Emergency Action and Fire Prevention Plan

2.0 Emergency Action and Fire Prevention Plan

This section contains general emergency response procedures to be followed in the absence of department- or facility-specific procedures. The supervisor or person responsible for the area where an emergency occurs is responsible for investigating all emergency incidents and reporting them to Environmental Health and Safety.

2.1 Building Evacuations

There are several types of actual and potential emergency situations that might necessitate a building evacuation including fire, explosion, chemical spill, gas leak, terrorist threats, etc. The evacuation alarm is primarily intended for initiating a general evacuation during fire emergencies. During emergencies other than fire, the possibility that occupants could enter a danger area (e.g., chemical spill in exit path, potential explosion area, exposure to gunman, etc.) while exiting the building should be considered before initiating the evacuation alarm. In those instances where a general evacuation is not safe, the evacuation will have to be conducted room by room in buildings that do not have a public address system.

2.1.1 Physically Disabled Occupants

It is the responsibility of faculty to notify students in each class of the need to identify themselves (in private, if desired) if they will need assistance during a building evacuation and to establish an evacuation plan for those identified. Such evacuation plans may include the buddy system and the use of safe refuge areas—places relatively resistant to smoke and heat within a building (for example a sprinkler protected room or hallway, or a stairway landing) where an occupant could wait until help arrives to assist in an evacuation. If a safe refuge area is to be used, it is essential to assign, at the time of the emergency, a specific individual with the task of notifying emergency responders of the location of the waiting occupant.

Employees are responsible for identifying themselves to their supervisor if they will need assistance during a building evacuation, and the supervisor is responsible for establishing a workable evacuation plan for those employees.

2.2 Building Fires

  • Initiate a building evacuation using the nearest alarm pull station. 
  • Dial 911 to notify Public Safety and request fire department assistance.
  • If the fire is small and you have been trained in the use of portable fire extinguishers, you may attempt to extinguish the fire.
  • Use the nearest safe exit route to exit the building. Close all doors on the way out to prevent the spread of smoke and fire.
  • After exiting, immediately proceed to a safe location at least 100 feet from the building.
  • Do not re-enter the building until the all-clear is given by Public Safety or the fire department.

2.3 Medical Emergencies

  • Evaluate the immediate area for potential safety hazards (fire, toxic or explosive gas vapors, etc.) or situations that may require moving the injured to a safer location. Otherwise move the injured no more than necessary.
  • Dial 911 to notify Public Safety and request first aid assistance or an ambulance.
  • Provide emergency first aid as needed if you have been trained to do so.
  • If the injury involves exposure to a hazardous chemical, provide the Material Safety Data Sheet to the medical emergency responders. If the MSDS cannot be located in time, call the emergency room to offer the information as soon as possible.

2.4 Chemical Spills

Each employee responsible for an activity involving the use of a hazardous substance must prepare a written procedure to be followed in the event of a spill and communicate the procedure to any students, contractors, visiting scholars and scientists, and employees involved in the activity. The written procedure and associated training must include information on when to request outside assistance.

The following procedures are for chemical spills that cannot be handled safely by persons working in the area.

2.4.1 Chemical Spills Indoors

  • If the spill represents a hazard that is immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH), evacuate the room and, if necessary or in doubt, evacuate the building. 
  • Dial 911 to notify Public Safety and request assistance. Describe the situation and whether there is a potential for fire or if there are injuries. Public Safety will contact the Environmental Health and Safety emergency spill response coordinator for assistance. Be prepared to provide a description of the substance spilled and a Material Safety Data Sheet, if possible.
  • The area of the spill must be secured to prevent students or employees from entering the danger zone.
  • From a safe location, provide directions to the location and information about the spill to Public Safety or other emergency response personnel as needed.

2.4.2 Chemical Spills Outdoors

  • Dial 911 to notify Public Safety. If the hazard is primarily to the environment and the spill is too large to be cleaned up by on-site personnel, request assistance from Environmental Health and Safety. If there is a danger to people in the vicinity from fire or toxic vapors, request assistance from Public Safety and the Houghton City Fire Department.
  • Follow your Department emergency spill response procedures to contain the spill. Do not attempt a cleanup once you have determined that outside assistance is needed, or if the spill has entered the soil, groundwater, or surface water.
  • Remain a safe distance away from the spill and warn passersby to stay clear until help arrives. Be prepared to provide information about the substance spilled, including the Material Safety Data Sheet, to emergency responders.

2.5 Building Fire Safety

  • Building occupants shall not obstruct or tamper with any safety features such as exit signs, sprinkler systems, heat and smoke detectors, alarm pulls, horns, and strobes, etc. 
  • Fire doors may not be propped open except with an approved magnetic interlock device.
  • Sprinkler heads and pipes may not be used to support decorations or other items and stored materials must be at least eighteen inches below a sprinkler head.
  • Flammable and combustible storage shall be in conformance with the applicable sections of this document and the National Fire Protection Association and MIOSHA standards.
  • Stairwells shall be kept free of obstructions and shall not be used for storage, recycle containers, vending machines, etc.
  • Hallways may not be used for storage of combustible materials, items that could inadvertently be moved into the traffic path during an emergency, or items that reduce the width of the hallway.
  • Vending machines may not be located where they will reduce the width of a hallway or other building exit path during refilling operations and may not be located in stairways.
  • Items may not be placed in hallways without approval from Facilities Management and Environmental Health and Safety. Cabinets with doors or drawers will not be approved if the open drawer or door reduces the hallway width below the minimum required.
  • A minimum 36-inch clear exit aisle must be maintained from each workstation.
  • Special events must be planned so that displays and refreshment tables do not obstruct exits or exit access routes.
  • Classrooms without fixed seating shall be set up to allow access to the exit door(s) from each row of seats and seating may not exceed 49 in rooms with a single exit.
  • Additional occupants may not be accommodated in aisles, exit paths, or other portions of classrooms and other assembly areas provided with fixed seating.
  • Open flames are permitted only in laboratories and other designated hot work areas unless a hot work permit is obtained (see section 5.3 in this manual).
  • Lighted candles are not permitted except in supervised dining areas, provided they are securely supported on a noncombustible base and the flame is protected.

2.5.1 Holiday Decorations In Buildings Other Than Residence Halls and Apartments

  • Decorated artificial trees may be set up indoors and displayed starting the Monday after Thanksgiving through the end of the calendar year.
  • The use of cut natural trees is not permitted without approval from Environmental Health and Safety.
  • Electric lights and lighted decorations must bear the Underwriters Laboratories seal and must be turned off when the room or space is not occupied.
  • Decorations must be located so that they do not obstruct any exits, hallways, stairs, or firefighting equipment from view or use. No lights or lighted decorations may be placed on or near an exit sign.
  • Electric lights may not be placed on an all-metallic tree or other metallic structure.
  • Combustible decorations may not be placed in stairwells and should be kept to a minimum in corridors.
  • Lighted candles are not permitted except in supervised dining areas, provided they are securely supported on a noncombustible base and the flame is protected.

Chapter 3