Safety Message #9
Those of us in the MHC building have been plagued this past year with fire alarms! So, I'd like to kick off the new academic year by talking about protocols and procedures for fire alarms along with fire safety in general.
First, it is imperative that we treat every fire alarm as though there is an actual emergency. When the alarm sounds, please evacuate the building quickly and gather at the designated muster point for emergencies. In order to accomplish this, please take a second to familiarize yourself with your building's designated muster point along with your exits. These are designated by Environmental Health and Safety and generally located in grassy areas at least 150 feet away from the building. The muster point for the MHC and MHA buildings is the large grassy area to the north of the MHA building or the area in front of the MHB building. The muster point for the PCD building is the grassy area between the PCD and MUS buildings and the muster point for the SOC building is the grassy area to the northeast of the building.
Second, if you are teaching and a fire alarm sounds, your students will look to you for guidance. It is very important that you remain calm and are able to get your students out of the classroom safely to the muster point as quickly as possible.
Third, once gathered at your muster point, you and your students must not re-enter the building until your receive an all clear from someone in authority - usually a University Police Officer. Remember, a silenced alarm does not mean that the danger has been cleared.
Fourth, if there is an individual in your area who may need special assistance during an emergency, they should evacuate to an area of refuge (a stairwell) and wait there until first responders arrive. Co-workers should notify first responders of the individual's location.
As for fire safety, the State Fire Marshal conducts annual inspections of every building on the USF campus. The following is a list of repeat violations found across campus, along with safe alternatives:
- Extension cords "daisy chained" into power strips - long power strips may be used.
- Unsafe space heaters in use - purchase space heaters with an automatic shut off in case it tips over. Alternatively, submit a work order to have the temperature in your office raised.
- Storage closets with boxes and paper stacked too close to the ceiling - ensure that there is at least a 24 inch space between your storage items and the ceiling.
Finally, please note the nearest fire alarm and fire extinguisher to your office or classroom. Extinguishing a small fire or alerting the building to a growing fire can save lives!