(A) The University of Alabama Health and Safety Policy Statement
The University of Alabama, concerned with the health and safety of its students, faculty, staff and visitors, acknowledges its responsibility to endeavor to create, maintain, and enhance a healthful and safe environment for all individuals associated with the institution. To this end, the University is committed to provide reasonable resources and support for the development, implementation and maintenance of an effective health and safety program.
The University is committed to the principle that such a program will minimize University losses, reduce costs, improve morale and increase productivity. For these reasons, the University requires that health promotion and accident prevention be integrated into all its academic and operational activities and has established a central Office of Environmental Health and Safety on campus which reports to the Vice President for Financial Affairs and Treasurer. This office has been charged to oversee the development and implementation of an effective health and safety program. To best fulfill this responsibility, the Office of Environmental Health and Safety will develop and assist in implementing University guidelines and standards compatible with existing external agencies’ rules and regulations. Compliance with all University health and safety guidelines will be required. All supervisory personnel shall bear primary responsibility for the health and safety concerns within their respective area.
The Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) developed these Fire Safety Policies and Procedures to reflect the policies and guidelines of the Fire Safety Program. It is the intent of the Fire Safety Program to establish uniform procedures for students, employees and guests in case of a fire or other emergency at The University of Alabama. These guidelines are in compliance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code 101 and the American with Disabilities Act. This information is not all-inclusive and EHS is not responsible for any omissions or errors.
The University of Alabama Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) acts as the liaison between the local fire department and the campus community. A representative from EHS responds to each fire alarm on campus occurring during working hours, whenever possible. EHS maintains an active database for inspection of fire alarm systems and other fire safety equipment on campus. EHS conducts code compliance inspections at all academic, administrative and housing facilities. EHS coordinates the fire safety program and provides training and information to The University community as needed.
The City of Tuscaloosa Fire Department (TFD) is the local fire department, which responds to all alarms on campus. TFD randomly inspects buildings on campus, including fraternities and sororities. Once an alarm is initiated, TFD is the only entity that can give the approval to reset a fire alarm system once the fire department has been dispatched.
The University of Alabama Department of Public Safety (UADPS) responds to all alarms on campus. Their primary responsibility is to secure the area of any immediate hazard and act as a liaison between the local fire department and the campus community when an alarm occurs on campus outside of normal working hours. UADPS also resets all fire alarm systems after TFD has given the all clear.
Each University owned building on The University of Alabama campus has an assigned building representative. It is the responsibility of the building representatives to know the number and locations of all offices, classrooms and employees working in their respective buildings. The Building Representative or their alternate may be requested to provide access to offices or classrooms within their building by locating keys or access codes to these areas. It is also the building representative's responsibility to know the locations of any physically impaired individuals within the building.
The University of Alabama Facilities Department will assist in providing access to buildings or may provide substitute space for individuals whose office, lab, classroom, etc. has been damaged by fire. EHS inventories, maintains, repairs and tests all fire alarm systems in University owned buildings on campus (excludes fraternities and sororities).
The University of Alabama Housing Department will assist in providing access to housing facilities and substitute housing for any student living in University owned housing whose on-campus residency is damaged due to fire.
The University of Alabama Dean of Students or Office of Student Life may assist in locating substitute housing for any on-campus student, including fraternity or sorority members, whose space is damaged by fire.
It is the responsibility of outside contractors working in University buildings or on The University of Alabama property to provide adequate fire protection to workers on the job site. It is also the responsibility of contractors to train their employees to evacuate the building safely during a fire alarm. Contractors working on fire alarm systems connected to the University of Alabama fire alarm system must contact UADPS at 348-5454 or EHS at 348-5905 prior to performing any work on that buildings fire alarm system. It is also the responsibility of contractors working on The University of Alabama campus to contact EHS if they will be doing any work (such as sweeping or fire alarm maintenance) which could potentially set off the fire alarm system.
All portable fire extinguishers in University owned buildings on campus (excludes fraternities and sororities) are visually inspected on a monthly basis. Each fire extinguisher is inspected to determine if the seal and pin are in tact, the extinguisher gauge indicates the extinguisher is fully pressurized and that the extinguisher is in place and operational. Any fire extinguisher found missing a seal or pin or with a low charge indicated on the gauge will be replaced. EHS is responsible for the maintenance of all portable fire extinguishers in University owned buildings on campus (excludes fraternities and sororities). Each portable fire extinguisher is inspected and reviewed to determine if hydrostatic testing, tagging or other preventive maintenance is required. All dry powder chemical fire extinguishers must be internally inspected every six years with either maintenance and recharging or hydrostatic testing and recharging performed, while carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are inspected every five years. An outside contractor provides preventive maintenance and recharging of all carbon dioxide and halon fire extinguishers in University owned buildings on campus (excludes fraternities and sororities). All ABC and BC type extinguishers in University owned buildings are recharged and hydrostatically tested at EHS. Documentation of annual inspections is maintained on the fire extinguisher tags, while documentation of monthly inspections is maintained at EHS.
It is the responsibility of those living on University property but outside of University housing to assure adequate portable fire extinguisher protection and that each fire extinguisher is visually inspected monthly and annually inspected for preventive maintenance (this includes fraternities and sororities). Fire extinguishers should always be conspicuously located and unobstructed. Documentation of the annual inspection must be placed on each portable fire extinguisher, along with documentation of any preventive maintenance performed. Extinguishers in all fraternity and sorority housing are inspected annually and prior to each registered social event by representatives from EHS.
In the event that an extinguisher is discharged in a University owned building on campus, it is the responsibility of the individual discharging the extinguisher to notify EHS immediately so that the extinguisher can be replaced while recharging and maintenance is being performed. If an extinguisher is discharged in a lab or classroom, it is the responsibility of the Lab Chemical Hygiene Officer or classroom instructor to contact EHS. Those individuals living on University property but not in a University owned building must also replace or recharge any discharged fire extinguisher in a timely manner.
Residential Advisors (RA’s) inspect bedroom smoke detectors in each housing facility at the beginning of each month while the building is occupied. A representative from EHS randomly inspects a number of bedroom smoke detectors at the end of each month in every housing facility. Annually, each summer, representatives from EHS inspect, clean and test each bedroom smoke detector in University owned housing facilities. It is the responsibility of each fraternity and sorority on University property to assure each bedroom smoke detector has been inspected prior to reoccupying the building in the fall of each year. Documentation of this inspection should be sent to EHS at 15 Research Drive, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 or faxed to 348-7773.
Representatives from EHS inspect emergency lights in University owned buildings on campus monthly to assure they are working correctly and are intact. Emergency lights are inspected annually and prior to each registered social event at all fraternity or sorority houses on campus to determine if they exist and are functional. Work orders are initiated to repair or replace emergency lights not working correctly in University owned buildings on campus. It is the responsibility of the fraternity or sorority occupying the house to inspect monthly and maintain each emergency light in their house.
Representatives from EHS inspect exit lights in University owned buildings monthly to determine if they are intact and illuminated. Exit lights are inspected annually and prior to any registered social event at all fraternity and sorority houses on campus to determine if they exist and are functional. Work orders are initiated to repair or replace exit lights not working correctly in University owned buildings on campus, while it is the responsibility of the fraternity or sorority occupying the house to inspect each exit light monthly and to maintain each exit light.
EHS schedules the inspection of all University owned kitchen commercial hood suppression systems semiannually. An outside contractor inspects each hood system, filters and replaces the fusible links. Documentation of this inspection is maintained at EHS and on the pull station for the hood suppression system. Each fraternity or sorority with an operational kitchen must have their hood suppression system inspected and maintained by a fire suppression company. Documentation of this inspection should be placed on the pull station for the hood suppression system. Use of any commercial kitchen on University property is not allowed without semiannual preventative inspections and maintenance.
Each fire alarm system is tested annually. Fire alarm systems are inventoried and tested by a certified fire alarm technician. Each smoke detector is inspected to determine if it is functional and passes a periodic sensitivity test. They are also visually inspected to verify they are in place and have not been tampered with. Heat detectors, duct detectors, audiovisuals and magnetic door holders are also inspected to confirm they are operational and work correctly. Prior to reopening any building for occupancy on University property, including fraternity and sorority housing, all life safety devices must be inspected, cleaned, and tested by a certified fire alarm company to make certain they are in place and have passed a functional and sensitivity test. While The University of Alabama Fire Alarm Technician maintains all University owned building fire alarm systems, it is the responsibility of those living in houses not owned by The University to maintain and have repairs made to their fire alarm systems. Contact EHS prior to making any additions or changes to any fire alarm system on campus. Documentation of any inspection or change made to these systems should be sent to EHS.
All water-based fire protection systems in University owned buildings are inspected and tested routinely according to NFPA 25 guidelines by an outside contractor who also provides emergency repair service twenty-four hours a day. Inspections of these systems can be weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually based upon the equipment under consideration. The weekly inspection and testing includes, but is not limited to, churn tests of fire pumps and inspections of dry system valve houses (during the winter months). The monthly inspection also includes review of all control valves to ensure they are secured in their normal operating positions. Quarterly tests consist of, but are not limited to, flow tests of sprinkler systems, tests of tamper and water flow alarms, inspections of hydraulic data plates, inspections of emergency sprinklers and wrenches, and inspections of all fire department connections. Annually, visual inspections occur throughout each facility, trip tests to dry systems, full flow tests of backflow prevention and flow tests of all fire pumps are performed. There are additional tests and inspections that are performed less frequently than annually, such as flow tests of standpipes and tests of pressure gauges, which also take place. The University of Alabama Heating and Plumbing Department maintains documentation regarding all of these inspections. Sprinkler systems in fraternity and sorority houses must be maintained according to NFPA guidelines. Documentation of this inspection should be sent to EHS.
Special extinguishing systems have been installed on campus in specific locations according to the hazards present. For instance, the Seebeck Computer Center and a lab at Nott Hall both have Halon systems. These systems are inspected and maintained by outside contractors according to guidelines outlined in NFPA. Documentation of any inspection to these systems should be sent to EHS. Contact EHS prior to the installation of any new special extinguishing agent.
Four things must be present at the same time for a fire to be produced.
There are several types of fires that can develop. Fires are classified by the fuel or combustible source recognized in the fire tetrahedron.
- Class A Type Fires – Develop when a solid combustible (such as wood, paper, cloth or plastic) is the fuel source.
- Class B Type Fires – Develop when a non-metal flammable liquid or gas (such as gasoline, oil, grease or acetone) is the fuel source.
- Class C Type Fires – Develop when energized electrical equipment act as the fuel source.
- Class D Type Fires – Develop when combustible metals (such as magnesium, titanium, potassium, or sodium) are the fuel source.
Fire extinguishers are described by the type of fire that they extinguish. Fire ratings can be found on the extinguisher faceplate signifying the type of fire they extinguish.
- Multipurpose extinguisher that can be used on Class A, B, and C fires.
- Dry chemical extinguisher filled with a yellow powder made up primarily monoammonium phosphate.
- Pressurized with Nitrogen.
- Leave a residue that can harm sensitive equipment.
- Range in size from 2.5 lbs. to 20 lbs.
- Can be used on Class B and C fires.
- Typically found in commercial kitchens.
- Pressurized with Nitrogen
- Can be used on Class D fires.
- Typically found around flammable metals in labs.
- Work by smothering the fire.
- Can be used on Class B and C fires. Filled with Carbon Dioxide under pressure.
- Recognized by the lack of a pressure gauge and presence of a horn.
- Range in size from 5 to 50 lbs.
- Leave very little residue.
- Typically found in labs, mechanical rooms and kitchens.
- Remember that if damaged, a CO2 cylinder can become a missile, so handle them with care.
- Leave very little residue.
- Typically found around computer equipment.
- Types of Extinguishers on Campus
Currently, there are dry powder type ABC and BC, halon and carbon dioxide fire extinguishers on campus. Both halon and carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are being phased out in University owned buildings on campus by replacing them with ABC dry chemical fire extinguishers.
- Locations of Fire Extinguishers
There are thousands of fire extinguishers located throughout University owned buildings on campus. All University owned apartments have fire extinguishers installed in the kitchens, while University owned dormitories have fire extinguishers positioned throughout the hallways. Extinguishers are also in labs, hallways, corridors, kitchens, mechanical rooms, laundry areas where irons are used, aircraft hangers at the airport and in certain University vehicles and equipment. Fire extinguishers should always be conspicuously located and unobstructed. All fire extinguishers are denoted on the Emergency Evacuation Plans for that building. These plans are posted throughout buildings on campus usually near elevators or main entrances. Contact EHS to request a hazard analysis for placement of a fire extinguisher or to request a different size or type extinguisher for your area. The following types of extinguishers may be located in University owned buildings on campus as follows:
- ABC Dry Powder – Found in apartments, dormitories, academic classrooms, hallways and corridors, fraternity and sorority houses, laboratories and maintenance rooms.
- BC Dry Powder – Found in commercial kitchens (including fraternity and sorority houses).
- D Dry Powder – Not found on campus. Due to the fact that many fires are a combination of several types of fires, a dry chemical ABC may be used to suppress the fire; however, it will not extinguish the fire completely. Always keep sand on hand to smother type D fires. Never use a Carbon Dioxide extinguisher on type D fires. Carbon Dioxide reacts with Grignard reagents, sodium metal and alkyllithiums.
- Halon 1211 – Found in specific laboratories.
- Carbon Dioxide – Found in maintenance rooms, labs and kitchens. These are being replaced by ABC Dry Powder.
All bedrooms in housing facilities on campus are equipped with 110-volt smoke detectors that are tied into the electrical system unless they are equipped with smoke detectors that are tied into the fire alarm system. These smoke detectors in University owned buildings are maintained by EHS. In the event that a bedroom smoke detector is broken or malfunctions, it is the responsibility of the occupant to notify the respective Resident Advisor who will send the maintenance department a work order to initiate the necessary repair. In the case of fraternities or sororities, each bedroom is equipped with electrical smoke detectors that are maintained by the fraternity or sorority occupying the space.
There are over 3000 inventoried smoke detectors tied into University owned building fire alarm systems across campus. These smoke detectors are maintained, inventoried, cleaned and replaced by EHS. If a smoke detector which is tied into the fire alarm system becomes damaged, please contact EHS to initiate the necessary repair. Anyone performing an activity, which might initiate a fire alarm smoke detector, must contact EHS or UADPS prior to performing this activity. In some cases it may be necessary for an area to be zoned out or smoke detectors disconnected until the work has been completed. Fraternities and sororities with smoke detectors tied into the fire alarm system must assure their systems are maintained in the same fashion. Prior to any changes or additions to the fire alarm system’s smoke detector activation, contact EHS. Documentation of any changes to these systems must be sent to EHS.
There are more than 400 duct detectors and 600 heat detectors inventoried in University owned buildings on campus. These detectors are maintained, inventoried, cleaned and replaced by EHS. Anyone performing an activity that might initiate a fire alarm duct detector or heat detector must contact EHS or UADPS prior to performing this activity. In some cases, it may be necessary for an area to be zoned out or detectors disconnected until the work has been completed. Fraternities and Sororities with heat detectors or duct detectors tied into the fire alarm system must assure their systems are maintained in the same fashion. Prior to any additions or changes to the fire alarm system’s heat detectors or duct detectors, contact EHS. Documentation of any changes to these systems must be sent to EHS.
There are approximately 1300 pull stations that initiate the fire alarm systems in University owned buildings on campus. Pull stations shall only be used for emergency purposes. They must be securely mounted and remain unobstructed at all times. These pull stations are maintained, inventoried and replaced by EHS. In the event that a pull station has been damaged, please contact EHS to initiate the necessary repair. Pull station covers that sound an audible alarm when they are tampered with protect some pull stations on campus. These pull station covers are operated on a 9-volt battery. Batteries are replaced in the pull station covers annually to assure they will alarm when tampered with. If a pull station cover is initiated or found alarming, contact EHS or UADPS for instructions on how to reset the pull station cover so it returns to normal or silent position. Fraternities and sororities with pull stations and/or pull station covers must assure their systems are maintained in the same fashion. Prior to making any changes to pull stations or the addition of pull station covers, contact EHS. Documentation of any changes to these systems must be sent to EHS.
Magnetic door holders are found on many stairwell doors in University owned buildings on campus. Stairwell doors cannot be propped open except by installing magnetic door holders that are tied into the fire alarm system. These magnetic door holders allow the doors to remain open until a fire alarm is activated and then automatically release when the fire alarm is activated. This is the only means by which a fire door may be held open. All other fire doors must be kept closed to protect the means of egress from smoke. An initiative will be taken to magnetically tie in stairwell doors to the fire alarm system when stairwell doors are found propped open repeatedly. If fire doors are found repeatedly propped open in fraternity or sorority houses they will be required to fund and maintain magnetic door holders placed on their stairwell doors. Prior to incorporating any magnetic door holders into the fire alarm system contact EHS.
Emergency lights are stationed throughout hallways of sleeping areas in housing buildings on campus. They are also placed in windowless classrooms and auditoriums where backup lighting may be needed if normal power fails. Emergency lights should remain lit for at least thirty minutes after normal power fails. EHS maintains all emergency lights in University owned buildings. The building representative or resident advisor of the building should report any emergency light found not illuminated during a power outage to EHS. Fraternities and sororities living in houses on The University of Alabama campus must provide adequate emergency lighting in all living quarters. It is the responsibility of the organization occupying the space to assure the emergency lights work properly during a power outage.
Exit lights are found throughout all housing facilities, academic facilities and administrative facilities indicating the means of egress. Exit lights should be illuminated at all times so the entire word "EXIT" can be read. Exit lights should remain illuminated for at least thirty minutes after normal power fails. Any exit light found within University owned housing facilities, academic facilities or administrative facilities not working or with bulbs out should be reported to EHS by the building representative or the resident advisor of the area. EHS maintains exit lights in all University owned buildings. Fraternities and sororities on the University campus must provide exit lighting to indicate the means of egress throughout the entire house. It is the responsibility of the organization occupying the space to assure the exit lights are illuminated and work properly during a power outage. Exit lights may not be removed from any exit or means of egress without prior written approval from the TFD and EHS. Contact EHS to discuss concerns regarding the placement of EXIT lights.
Hood suppression systems can be found throughout all University owned commercial kitchens on campus. An outside contractor under the direction of EHS maintains these suppression systems and any concerns regarding a hood suppression system should be directed to EHS. All operational kitchens in sororities and fraternities are considered commercial kitchens and must be handled as such. It is the responsibility of the organization occupying the space to assure the hood is inspected prior to occupancy or use of the kitchen. Documentation of this inspection should be placed on a tag attached to the pull station for the hood system.
Approximately 150 fire alarm systems can be found in buildings on campus. UADPS and the TFD monitor these systems. EHS and the Office of Construction Administration must approve any changes, alterations or additions to any fire alarm system on campus. There are only two buildings that have local fire alarms that do not connect to the fire alarm computer monitored by UADPS and TFD. These systems only alarm in the buildings. During an emergency, someone must dial 911 to initiate the dispatch of the fire trucks. EHS maintains fire alarm systems in buildings owned by The University of Alabama. Fraternities and sororities houses not in University owned buildings must assure their fire alarm systems are maintained in the same manner. Anyone tampering with or vandalizing fire safety equipment is subject to disciplinary action and/or prosecution.
Elevators may only be used by the fire department in the event of a fire alarm. For this reason, evacuation must be by stairwell - not by elevator.
(G) Fire Drills
EHS conducts fire drills semiannually in all residential or housing facilities on campus (including fraternity and sorority houses). The first fire drill is scheduled only a few days into the fall semester. This drill is announced to the Housing/Residential Life Department and fraternity/sorority representatives. It is the responsibility of the Housing Department to notify resident hall directors or assistants. Another drill is held at the beginning of the Spring Semester. This drill is unannounced to any housing or residential life representatives, fraternity/sorority officials or students. The purpose of the drills is to assure that students and employees are able to evacuate quickly and safely, and to assure everyone can hear the alarm and understands that it signifies an emergency where evacuating the building is necessary. Buildings may be searched to assure all occupants have evacuated.
Failure to evacuate the building during a fire alarm may be justification for community service. It is the responsibility of each occupant to evacuate or move to an area of rescue assistance during a fire alarm, if possible. Buildings may be searched to assure all occupants have evacuated.
Building representative should have an up-to-date Emergency Evacuation Map for each floor of every University owned building they are responsible for. These Emergency Evacuation Maps are posted in common areas throughout all University of Alabama owned buildings. Each Emergency Evacuation Map indicates the evacuation routes to be taken by employees, students and guests of The University of Alabama. For additional copies of Emergency Evacuation Maps, contact EHS. Fraternities and sororities may contact EHS to discuss guidelines for developing their own emergency evacuation plan or map.
Occupancy limits are determined not only by useable square footage but by a number of factors. Among these are type of seating, type of activity in the room, number of exits, obstacles, room configuration and others. In order to determine room occupancy, EHS personnel must examine the area to establish the occupancy limit. EHS establishes occupancy limits according to applicable fire and life safety codes and therefore these limits may differ from numbers determined by others.
(I) No Smoking Policy
The University of Alabama established a "No Smoking" policy in campus facilities on November 21, 1991 at the recommendation of The University of Alabama Health and Safety Committee. "No smoking" signs have been posted in all University facilities.
(J) Open Lights and Flames
Open flames are not allowed near spray booths or in the presence of combustible or flammable liquids, dusts or vapors, excelsior, paper, or similar materials. Any torches being used must not be left unattended while burning. Information on open flames in labs can be found in The University of Alabama Chemical Hygiene Plan and Laboratory Guide. EHS must approve any other use of an open light or flame on campus. Open flames can include, but are not limited to, the use of candles, bon fires, incense burners and torches. The following information must be presented to EHS prior to approval of the use of an open light or flame: building name, area or room number where used, dates of use, hours of use, project or reason for request, equipment to be used, type of open flame device to be used, ignition procedure for open flame device, and location of the nearest smoke detector and type of smoke detector (smoke detector tied into the fire alarm system or stand alone smoke detector). EHS may outline precautions that must also be taken in order to use the open flame. If these precautions are not followed, EHS reserves the right to terminate or decline the approval of the open light or flame permit.
The University of Alabama does not endorse the use of candles in any buildings. When candles are used in ceremonies, caution must be taken to assure they are handled correctly. Never leave a candle or incense unattended for any reason. Care must also be taken when extinguishing candles. Several candles blown out together can create enough smoke to initiate a fire alarm. Prior to the use of candles in any building on campus, contact EHS. It is unlawful for any person to light, build, make or deposit ashes or embers which could cause fire in any University of Alabama building or on the campus grounds without prior approval.
Decorations including, but not limited to, boxes, cardboard, mazes, hay, bamboo, cotton batting, straw, vines or pallets are prohibited on campus. Structurally sound band platforms are acceptable. EHS must approve all other decorations. Submit a drawing of any planned decorations or structures, along with a list of materials, which will be used to create the decoration, to EHS for approval. Also, many structures and decorations, like those planned for social events or parties may need to be inspected by an engineer and deemed "safe" for its purpose of use before the approval is granted. Tents erected on The University of Alabama campus must be flame retardant. Documentation of this treatment or material should be kept on hand at each tent location. At least twelve feet of non-obstructed space should be left open and free on all sides of the tent unless otherwise approved by EHS. All tents must be adequately supported, roped, anchored and braced to assure the tent will withstand the elements of the weather and not collapse. All aisles in tents and exits from the tents should be left unobstructed. Tents or tent ropes, anchors or braces must be erected approximately two feet away from sidewalks and may not extend over or block any sidewalk. Contact EHS regarding concerns over the placement of tents on the University of Alabama campus.
The use of live Christmas trees is prohibited in University of Alabama buildings on campus unless approved by EHS. Any electrical decorations, which may be used on Christmas trees must be UL listed and approved. Contact EHS prior to the establishment of any seasonal decorations.
(L) Chimneys, Portable Heating Appliances and Extension Cords
Any fireplace on campus must have a fire screen the correct size for the fireplace. If a fireplace is intended for use, the chimney must be cleaned at least annually, prior to use. Burn only wood inside the fireplace, never paper, plastic or flammables. Since great care must be taken to utilize portable heaters properly, their use is discouraged on campus. Contact EHS for some safety tips for the use of these heaters, or click here to return to EHS "Safety Policies" as more information is available on heaters.
The use of extension cords is also discouraged on campus. However, if an extension cord must be used, there are several guidelines that must be followed. All extension cords used on campus must be UL listed and approved. These extension cords must only be used within the appropriate rating by comparing the rating on the extension cord to the rating on the temporary appliance being used. If a cord on the appliance being used has a three-pronged adapter, the extension cord must also be three pronged. Splicing together of extension cords is not allowed nor is the plugging together of multiple extension cords. Extension cords used outside or in potentially wet environments must be protected by ground fault circuit interrupters. Extension cords may never be run under rugs or carpet or through walkways or windows. Never use any extension cord that is damaged or frayed. Do not use extension cords on any heat-producing appliance such as a portable heater, halogen lamp, blow dryer, or iron.
Halogen lamps pose serious safety hazards. Their bulbs may shatter due to exposure to high temperature, they are easily tipped over due to their design and they may inadvertently ignite combustible materials. For these reasons, halogen lamps may not be used on campus in University owned buildings.
Each building or area occupied must have the appropriate number of exits. Exits must be clear and unobstructed. Curtains, drapes, or any other items are not allowed to confuse or conceal any exit or means of egress. Sitting or standing in any exit or means of egress is not allowed. Exits are marked by illuminated exit signs with battery backup and must be the correct size for the occupancy load of the building as established in NFPA. Exit doors must be easily opened from the inside and shall not involve the use of any special procedures or keys to open.
(N) Stairwell Doors and Exit Doors
All exit doorways, including stairwell doors, shall be the correct size for the occupancy of the building as established by NFPA. Exit and stairwell doors must be easily opened from the inside without the use of any special procedures or a key. Stairwell doors must not have deadbolt locks on them or be propped open. All stairwell doors must have door closures that are automatic closing devices. Doors, which can swing both ways, shall have a viewing area provided. There shall be no doorstops placed on stairwell doors. In the event that a doorstop or a deadbolt is found on a stairwell door, it will be immediately removed at the expense of the organization occupying the building. Once a stairwell door is found propped open by any other item, the organization occupying the building will be given a warning and told to remove the door prop. If this continues to be a problem, actions will be taken to upgrade the fire alarm system to include magnetic door closures that will hold doors open but automatically release doors to close upon activation of the fire alarm system. Any system without the capabilities of installing this feature should be upgraded so that this feature may be employed if this becomes an issue.
(O) Hallways, Stairwells, Ceiling Tiles and Aisles
All hallways and stairwells must be clear of any clutter, obstruction, or storage. Each corridor shall be at least 44 inches wide with a height of 7 feet. Bicycles, furniture, lawnmowers and bulletin boards are not permitted in stairwells and hallways. The area should also be well lit and free of stored combustibles (paper, wood, etc.).
Ceiling tiles act as a fire barrier. When ceiling tiles are removed, the fire rating of the ceiling may change, the fire insurance may become void and most importantly, it creates a "Chimney Effect" in the event of a fire. It is the responsibility of the organization occupying the space to verify that any damaged or missing ceiling tiles are replaced. In University owned academic or office settings, it is the responsibility of the Facilities Physical Plant Maintenance Department to replace them. In a housing building that is University owned, it is the responsibility of the Office of Housing Maintenance. It is the responsibility of the fraternity or sorority occupying the area to maintain their house in the same manner.
Any area of a building where tables, seats, chairs, equipment, etc. are installed, an aisle shall be provided which leads to an exit. All aisles shall be at least 36 inches wide. These aisles may not be obstructed. Floors need to be clear of any tripping hazards including, but not limited to, cords and debris. Sitting or standing in any aisle or path leading to an exit is not allowed.
(P) Compressed Gases or Compressed Air
All compressed gas cylinders must be adequately secured regardless of whether they are empty or full. Often chains, straps or stands are utilized to keep them from falling. Compressed gas cylinders should not be left freestanding. If cylinders are found freestanding, they will be removed at the expense of the occupants of the building. When moving compressed gasses, verify the protective caps are in place to protect valve stems and assure stability by strapping them to hand-trucks. Never tamper, force or lubricate cylinder valves. Contact the compressed gas company responsible for delivering the gases if problems occur with the compressed gas cylinder valve. Remember to wear safety glasses when using compressed gasses. Compressed gasses or compressed air should never be directed towards a person or used to blow dust or particles off skin or clothing. Other safety guidelines regarding compressed gases can be found in The University of Alabama Chemical Hygiene Plan.
Extinguishers in laboratories are to be inspected monthly. However, it is the responsibility of the Lab’s Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO) to notify EHS if any extinguisher has been discharged. Always maintain dry sand or some other applicable material in case of a fire if metals such as lithium or sodium are being used in a lab. Prior to utilizing an open flame assure there are no flammable vapors present in the area. Also inspect gas burner tubing to confirm quality and that it is not becoming worn. When transferring flammable liquids from one metal container to another, make sure the containers are grounded and bonded. "No Smoking" notices shall be posted in all labs where flammable liquids are stored or handled. Smoking is not allowed in any laboratory on campus. All laboratory personnel must be trained in the operation of fire safety equipment of the lab. It is the responsibility of the Lab CHO to train the lab personnel in all areas of the Emergency Evacuation Plan, including evacuation procedures and routes, fire alarm system activation, and proper operation of equipment. Review the Laboratory Chemical Hygiene Plan regarding other safety concerns in labs.
General housekeeping is a high priority on The University of Alabama campus. For this reason, no social event in a fraternity or sorority house or University owned building would be approved if bottles, cans, trash or other materials were in rooms, hallways, stairwells, or outside the area creating hazards. It is the responsibility of the organization occupying the space to keep the area clean and orderly. Contact EHS regarding concerns about the disposal of trash, debris, or hazardous materials.
Always assure all electrical connections are secure in electric kilns prior to use. Kilns should only be used in well-ventilated areas with plenty of space between the kiln and the wall or combustibles. A ten-pound multi-purpose dry chemical fire extinguisher should be located near the kiln. The space surrounding the kiln should be kept clean and free of dusts. Prior to the installation of a kiln, contact EHS to discuss the proper location and other safety considerations to be taken when operating a kiln.
(T) Residential Life
Early into each semester, Resident Advisors (RA’s), along with Directors of residential buildings shall conduct a safety awareness meeting with all residents to discuss the Emergency Evacuation Plan. The RA’s shall discuss proper evacuation during a fire alarm, locations of safety equipment, proper use of safety equipment and the buddy system with all residents. They shall inform all residents of the need for immediate evacuation during fire alarms or fire drills They shall also explain to residents the penalties for causing a false alarm, misusing, tampering with or damaging fire equipment or not evacuating during a fire alarm or drill.
Fire safety equipment is distributed differently depending on the type of housing area and occupants. Below is a description of the fire safety equipment on campus along with the distribution of such equipment in Residential Life areas.
Each University owned dormitory is equipped with fire extinguishers in common areas and hard-wired smoke detectors in each dorm room. At least once a month these extinguishers are inspected. These extinguishers are inspected annually and provided 6-year maintenance, hydrostatic testing or recharging, where needed. At the beginning of the month, RA’s test smoke detectors. Towards the end of the month, a representative from EHS randomly tests a sample of smoke detectors in these dorm rooms. Each smoke detector is cleaned annually, inspected and tested for operation. Fire alarm systems are also tested annually to assure all devices are working properly.
Each University owned apartment building or complex is equipped with a fire extinguisher in the kitchen area and hard-wired smoke detectors near the sleeping areas. Extinguishers are inspected annually and provided 6-year maintenance, hydrostatic testing or recharging when needed and each smoke detector is cleaned, inspected and tested for operation. It is the responsibility of the resident to notify the Residential Life Office or RA if there are problems with the smoke detectors or if the fire extinguisher has been discharged. Fire alarm systems are tested annually to assure all devices are working properly.
Each University owned small group housing facility acts somewhat as a house. This area usually contains a group of bedrooms combined with the normal features of a house, such as laundry area, kitchen, living room and dining room. All bedrooms are equipped with a hard-wired smoke detector. These smoke detectors are cleaned annually and tested by representatives from EHS. Once a month, the building RA or house manager should also inspect and test these smoke detectors. Toward the end of each month a random sample of smoke detectors are also inspected by representatives from EHS. It is the responsibility of the residents to notify the Residential Life Office if smoke detectors are malfunctioning or a fire extinguisher has been discharged. Fire extinguishers are strategically placed in both first and second floor hallways and the kitchen. These extinguishers are inspected, tested and maintained by EHS. The fire alarm systems in these buildings are also tested annually to assure all devices are working properly.
Emergency Evacuation training is offered by EHS. This training focuses on the different types of emergencies and how to respond appropriately to each emergency. The use of an Emergency Evacuation Map and Plan is also discussed. Contact EHS to schedule this training.
Training for the proper use of fire extinguishers is offered by EHS. This training focuses on the P.A.S.S. technique, the different types of extinguishers and allows each individual the opportunity to handle a fire extinguisher and put out a fire using the extinguisher. Contact EHS to schedule this training.
(V) Welding and Cutting
Areas where welding and cutting will occur should be free of combustibles and flammables and well vented. Welding should occur within the confines of an area designed for such work (fire resistant and segregated from adjacent areas and projects). Whenever the work cannot be removed from the area, the area shall be made safe by removing flammables and combustibles (the floor should be clean for at least a radius of 35 feet). Where there are cracks or holes in the walls or floor within 35 feet of the welding or cutting area, the holes or cracks should be covered to assure sparks do not pass through these areas. Where welding or cutting will occur near walls, floors or ceiling, the area shall be protected by fire-resistant guards or shields. Relocate combustibles from near metal walls, partitions or floors if welding will be done where the conduction of heat may ignite these combustibles. If combustibles cannot be removed from the area, a fire watch may be necessary. In this case, a qualified individual or individuals (depending upon the size or amount and type of combustible) would have to remain in the area near the welding/cutting site and visually observe the combustibles and other surroundings for a period of time to ensure that a fire has not been the direct result of this welding or cutting. Contact EHS regarding fire watch procedure. Do not perform cutting or welding on metal pipes that come in contact with combustibles if the work is close enough to cause a fire by conduction or in areas where there are flammable gases, vapors, dusts, liquids, or tanks containing flammable liquids. Welding or cutting on drums, barrels or tanks is not allowed unless it is known that there has not been any flammables or toxic materials contained in the drum, barrel or tank, and the drum, barrel or tank has been cleaned and approved for such welding or cutting by EHS. When welding or cutting, always have a fire extinguisher handy or know the location of the nearest fire extinguisher. When the welding or cutting operation has been suspended, the equipment must be cut off. Always schedule a checkup on the area welded or cut thirty minutes after the completion of the operation. Welding shields, goggles or helmets are needed to protect the eyes and face during welding. Contact EHS regarding further information on welding and personal protective equipment.
(W) Material Storage and Handling
Material may not be stored in corridors, aisles, stairwells, hallways or mechanical rooms. Combustibles may not be stored in attics. Materials may not be stored within 36 inches of any sprinkler deflectors, ceiling, light fixtures, ventilation grates, or fire alarm panel. Refer to the Hazardous Material Management Guidelines for information on specific hazardous material storage. Hot ashes, cinders, or coals may not be deposited in or near any building or grounds area on The University of Alabama campus. These items may only be placed in noncombustible or metal receptacles so designated by The University of Alabama. Any items stored outside must be stored in a neat and orderly manner with no storage exceeding ten feet in height or twenty feet in diameter.
A permit must be obtained prior to the use of fireworks on campus. Contact EHS at least one month prior to the scheduled fireworks exhibition. The permit must be approved by the UA Public Safety Department . A "no burn ordinance" overrides a fireworks permit. Therefore, any time a "no burn ordinance" is in effect, the scheduled fireworks program will be canceled.
EHS is the liaison between The University of Alabama and regulatory compliance agencies. Contact EHS if you have any fire safety concerns or issues. All press releases or comments shall be approved and/or made through the University of Alabama Office of University Relations.
(Z) Fire Alarm Response
EHS acts as the liaison between The University of Alabama and the TFD. EHS may assist with communication, fire alarm keys, locations of suppression equipment and location of activated fire alarm system equipment. EHS may also assist with obtaining repair or replacement of a system device by notifying the fire alarm system technician. During working hours, EHS responds to fire alarms on campus, when possible.
Once a fire alarm system is activated TFD has authority of the area until the incident has been resolved. A fire alarm can only be silenced or reset after the Fire Department gives consent to UADPS or the representative of EHS.
The UADPS also takes a very active role during fire alarms. Representatives of UADPS immediately respond to all fire alarms on campus. They control the crowd by moving students, employees or other individuals away from the building where the alarm is sounding. UADPS also assists in controlling traffic in heavy congested areas, assists Building Representatives to assure all building occupants are accounted for, provides communication to University of Alabama departments which the Fire Department might use as resources, and overall assists the Fire Department as needed.
Each building on campus has a building representative that is responsible for turning in work orders and having access to all areas of the building. During a fire alarm, these building representatives may need to provide access to areas of the building for the Fire Department or for representatives of EHS during an emergency situation. It is important that the building representative understands the layout of the building and knows all possible entrances, exits or mechanical rooms in the building. The building representative needs to have an up-to-date layout of all buildings for which he/she is responsible.
During a fire alarm or other emergency The University of Alabama Department of Facilities may be asked to address areas of concern regarding the building and life safety as specified by the TFD or representatives from EHS. The Facilities Physical Plant Maintenance maintains all university owned academic and office buildings on campus. In the case of fire or some other emergency, the Department of Facilities may also be asked to find temporary storage or office space for those affected in University owned academic and office areas.
During a fire alarm or other emergency, Housing Maintenance may be asked to address areas of concern regarding the building or life safety as specified by the TFD or representatives from EHS. Housing Maintenance maintains all University owned housing buildings on campus. In the case of fire or some other emergency, Housing Maintenance or Residential Life may also be asked to find temporary housing for those students living in University owned housing which are affected.
During an emergency situation where University student housing has been affected, the Dean of Students or Office of Student Life may be asked to help find temporary housing for those students affected.
During a fire alarm or other emergency, contractors may be asked to respond to the situation at hand if it is occurring in a non-University owned building. For this reason, it is important that The UADPS have a listing of the responsible parties of buildings on campus. It is also important that contractors understand their limitations and some guidelines have been set forth between the entity owning the building and those making repairs to the building. Never assume that the UADPS has access to any non-University owned buildings or will allow contractors access to these areas. It is the responsibility of those owning the buildings to allow contractors access to their buildings.
2. Safe Fire Alarm Evacuation Procedures
- Activating the Fire Alarm
- Evacuating the Building
Although The University of Alabama requires all occupants of a building to evacuate when the fire alarm is activated, individuals with disabilities may need assistance or special procedures to evacuate effectively. For this reason, they should inform other individuals, especially housing coordinators or Residential Advisors that they may need assistance in a fire alarm during the emergency evacuation-planning phase. Below are some tips that may prove useful during a fire alarm evacuation:
- Recognize your Capabilities and Limitations for Evacuating the Building
- Stop where you are.
- Drop to the floor.
- Roll until the flames have been smothered.
- Try to smother flames by wrapping the individual on fire in a blanket or some other item that could be used to smother flames.
- If unable to assist the individual on fire, insist that the person stop, drop and roll.
- Move away from the building to a pre-designated location where a headcount should be initiated by the building representative, Residential Advisor, or another designated individual.
- Notify UADPS of anyone needing assistance exiting the building.
- The building representative or some other supervisory personnel should notify UADPS of anyone unaccounted for during the evacuation.
In the past there have been some confusing and/or conflicting opinions among faculty, staff and/or students regarding false fire alarms. There are actually very few fire alarms initiated by faulty fire safety equipment, such as a smoke detector or heat detector that malfunctions. In fact, most alarms are initiated due to the actions of those inside the building. This does not mean that each alarm corresponds with an actual fire. The alarm could correspond with someone who is smoking near a smoke detector or an air conditioning unit that is overheating. For this reason, it is very important that people monitor their own habits closely and review fire safety data in a manner that considers the cause and the effect of the alarm rather than simply defining the alarm as being a true or false alarm. In the event that a piece of faulty equipment initiated the fire alarm, EHS monitors the repair/replacement of this equipment to assure this action does not occur again. EHS also investigates each fire alarm on campus to determine the cause of the alarm and maintains this information in an active database. Contact EHS regarding any questions or concerns about fire alarms on campus.
Many cases of fires on college campuses are directly linked to arson. Both The UADPS and the TFD investigate cases of arson on The University of Alabama campus. EHS also maintains information on fire alarms related to cases of arson on campus. Contact EHS regarding any questions or concerns directly related to fire alarms attributed to cases of arson.