and the Dedmon Center. In addition several storage rooms and off-campus buildings are sprinkled.

Inspections. All automatic sprinkler systems are inspected quarterly by an outside contractor. Documentation is maintained in Facilities Management.

Storage shall be maintained at least 18 inches below the sprinkler head. Sprinkler heads must be kept clean and not painted. Ensure that all heads are pointed down. Do not cover or block sprinkler heads. Piping shall not be used to support ladders, equipment or other materials.

10.0  Fire Safety Inspections

Buildings. A comprehensive inspection of all university buildings is conducted quarterly by the Fire Safety Specialist to ensure compliance with applicable fire codes. Reports are sent to affected departments and Facilities Management for correction.

Equipment. All pressure vessel heating units are inspected annually by an outside contractor. An inspection certificate will be placed near each piece of equipment. Electrical panels, large motors, and air-conditioning equipment are inspected annually by Facilities Management.

Fire Protection Equipment. All fire suppression and detection equipment is periodically inspected by Facilities Management, the Safety Office, or an outside contractor to ensure safe operation.

State Fire Marshal. Code compliance inspections are conducted in the Residence Halls every year by the State Fire Marshal's Office. Corrections are made in a timely manner.

Residence Halls. Resident Directors perform a monthly fire safety inspection using a form provided by the Safety Office. This will include an inspection of all fire extinguishers, storage rooms for combustible materials, hallways for obstructions, exit lights, firedoors, and to ensure that fire evacuation procedures are conspicuously posted. The form is signed and returned to the Safety Office for correction of fire hazards. The Safety Office also conducts quarterly inspections of the Residence Halls.

Building Plans. Building plans for new and renovated campus construction projects are reviewed by the State Fire Marshal's Office for compliance with life safety codes and applicable fire safety standards.

Reports. Deficiencies concerning unsafe conditions are issued to appropriate supervisors in the Facilities Management Department for correction. Re-inspections are conducted quarterly by the Fire Safety Specialist. Deficiencies not corrected are reported to the Safety Manager and the Director of Facilities Management. Violations concerning unsafe acts are reported to the individual and his/her immediate supervisor. Failure to comply with fire safety regulations may lead to disciplinary actions including possible dismissal.

Vacations. It shall be the responsibility of the Campus Police to inspect and check each floor of the building daily. They shall make sure that all fire doors are closed and report all unsafe conditions to Facilities Management.

11.0 Fire hazards in academic and residential buildings

Fire hazards at a university can range from popcorn in a microwave oven to flammable liquids stored in a laboratory. Usually most fires are small and are quickly extinguished. Fires on college campuses are especially difficult because of the population density. Students are concentrated in classrooms, places of assembly, and dormitories. When a fire starts, it can affect a large population at one time. Another problem complicating the fire problem on campuses is the nature of the buildings. Buildings housing classrooms and residences can be old, unprotected with open stairwells, and have limited fire equipment.

The following procedures are designed to reduce the potential for fires in academic and residential buildings by controlling combustible materials, reducing ignition sources, and ensuring that means of egress are properly maintained.

Prohibited items

  1. Firearm ammunition and explosives (including firecrackers) are not permitted in university buildings.
  2. Motorized vehicles (motorbikes, mopeds, or motorcycles) may not be stored or parked inside buildings under any circumstances.
  3. Flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, charcoal lighter, turpentine, or similar substances, and flammable gases may not be stored in any university housing unit. Gasoline is not allowed in any university building unless stored in a safety can or flammable storage cabinet.
  4. The storage of excessive amounts of paper is prohibited in University Housing.
  5. Open or enclosed flame devices including kerosene lamps, stoves, candles, or similar items are not permitted in university housing units.


  1. In the residence halls, several student rooms are wired into the same circuit. To prevent overheating of circuits and possible fires do not plug more than two appliances into an electrical outlet.
  2. Extension cords are for temporary service only and cannot be used in place of permanent hardwiring. Cords must not be routed unsafely (under carpet, etc.). Spliced, taped, frayed, or undersized cords must not be used. Unsafe extension cords may be confiscated and disconnected. Generally, extension cords should be limited to use by maintenance personnel. Extension cords are not allowed in Residence Halls.
  3. Refrigerators are permitted in student rooms if they do not exceed a capacity of 2.5 cubic feet and use less than two amps.
  4. Air conditioners, microwave ovens, hot plates, heating coils, and toaster ovens are prohibited in residence hall rooms. Other appliances may be banned at the discretion of the Residence Hall staff and/or Fire Safety Specialist. Irons, coffee pots, popcorn poppers, and hotpots are permitted if constantly monitored.
  5. Power strips and multi-plug adapters are acceptable if they contain a 15-amp circuit breaker. Power strips cannot be daisy-chained. 
  6. Never leave an appliance unattended when it is plugged in.
  7. Use the appliance only for its intended purpose.
  8. Never use an appliance if it has a damaged cord or plug, is not working properly, or has been dropped or damaged.
  9. Never block the air openings of an appliance.
  10. Do not use an appliance where flammable liquid vapors, or aerosol products are being used.
  11. Coffee pots should have an automatic shut off. Coffee pots should be near a door so they can be seen as people walk out of the door.
  12. Dimmer switches and ceiling fixtures may not be installed.

Space Heaters

  1. Space heaters must be electric powered. Fuel powered (propane, kerosene) are not permitted.
  2. Space heaters must be UL (Underwriters Laboratory) approved and have a tip-over shutdown switch.
  3. Place space heaters at least three feet from combustible materials.
  4. Turn the heater off and unplug it when leaving the area.
  5. Space heaters are not permitted in laboratories, areas used primarily for storage, and in areas where flammable liquids are present.
  6. Space heaters are not allowed in sleeping units of residential halls unless approved by Residential Life, the Safety Office and the Director of Facilities Planning and Construction.  Approved heaters must be oil-filled radiator types or contain ceramic heating elements.
  7. Space heaters must have a thermostat that automatically shuts off when a certain temperature is reached.
  8. Space heaters must be plugged directly into the wall receptacle. Extension cords are not allowed. The use of an extension cord that is not rated for your heater could cause a fire.
  9. Place heaters on the floor. Never place on cabinets, tables, or furniture.
  10. Beware of creating a tripping hazard.
  11. Do not place space heaters in exits or walkways.
  12. Do not use hot plates or toaster ovens for space heating.


Charcoal grills and other open flame cooking devices shall not be operated on combustible balconies or within 20 feet of combustible construction.

Holiday Decorations

For personal protection faculty, staff, and students are urged to use good judgment in decorating offices and classrooms so that furniture, posters, fish nets, mobiles, etc., do not create potential fire hazards.

The increasing use and availability of combustible materials for decorations and displays can lead to serious fire hazards. To prevent the possibility of fires everyone is asked to cooperate in enforcing the following safety standards for decorations and displays. Highly combustible materials include paper and cloth of all varieties, plastics, and all vegetation. It does not include lumber, peg board, or paper mache. In order to reduce the potential for fires the following procedure should be adhered to:

  1. All decorations using combustible materials shall be treated with a flame retardant solution. The label on commercial decorations will indicate if the item has been flameproofed.
  2. Paper napkins, facial tissue, waxed paper, dried vegetation, wrapping paper, corrugated cardboard, asphalt, tar impregnated paper, and light plastics such as polyethylene film shall not be used inside residence halls because they cannot be effectively flameproofed. The entrance door to student rooms should be decorated from the door knob up. This includes both sides of the door and the door jam.
  3. Paper or other materials must be kept at least 12 inches away from any incandescent or fluorescent bulb. Improvised paper shades for lights are not to be used.
  4. All electrical equipment (such as lights, wires, plugs, connectors, sockets, etc.) must be Underwriter's Laboratory approved and in good condition. The use of cube taps and improvised wiring is prohibited. Extension cords are strictly prohibited.
  5. Open or enclosed flame devices (i.e., candles, kerosene or gasoline lanterns, torches, oil lamps, etc.) are not permitted in residence halls. Open or enclosed flames are allowed in dining halls if constantly monitored. Enclosed flames are permitted in academic buildings if constantly monitored.
  6. No decorations or displays shall be erected in a way that blocks or obstructs an exit, exit lights, fire suppression equipment, or fire detection equipment. Decorations are prohibited in a means of egress. Do not hang decorations from the ceiling.
  7. The narrow corridor within the student room that leads to the doorway shall not be obstructed in any way. Furniture and other items shall not be placed near the doorway or impede exit from the room.
  8. To reduce fuel sources all materials should be promptly and properly disposed after the celebration is over or before leaving on holiday break.

Christmas Trees

The following regulations on the installation and decoration of Christmas trees should be closely observed to prevent fires:

  1. The placing of Christmas trees in stairwells and hallways is prohibited. Do not set the tree near any source of heat (radiators, stoves, fireplaces, etc.). Locate trees where they can be easily observed.
  2. Live Christmas trees are permitted in academic buildings if they are treated with a flame retarding solution. Flame retarding does not make a Christmas tree fireproof; it only retards ignition. The tree must have a fresh water supply at all times. Cut or live Christmas trees are prohibited in Residential Halls.
  3. If a natural tree is selected pick a fresh, firm needled tree.
  4. A plastic or metalized plastic tree must be clearly labeled that it is U.L. approved and constructed of slow burning plastic.
  5. Metal trees should have indirect lighting only. These trees pose a serious shock hazard if they become energized by electrical wiring. Never install lights on or in contact with a metal tree.
  6. All trees must be removed from the building before leaving for vacation.
  7. All tree trimmings shall be of non-combustible material (i.e., popcorn, bulbs, garlands, candy canes, cranberries, icicles).
  8. All strings of Christmas tree lights should be thoroughly checked for wear and tested before installation. All lighting sets must be U.L. approved.
  9. No open flame devices (candles) shall be used on or near the tree.
  10. Always be sure to turn off all decorative lighting before closing the building every night.
  11. All wiring must be inspected for splices and damage to insulation. Damaged or questionable wiring should be discarded or properly repaired.


Permit must be obtained from the State Fire Marshall's office, in accordance with section 307.2 of IFC 2006, before starting a bonfire on university property. Appropriate fire extinguishers must be available. The bonfire should be limited in size to 5 ft X 5 ft X 5 ft and must be at least 200 feet from any structure. Larger bonfires may be acceptable if the Fire Safety Specialist approves. The Radford City Fire Department must be notified. Only seasoned dry fire wood may be used. The fire must be ignited by paper. Hydrocarbon fuels are prohibited. The fire must be put out before leaving.


Good housekeeping practices can prevent fires, control the spread of fires in case of ignition, and avert injury during evacuation. The following describes several basic housekeeping requirements:

  1. Provide sufficient waste receptacles and empty on a daily basis.
  2. Keep oily rags in a covered metal container.
  3. Remove litter from hallways, stairways and floors on a daily basis.
  4. Keep the accumulation of paper and flammables to a minimum.
  5. Store combustible materials away from heating devices.
  6. Combustible materials should not be stored in attics.
  7. Frequently remove finely divided material by use of broom or vacuum.
  8. Provide sufficient ashtrays in smoking areas.
  9. Ensure that flammable liquids are stored properly.
  10. Keep passageways clear of obstacles.
  11. Do not store materials closer than 18 inches from a sprinkler head.
  12. Keep fire doors unblocked and do not prop open.
  13. Do not store materials in stairwells.
  14. Materials should never block fire extinguishers, sprinklers, and standpipe controls.
  15. Keep materials at least 36 inches away from electrical panels.
  16. If no sprinklers are present, piled materials must be kept at least two feet from the ceiling to permit use of hose streams.
  17. During vacations remove all trash and debris from inside the building. Shut off electrical power. Maintain only circuits necessary for activities. Shut off all heating equipment if the outside temperature permits.
  18. Do not allow smoking in  "No Smoking Areas".
  19. Periodically check "No Smoking" areas for evidence of discarded smoking materials.
  20. Let cigarette butts grow cold in the ash tray before emptying them in the trash can.


The following procedures are designed to ensure that halls and exits do not present a fire hazard and are maintained according to OSHA and State Fire Code Regulations:

  1. No obstructions of any kind shall be placed in front of or upon any fire escape, balcony, or other exit intended for egress from a fire.
  2. No aisle, exit access, or stairway in a place of occupancy shall be obstructed with tables, show cases, filing cabinets, coat racks, or other obstructions to reduce its required width as an exitway during the hours the facility is open to employees and the public.
  3. All exit doors shall be unlocked when the building or a portion of the building, served by the exit, is occupied. Exit doors shall swing with exit travel.
  4. Storage of any kind, or use of office or laboratory equipment in hallways is not permitted.
  5. Permanently attached lockers, bulletin boards, display cabinets, etc. may be permitted in some hallways, subject to the approval of the Safety Office. Transparent covers on bulletin boards and display cabinets must be safety glass or non-splintering material.
  6. Storage of materials on stairs, landings, or under stairs is strictly prohibited.
  7. Fire doors separating stairwells from hallways, or smoke partition doors are to be equipped with self-closing mechanisms or automatic release hold-open devices and must be maintained in working order. They are never to be blocked, wedged or tied open.
  8. Stairways, hallways, and other exitways including the exterior open spaces to or through which exits lead, shall be kept adequately lighted at all times when the building is occupied.
  9. Lighting shall provide at least 1.0 foot candles on walking surfaces.
  10. The area immediately outside building exits shall be maintained free of material at all times.
  11. Bicycles and gasoline operated vehicles are not permitted in hallways, stairwells, or on sidewalks immediately next to exits.
  12. All exits shall be marked with a readily visible sign. Doors, passages, or stairs that could be mistaken for an exit must be marked with a sign stating "Not an Exit."
  13. Emergency lighting should be provided for exit floor illumination in case of failure of normal lighting.

Public Assemblies

These procedures apply to all buildings or portions of buildings used for gatherings of 50 or more persons for such activities as entertainment, dining, amusement, lectures, seminars, etc.

  1. Employees at places of assembly should be trained in emergency evacuation procedures and know the location of fire exits and portable fire extinguishers.
  2. If evacuation is necessary in theaters and auditoriums, an announcement should be made over the PA system if available. The wording of the announcement should be established before the event and a specific person should be designated to make the announcement.
  3. In theaters or auditoriums an announcement shall be made 10 minutes before the start of the program concerning the location of fire exits. Instead of an announcement the location of fire exits may be provided in the program literature if approved by the Fire Safety Specialist.
  4. Enclosed flame devices may be used for ceremonies, theatrical performances, and the like, if approved by the Safety Office. Open flames are not allowed.
  5. Candles may be used on tables for food services if securely supported on substantial noncombustible bases located in a way that avoids a danger of ignition of combustible materials. Candles must be continuously monitored.
  6. The storage or use of flammable liquids in assembly areas is prohibited.
  7. Stage settings made of combustible materials must be treated with flame retardant materials.

12.0 Fire Hazards in Industrial Operations

Flammable solvents, compressed gas cylinders, oily rags, electrical, and mechanical equipment are frequent causes of fires in industry. These materials are frequently used on college campuses in areas such as the physical plant, laboratories, art department, and printing department. To reduce fires on college campuses the causes of fires in industrial operations must be known. Following are the causes of more than 25,000 known fires in industry:

  • Electrical- 23%
  • Smoking- 18%
  • Friction- 10%
  • Overheated materials- 8%
  • Hot surfaces- 7%
  • Open flames- 7%
  • Cutting and Welding- 7%
  • Spontaneous Ignition-5%
  • Arson- 5%
  • Chemical Action- 2%
  • Molten substances- 2%
  • Miscellaneous- 6%

Electrical and Mechanical Equipment

Electrical defects, generally due to poor maintenance, mostly in wiring, motors, switches, lamps and hot elements are the number one cause of fires in industry. Fires in mechanical equipment are usually due to friction and contact with hot surfaces. Electrical and mechanical fires can be prevented by adhering to the following guidelines:

  1. Use only UL or FM approved equipment.
  2. Install and maintain electrical equipment according to the National Electric Code.
  3. Establish regular maintenance on equipment.
  4. Ensure that extension cords are UL listed, suitable for the application, and only used as a temporary measure.
  5. Use proper size and type of fuses. Do not by-pass fuses.
  6. Ensure that terminal connections are clean and tight.
  7. Use only approved equipment in hazardous locations where flammable vapors, liquids, gases, and combustible dust are present.
  8. Do not store materials within three feet of an electrical panel.
  9. Check your work area for frayed wires, ensure that electrical equipment is working properly.
  10. When an electrical malfunction occurs always have it repaired as soon as possible.
  11. Do not use temporary or makeshift wiring unless absolutely necessary.
  12. Properly lubricate machinery.
  13. Properly adjust and/or align machinery.
  14. Ensure that hot pipes are clear of combustible materials.
  15. Provide ample clearance around boilers, furnaces, and heaters.
  16. Keep soldering irons off combustible surfaces.
  17. Remove combustible dust and lint from bearings and shafting.
  18. Keep oil holes for bearings covered.
  19. Ensure that penetrations through fire walls, floors, or ceilings are fire stopped.
  20. Do not store combustible materials in mechanical storage rooms.


Carelessly discarded smoking materials is a major source of fires. Smoking is prohibited in woodworking shops, repair garages, and in areas where flammable liquids or combustible materials are used or stored. "No Smoking" areas should be conspicuously posted. Matches and smoking materials must be discarded in a safe container rather than on the floor. Smoking should be allowed only in fire safe areas.

13.0 Flammable Liquids

Flammable liquids are among the most common occupational hazards found in the work place. Flammable liquids can easily vaporize and form flammable and explosive mixtures in air. The degree of hazard is determined by the flash point of the liquid, the concentration of the air-fuel mixture, and the availability of ignition sources. In addition, many flammable chemicals react violently with oxidizing compounds and may start a fire. The flammability properties of a chemical should be checked before a flammable liquid is used. The danger of fire and explosions can be eliminated or reduced by strict handling, dispensing, and storage procedures.


Flash point. The fire hazard associated with a flammable liquid is usually based on its flash point. The flash point is the lowest temperature at which a liquid in an open vessel will give off sufficient vapors to form an ignitable mixture with air. Many common solvents have flash points below room temperature.

Flammable or explosives range. An important factor in deciding the fire hazard of a flammable liquid is its flammable or explosive range. Once the flash point has been reached, flammable vapors will be given off that can mix with air to form an explosive mixture. Flammable liquids have an upper and lower limit that defines the range of concentrations of the vapors in air that will ignite. The lower flammability limit is the minimum concentration of the vapor in air that will sustain the spread of a flame. Below this concentration, the mixture is too lean to burn. The upper flammability limit is the maximum concentration of vapors in air that will propagate a flame. Above this concentration, the mixture is too rich to burn. The range is usually expressed as a percentage by volume of vapor in air. Flammable liquids with a lower flammability limit of less than 10% are considered unusually hazardous.

Ignition temperature.
Once the flammability range has been reached, the vapors will ignite at the proper ignition temperature. The ignition temperature of a substance is the lowest temperature necessary to cause the vapor-air mixture to ignite and continue to burn. If the vapor-air mixture is confined and there is an ignition source, an explosion will result.

Sources of ignition. Three conditions must exist before a fire can occur: fuel concentration that is within the flammability range, air, and a source of ignition. To prevent fires, it is necessary to remove one of these conditions. The easiest way to prevent fires is to separate the flammable vapors from an ignition source. Many sources such as sparking electrical equipment, open flames, static electricity, and hot surfaces can ignite flammable vapors. Close attention must be given to all sources of ignition when using flammable liquids, especially those at a lower level than the liquid. The vapors of most flammable liquids are heavier than air and can travel considerable distances.

Spontaneous ignition. Spontaneous ignition occurs when a substance generates heat faster than it can be dissipated, and reaches its ignition temperature independent of an ignition source. Materials especially susceptible to spontaneous ignition include oil, solvent or paint soaked rags.

Classes. Flammable and combustible liquids are divided into the following classes; based on flash points and boiling points. Flammable liquids are defined as those with flash points below 100 F and combustible liquids have flash points at or above 100 F. Flammable and combustible liquids are further subdivided into the following classes:

Class IA.  Flash point below 73 F (22.8 C) and boiling point below 100 F. (37.8 C). Examples include ethyl ether and gasoline.

Class IB.
  Flash point below 73 F (22.8 C) and boiling point at or above 100 degrees F (37.8 C). Examples include acetone, benzene, ethyl alcohol, hexane, isopropyl alcohol, methyl alcohol, methyl ethyl ketone, toluene, and petroleum ether .

Class IC.  Flash point at or above 73 F (22.8 C) and below 100 F (37.8 C). Examples include xylene and turpentine.

Class II.
  Flash point at or above 100 F (37 C) and below 140 F (60 C). Examples include kerosene, mineral spirits, and diesel fuel.

Class IIIA.  Flash point at or above 140 F (60 C) and below 200 F (93.4 C). Examples include phenol, pine tar oil, and fuel oil #6.

Class IIIB.  Flash point at or above 200 F (93.4 C). Examples include mineral, motor, and tung oil.

Safety Procedures

Ventilation. Ventilation is essential to prevent the buildup of vapors that could lead to fires and explosions. Vapors must be controlled by confinement, local exhaust, or general room ventilation. Ventilation systems should be designed to keep the vapor concentration below 25% of the lower flammability level. Room ventilation should be adequate to prevent the accumulation of dangerous concentrations of vapors if only very small quantities are released.

Ignition sources. Flammable liquids should never be heated with an open flame. Containers should always be kept closed to reduce the possibility of flammable vapors contacting an ignition source. When flammable liquids are used, all unnecessary ignition sources should be removed. Ignition sources include open flames, nonexplosion proof electrical equipment, hot surfaces, and static sparks.

Smoking.  Smoking is prohibited in areas where flammable liquids are used or stored.

Fire extinguishers. Appropriate fire extinguishers must be located in work areas using flammable liquids.

Warning signs. "No Smoking" and "Flammable Liquids" signs shall be prominently posted in areas where flammable liquids are used or stored.

General storage.
Flammable liquids should not be stored near heat, ignition sources, powerful oxidizing agents, or other reactive chemicals. Flammable liquids should not be stored near an exit, stairway, or any area normally used for the safe egress of people. Storage in glass bottles should be avoided if possible. If glass must be used, the bottle should be protected against breakage. The quantity of flammable liquids should be limited to what is immediately needed. Storage of flammable and combustible liquids in fire areas shall not exceed the following amounts:

  • 10 gallons in approved containers. 
  • 25 gallons in safety cans.
  • 360 gallons in safety cabinets.

As much as possible of working quantities should be stored in safety cans. Flammable liquids should not be stored above eye level. Store solvent soaked rags in closed metal containers and empty frequently.

Flammable Storage Cabinets.  Quantities of flammable liquids greater than 10 gallons must be stored in flammable storage cabinets, approved safety cans, or a properly designed flammable storage room. Approved storage cabinets are designed to protect flammable liquids from involvement in an external fire for 10 minutes. All cabinets must comply with OSHA and NFPA requirements. Metal or wooden cabinets may be used if they comply with thickness and construction specifications. Maximum storage limits for flammable liquids in approved storage cabinets are 120 gallons. Of this total, only 60 gallons of Class I and Class II liquids are allowed. No more than three such cabinets may be stored in a fire area. Storage cabinets are not required to be vented. Venting a cabinet may defeat the cabinet's purpose of protecting the contents from involvement in a fire for 10 minutes. Cabinets must be labeled in conspicuous lettering "Flammable-Keep Fire Away."

Safety Cans.  Portable approved safety cans can be used to safety store, carry, and pour flammable and combustible liquids. The main purpose of the safety can is to prevent an explosion of the container when it is heated. Safety cans must be UL listed and FM approved, and properly labeled to identify contents. All approved cans must have a lid that is spring loaded to close automatically after filling or pouring. The lid also acts as a relief valve when pressure builds up in the can. A flame arrestor screen must be inside the cap spout to prevent fire flashback into the can.

Refrigerators.  Flammable solvents must not be stored in standard refrigerators; explosions may result from the ignition of confined vapors by sparking electrical contacts. These refrigerators should be posted as unsafe for storage of flammable liquids. Only explosion-safe or explosion-proof refrigerators may be used. Explosion-safe or flammable storage refrigerators have been modified to eliminate the spark producing mechanisms. Explosion-proof refrigerators not only protect against flammable vapors inside the unit, but may also be used in rooms that have an explosive atmosphere. These units must be permanently wired to the electrical system.

Container size.  Flammable and combustible liquids must be stored in appropriate containers according to their classification. Containers of flammable and combustible liquids are limited to the following sizes:

ClassGlass or PlasticMetal cans Metal drums (DOT approved)Safety Cans (metal or plastic)
Class IA1 pt1 gal60 gal2 gal
Class IB1 qt5 gal60 gal5 gal
Class IC1 gal5 gal60 gal5 gal
Class II1 gal5 gal60 gal5 gal
Class III1 gal5 gal60 gal5 gal

Inside storage rooms. Bulk quantities of flammable liquids, such as 30 or 55 gallon drums, must be stored in properly designed indoor storage rooms or outside storage areas. Indoor storage rooms containing flammable and combustible liquids must meet the requirements of OSHA Standard 1910-106(d). These standards include spill control measures, spark-proof electrical fixtures, fire suppression equipment, and ventilation requirements.

Electrical grounding. Transferring liquids from one metal container to another may produce static electricity sparks capable of igniting the flammable vapors. To discharge the static electricity, dispensing drums should be adequately grounded and bonded to the receiving container before pouring. Bonding between containers may be made by means of a conductive hose or by placing the nozzle of the dispensing container in contact with the mouth of the receiving container. If the container cannot be grounded, then the liquid should be poured slowly to allow the charge time to disperse.

Spills. Appropriate spill kits should be available in work areas using flammable liquids. Materials should absorb the solvent and reduce the vapor pressure so that ignition is impossible.

Transportation. Flammable solvents should be transported in metal or other protective containers.

14.0 Flammable Gas Cylinders

Compressed gas cylinders are especially dangerous because they possess both mechanical and chemical hazards. Due to the large amount of potential energy resulting from compression of the cylinder, gas cylinders should be handled as high energy sources and as a potential explosive. In addition, the gases contained in the cylinders are hazardous because of flammable, toxic or corrosive properties. The most common hazard associated with gas cylinders is leakage from regulators that can allow the gas to diffuse throughout the room. Flammable gases can mix with the air and present fire and explosion risks.

Identification. The contents of compressed gas cylinders must be clearly identified and bear the appropriate DOT hazard label. Labels should not be removed or defaced. If the labeling on a cylinder becomes defaced, the cylinder should be marked "contents unknown" and returned to the manufacturer.

Transportation. Manual transportation of cylinders should always be done with a handtruck. Cylinders should be securely fastened with a strap or rope. The valve cap must be in place. Cylinders should never be lifted by the valve cap or dragged, rolled, dropped, or permitted to strike hard objects or another cylinder.

Training. Persons who handle flammable gas cylinders should be adequately trained in the physical and chemical properties of the gas and the proper methods to use the cylinders.

Storage. Cylinders shall be stored upright where they are unlikely to be knocked over, or secured by a heavy chain, strap, or base support. Cylinders cannot be stored in stairwells or within a required exit corridor. The valve protection cap must always be in place when the cylinder is not being used. Cylinders should never be stored on their sides or near a heat or ignition source. Storage areas shall be posted with the name of the gases stored, well ventilated and dry. Storage rooms should be of fire resistive construction. Temperatures shall not exceed 130 degrees F. Containers shall not be stored near readily ignitable substances such as gasoline, waste, or bulk combustibles.

Flammable gas cylinders stored inside occupied buildings shall be separated from flammable liquids, highly combustible materials, and oxidizing cylinder by at least 20 ft. or a 5 ft. high wall with a 2-hour fire rating. Flammable gas cylinders in storage and in use should be kept away from arcing electrical equipment, open flames, or other sources of ignition. Adequate portable fire extinguishers shall be located in storage and use areas and "No Smoking" signs posted. Hydrogen gas systems shall not exceed 400 cubic feet unless the Safety Manager has approved the system.

Outdoor storage. Cylinders may be stored outdoors if adequately protected from the weather and direct sunlight. It is recommended that cylinders be stored under a non-combustible canopy and protected from the ground by a concrete pad.

15.0 Welding and Cutting

Because cutting and welding equipment is portable, it brings fire hazards into areas not designated nor protected for fire hazards. Often the area near the operation has not been inspected for fuel load. Fires can be started with the generation of high temperatures from the torch and flying hot metal. All of this can be eliminated with a hot works permit system. The purpose of a hot works permit is to limit fire hazards by establishing safe working procedures. After the work is finished, the permit is returned to the department that issued the permit. Do not cut, weld, or use other flame or spark producing equipment unless the following precautions have been taken:

  1. A hot work permit has been completed and given to supervision.
  2. An appropriate fire extinguisher is readily available.
  3. Floor, walls, and ceiling are clear of flammable and combustible materials within 35 feet of the work area or the surface has been covered with a fire retardant cover.
  4. Floor openings within 35 feet are tightly covered.
  5. All equipment has been inspected and is in good working order.
  6. The sprinkler system, where provide, is in service.
  7. Smoke detectors have been prevented from alarming.
  8. The nearest manual pull station has been located.
  9. A responsible fire watch has been assigned to watch for dangerous sparks in the area.
  10. The fire watch will remain on the job site for 30 minutes after completion of the job.
  11. For confined spaces, ensure that appropriate monitoring has been done before entry, mechanical ventilation has been provided, and rescue equipment is available.
  12. Gas tanks are not taken into a confined space.

16.0 Fire Drills and Evacuation


Fire evacuation procedures are a vital part of a comprehensive campus fire safety program. Fire drills are held to familiarize occupants with drill procedures and to make the drill a matter of established routine. Providing well marked exits does not ensure life safety during a fire or emergency. Exit drills are needed so that occupants will know how to make an efficient and orderly escape. Each resident hall and department should develop a written plan that includes the location of: fire alarm pull stations, exits, evacuation routes, fire extinguishers and the location of a predetermined assembly point. A method of accounting for all employees and students must be developed. Post the phone numbers of the campus police near your phone and report any tampering or malfunction of fire protection equipment to the Safety Office. When a fire alarm sounds all employees, visitors, and students are required to evacuate until the all clear is given by the Campus Police, Safety Office or the City Fire Department.

Residence Halls

Training. During the Fall Residential Staff Workshop, each Resident Director will meet with the Resident Assistants about fire warden duties in their particular hall. The fire warden's duties and responsibilities, and evacuation routes for that particular hall will be explained. The Residence Hall Staff will undergo a series of fire alert training sessions conducted by Residence Life during the fall workshop. Students will be informed of proper fire safety measures and hall evacuation procedures at hall meetings during the first week of Fall Quarter.

Drills. Fire drills in the residential halls are conducted at least four times per year by the Resident Director in cooperation with the Fire Safety Specialist. The Resident Director will issue a report to the Safety Office and the Residential Life Office after the drill is completed. The Resident Director will notify the Campus Police, Safety Office, and the Office of Residential Life at least one day before the fire drill. Personnel will be assigned to check exits, search for stragglers, count occupants once they are outside, and to control reentry into the building. Drills will be conducted under varying conditions (e.g., blocking a fire exit) and unexpected times to help simulate the actual conditions that may occur in a fire. Emphasis will be placed upon orderly evacuation with proper discipline rather than speed. Any person who fails to immediately evacuate the Residence Halls during an alarm will be judicially charged with failure to vacate. After the drill, a meeting will be held to evaluate the drill and to solve any problems.

Evacuation Plans. Evacuation plans shall be posted on all floors of a Residential Building. The plans show the locations of fire extinguishers, fire alarm pull stations, and fire exit doors. The plans are conspicuously located and updated as needed by the Safety Office.

Procedures for reporting a fire

The person who first discovers a fire should do the following:

  1. Pull the nearest fire alarm station to alert residents. An alarm will automatically sound in the University Police Department.
  2. Remove any person in immediate danger.
  3. Call the Radford City Fire Department at 9-911. Report the fire to the Campus Police at 831-5500. Give the location and description of the fire.
  4. If the fire is small, and if you have had training, use the proper type of fire extinguisher to extinguish the fire. Do this only after the evacuation has started and the Fire Department and Campus Police have been called.
  5. If you cannot put out the fire, close all doors and exit by the nearest safe exit. Go to the assigned assembly point.
  7. The Resident Director will call the Director of Residential Life at extension 5375. The Director of Residential Life will call the Vice President for Student Affairs and other campus administrators as appropriate to the fire situation.

Procedures for exiting

  1. Exit the building as calmly and quickly as possible using the nearest safe exit. DO NOT USE THE ELEVATOR.
  2. Alert ALL persons in your area.
  3. Close windows and doors, leave the door unlocked, wear a coat and shoes, and take a towel to place over your face in case of smoke.
  4. Proceed to the assigned assembly area. Remain outside until the appropriate signal is given to re-enter.
  5. If all exits are blocked go back to your room, close the door and call 831-5500 to report your location.
  6. If your clothing should catch on fire, DO NOT RUN. Drop and roll to smother the flames.
  7. Feel the door knob with the back of your hand before opening any door. If it is hot do not open the door. Brace yourself behind the door, crouch low, and open the door slightly if it is warm. If heat or heavy smoke is present, close the door and stay in your room. Stay low to the floor.
  8. Building and/or floor wardens will assist in the evacuation of the floor, close all doors, keep all persons at a safe distance from the building, and direct the fire department to the scene of the fire.
  9. If the City Fire Department responds, they will assume control of the building. Full cooperation must be given to the Fire Department by students and staff.
  10. The Resident Director will submit a report of the fire to the Director of Housing and the Safety Office within 24 hours of the fire.

Emergency Procedures

  1. If you cannot safely leave the room, seal the cracks around the door with wet towels. Call the Campus Police at 831-5500 to report your location.
  2. Open the window a few inches for fresh air and hang a brightly colored cloth or bed sheet out the window to alert the Fire Department of your location. If you have a flashlight use it to signal with at night.
  3. If smoke gets in your room, keep low and dampen a cloth with water, place it over your nose and breath lightly through it.
  4. Stay calm. Do not jump from windows above the second floor. Rescue personnel have the proper equipment to get to you quickly.

Non-Residentail Buildings

Training. The Fire Safety Specialist will train housekeeping personnel in fire evacuation procedures for academic buildings.

Drills. Fire drills in academic buildings are conducted when deemed necessary by the Fire Safety Specialist. Fire drills in the library are conducted once a year to familiarize staff with fire evacuation procedures.

Evacuation Procedures

  1. Pull the fire alarm if available and call the Fire Department at 9-911.
  2. Report the fire to the Campus Police at 831-5500.
  3. Evacuate the building as calmly and quickly as possible going to the nearest safe exit. Alert all persons in your area.
  4. Housekeeping and Maintenance staff will assist in the evacuation of the building by directing occupants to the nearest usable exit. They will be trained in the proper use of fire extinguishers, the location of fire alarm pull stations, and will know the location of all approved exits.
  5. If the fire is small, Housekeeping and Maintenance staff will attempt to put the fire out using the proper fire extinguisher, but only after the building has been evacuated and the Fire Department notified.
  6. If the fire involves a laboratory or hazardous waste storage area the Campus Police will call the Campus Safety Manager.

Evacuation Plans

Evacuation plans for non-residential buildings are posted in all classrooms and hallways. The plans show the locations of fire extinguishers, fire alarm pull stations, and fire exit doors. The plans are conspicuously located and updated as necessary by the Safety Office. At the beginning of each semester it is the responsibility of the faculty to go over the floor plans with each class, and direct occupants to the nearest safe exit in case of an actual alarm.

Fire Safety Inspections for Residence Halls


At a minimum, two separate fire safety inspections are conducted annually in all residence halls. The first fire safety inspection is conducted as a joint inspection by the Fire Safety Specialist and a representative from Residential Life Office. The second fire safety inspection is conducted by the State Fire Marshals Office along with the Fire Safety Specialist.

The first fire safety inspection should be conducted within the first three weeks of each fall semester. The Fire Safety Specialist should make arrangements with Residential Life to schedule
these joint inspections.

During the first fire safety inspections, the Fire Safety Specialist conducts his inspection according to the requirements under Virginia Fire Prevention Code. The Residential Life representative conducts his/her inspection according to the applicable fire safety requirements under the Student Handbook.

Upon completion of the joint inspection of a building, the Fire Safety Specialist provides a list of violations for the designated building to Residential Life.

Residential Life notifies the Resident Assistants and Resident Directors of the violations and makes proper arrangements for correction. Where applicable, the students are issued the 1st notice for violations related to their room.

The second round of inspections is conducted by the State Fire Marshals Office. The Fire Safety Specialist acts a liaison for RU and provides the necessary accommodations while these inspections are conducted. Upon completion of these inspections of a building, the Fire Safety Specialist retrieves a copy of the Notice of Violations document for the designated building and provides a copy to Residential Life.

Residential Life notifies the Resident Assistants and Resident Directors of the violations and makes proper arrangements for correction. Similarly, where applicable, students are given notices for violations related to their room. For the new violations, the students are issued the 1st notice. For repeated violations, the students are issued the 2nd Notice and referred to Student Conduct.

Re-inspections are conducted by the State Fire Marshals Office and the Fire Safety Specialist until all the violations are fully abated. Similar notification and referral protocols are also followed during the re-inspections as well.