When There’s a Fire

When You Hear the Fire Alarm

Treat fire alarms as the real thing. Evacuate immediately, as smoke from even a small fire may carry hazardous toxins. When the fire alarm sounds:

  1. Stop what you’re doing immediately. Secure any confidential work quickly. If this is not possible, take it with you.
  2. Go to the nearest stairway or designated exit. Do not carry coffee, soda or food. Take only what is necessary.
  3. Enter the stairway and move to the inside railing. Allow personnel from lower floors to intertwine with you as you go down the stairs.
  4. Once you exit at the ground floor (or designated exit level), do not stop. Go away from the building for at least 100 feet, or to your designated safety area.
  5. If you’re in an office or apartment, obey hall monitors; they’re familiar with the fire safety plan.
  6. Click here to see an example of how quickly fire and smoke can spread.

If a Fire Occurs in Your Building

Call 911 to report the fire. Don’t assume someone else has already called.

  1. Before leaving, feel the door. If the door is hot, or if smoke is seeping through, do not open it. Try another door if available. If you open the door, do so cautiously, and if possible follow your escape plan.
  2. Walk quickly, keep calm and pull the building fire alarm if it’s not already ringing.
  3. If you encounter smoke, stay low where the air is better. Take short breaths until you reach the stairwell. Once in the stairwell, you’re in a relatively safe area and can move at a more normal pace.
  4. If you’re trapped in your building and cannot reach an alternate exit, keep the door closed and seal off any cracks. Call 911 if possible, report that you’re trapped and give your location in the building. Then go to a window and signal for help. Do not panic or jump.
  5. Evacuate by using the stairway, not the elevator. The elevator is reserved for use by the Fire Department.
  6. Don’t re-enter the building until directed by the Fire Department.