University of Southern Indiana

Fire and Building Evacuation

Emergency Procedures - Fire and Building Evacuation

If you discover a fire, explosion, or smoke in a building, activate the nearest fire alarm and proceed to evacuate using the nearest safe exit.

Building Evacuation Overview for Fire:

  • When a fire alarm sounds, Indiana law requires complete evacuation of the building, even if it occurs during a course lecture or you know it is a planned fire drill.

  • There is the presence of fire, smoke or the odor of burning in the building, or upon notification by USI Public Safety officers or fire department personnel.

Be aware of all the marked primary exits from your area and building. Know the evacuation routes from your work area to the assigned EVACUATION AREA. (See evacuation routes & building plans.)

Notify USI Public Safety at 812-492-7777 or ext. 7777 from a safe location. Do not use elevators unless directed to do so by authorized emergency personnel.

Campus building fire alarms are monitored at the Public Safety dispatch. Most fire alarms in the Housing and Residence Life apartments are not received or monitored by the Public Safety dispatch, so Public Safety must be notified immediately if any audible alarm in the apartment housing areas is heard. The Public Safety dispatcher shall then notify the appropriate fire department and/or appropriate emergency personnel.

If smoke, heat, or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with the door closed. If there is a cell phone or telephone in the room, notify Public Safety on your phone and inform them of your situation. Report all fires, even those that have been extinguished, to Public Safety.

If the fire is small enough to be extinguished and you have completed fire extinguisher training, use a portable fire extinguisher to put out the fire. Never attempt to put out a fire until someone has notified the authorities. If you have any doubts about the size of the fire or your ability to extinguish it, do not try. Be safe and EVACUATE! Always report any potential fire conditions or safety hazards to Public Safety.

General Evacuation Procedures

Indiana law: Leave the building immediately when an alarm sounds or if you are instructed to do so by authorized emergency personnel.

  • Secure hazardous operations, if possible.
    • Turn off equipment.
    • If you are in a laboratory equipped with a fume hood and/or a biosafety cabinet, close hoods and sashes.
  • Warn others as you evacuate and immediately go to the building’s assigned EVACUATION AREA. (See evacuation routes & building plans.) 
  • Close doors behind the last person out. Do not lock doors. First responders need free access to all rooms in the building.
  • Each department shall designate staff to sweep their area to make sure all building occupants have evacuated.
  • Walk quickly and calmly to the nearest safe exit, or follow instructions of emergency personnel.
  • Assist persons with disabilities in exiting the building.
  • Report any missing or trapped persons to authorized emergency personnel.
  • Do not use elevators in case of fire, bomb threat, or earthquake unless authorized emergency personnel direct you to do so.
  • Once outside, move to your assigned EVACUATION AREA and at least 500 feet away from the affected building(s).
  • Keep streets and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and personnel. Stay with your group in the assigned area and await further instructions.
  • Do not return to an evacuated building until authorized emergency personnel give the “all clear” notification.
  • An evacuation alarm does not necessarily end the workday.

If You Cannot Evacuate Because of Disability, Injury, or Obstruction

  • Notify Public Safety or ask others to do the same.
  • Go to place of refuge or nearest area where there are no hazards.
  • If possible, place an article of clothing (shirt, coat, etc.) outside window or locations as a marker for emergency personnel.
  • If there is no window, stay near the floor where the air will be more breathable.
  • Persons in wheel chairs should not use the elevator unless instructed to do so by the emergency personnel. Those individuals should be placed in a place of refuge or an interior room near a stairwell.
  • The location of anyone who remains in a building should be immediately relayed to responding emergency personnel.
  • Shout at regular intervals to alert emergency personnel of your location.
  • Remain calm; responders will arrive as soon as possible.

Explosion, Aircraft Crash, or Similar Incident

In the event of a violent accident such as an explosion or aircraft crash that could render a building or area unsafe, stay calm and quickly take the following steps:

  • Immediately take cover under tables, desks or other objects that will protect against falling glass or debris.
  • Immediately notify USI Public Safety (812-492-7777 or ext. 7777).
  • You should be prepared to provide the following information:
  • Building name
  • Floor and room number
  • Nature of the emergency or problem
  • Person to contact and phone number
  • Evacuate the building or area if necessary or instructed to do so. Stay calm and walk quickly to the nearest marked exit and alert others to do the same.
  • Once outdoors, move to a predetermined EVACUATION AREA away from the affected building(s). Stay with your group, keeping streets and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and personnel, and await further instructions from emergency first responders. (See evacuation routes & building plans.)
  • Do not return to an evacuated building unless directed to do so by Public Safety officers or other emergency response agency.
  • If requested, assist the emergency responders.

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