Evacuation procedures for student housing
Whenever the fire alarm sounds, everyone must evacuate the building.
When a fire alarm sounds, residents should follow the instructions outlining their evacuation route which are posted on the back of their room door. Fire drills, false alarms, and genuine fire alarms are indistinguishable.
Smoke is the major cause of death from fires within residence halls. For this reason, residents should be certain to close their room door and windows when evacuating in order to retard the spread of smoke. Hallway and stairwell fire doors should be closed at all times.
Even in a building designed to be resistant to fire, a small wastebasket fire can quickly fill an area with smoke and deadly gases. Obstructing a doorway, exit, stairwell, or room door is a serious safety hazard.
Residents and staff cannot re-enter the building until the Residential Life/Housing staff, fire department, or University Police give an “all clear” signal.
Residents and staff who fail to evacuate a building during a fire alarm or who do not follow the directives of fire, police, or staff will be referred to the appropriate university discipline system for action.
Emergency evacuation procedures
If a fire occurs in a residence hall, the fire alarm response directly reports to the Department of Public Safety dispatch who summons first responders like the fire department. Because the fire alarm system is an addressable system, the responding engine company will be given information in route that identifies the specific location in the building that was activated. This feature saves critical time for the responders as they search for fire conditions when they arrive.
Fire alarm systems notify building occupants of a potential fire, thus initiating a building evacuation sequence. As conveyed during fire drills, building occupants are directed to the nearest building exit upon activation of the fire alarm system. Use of the elevators is strictly prohibited and is controlled by the fire department upon arrival to the fire call to assist in firefighting and rescue efforts. Building occupants cannot re-enter the building until the University Housing Residential Life/Housing staff, fire department, or University Police indicate that it is safe to do so. After every fire alarm activation or reported fire condition, the resident director on duty is responsible for submitting a fire alarm report to University Housing. University Housing is to notify Code Compliance with an incident report for updating the Fire Log as required by the Clery Act. It is policy to maintain an active list of those occupants who may be permanently or temporarily disabled and unable to evacuate if the elevators are not operational. This list is coordinated by the Housing Information Office (assignment office) and kept on file in the residential area and at the fire department. The fire department has access to this list when responding to fire alarm activation so they can better prepare and strategize the potential rescue of physically disabled occupants.
Emergency evacuation procedures for residents are posted on the back of each room door.
Family and graduate housing residents
In case of fire, immediately activate the building’s fire alarm system. Evacuate the building unless otherwise notified, and call 911.
If you discover a fire:
- Manually activate the building’s fire alarm system.
- Immediately evacuate the building, closing doors and windows behind you.
- Do not use the elevators.
- Locate those persons with special needs and provide assistance if possible. Otherwise, provide their location to emergency responders.
- Report to your building’s designated gathering point.
- Call 911.
Once the fire alarm is activated:
- Walk quickly to the nearest exit. Do not use the elevators.
- If you are able, help those who need special assistance.
- Notify fire personnel if you believe someone may still be in the building.
- Gather away from the building and emergency responders at a designated location.
- Do not re-enter the building until the fire department has cleared the scene.
If caught in smoke:
- Do not breathe the smoke.
- Drop to your knees and crawl to the closest safe exit.
- Breathe through your nose, and use a shirt or towel to breathe through, if possible.
If trapped in a building:
- Close all doors and windows.
- Wet and place cloth material around and under the door to prevent smoke from entering.
- Attempt to signal people outside of the building. Call for help using a telephone or cell phone.
Each apartment has a fire extinguisher that is inspected prior to a new resident’s arrival and is checked by Housing Facilities Maintenance each year. It is important for you to read the instructions and know how to remove the fire extinguisher from the wall and operate it safely. Check the gauge monthly to make sure the needle is in the green area.
Using a Fire Extinguisher:
- Report the fire first (call 911 from any campus phone, or call 911 from a cell phone or off campus).
- Use a fire extinguisher only if you have been trained to do so. Improper use can increase the hazard.
Chez Veterans Center
The residential program component of the Chez Veterans Center utilizes a “Defend in Place” strategy in responding to a triggered fire alarm. This is the strategy recommended by the National Fire Protection Association to protect the residents of facilities such as the Center for whom it is impractical to promptly evacuate in an emergency. The Center’s Administrative staff and those serving in Emergency Responder positions are trained to assess the situation and to protect residents who are unable to evacuate until fire department personnel arrive. If a fire is detected, the fire departments of Urbana and Champaign will dispatch all firefighters to assist the students with disabilities in evacuation of the building when deemed necessary.
- First floor public areas: Everyone in any of the first floor public areas should exit the building as quickly as possible. Residents should gather across the street, to the south of the Center, in the vacant grass lot next to the Dance Studio. The address is 907 1/2 W. Nevada Street, Urbana.
- First floor and second floor occupants: The elevator is not to be used in the event of a fire. Staff and residents with disabilities who are on the second or third floor when the fire alarm is activated should gather at the “Area of Rescue Assistance” located at the elevator lobby, if it is safe to do so. Members of the Emergency Responder staff will assist students with disabilities to safely muster at that location. Emergency Responder staff, if safe to do so, will inspect each office and common areas to ensure that individuals with disabilities have been safely moved to the designated Area of Rescue Assistance. If staff or students cannot safely exit an office due to fire, they should shut the room doors to prevent any fire or smoke that might spread. It is essential that students not interfere with staff members who are attempting to complete their assigned emergency response tasks.
- Third floor residents: The elevator is not to be used in the event of a fire. Residents with disabilities, who are in their chairs, should close their room doors and turn on the lights to their rooms. Emergency Responder No. 1 will remove the student from the room that triggered the alarm, and the student in the adjoining room from the area. Residents must not interfere with staff members who are attempting to complete their assigned emergency response tasks.
- Staff: The Life Safety Officer is the director; Responder No. 1 is the business/administrative associate. All other personal assistant staff are to meet at the Area of Rescue Assistance on the first floor and receive direction from the Life Safety Officer. All emergency responder staff will follow their assigned duties.
Floor diagrams are to be in place on the inner door of each resident’s room and inspected at least once per semester.
All residents who can exit the building shall gather across the street at the vacant grass lot next to the Dance Studio. The address is 907 1/2 W. Nevada St., Urbana.
In the event of a tornado watch, the Center Administrative staff on duty will be responsible for monitoring WDWS-AM 1400 or WDWS-FM 97.5 or the NOAA weather radio.
Take Cover Plan for the Center’s third floor residential services: In the event of a “Take Cover” signal, the administrative staff is to be notified. Students and staff can also listen for the three-minute blast from the Emergency Management Agency’s warning siren and begin moving toward the basement level storm refuge area.
The Life Safety Officer with the assistance of the Emergency Responder No. 1 and Emergency Responder No. 2, if a staff member has been assigned to such a role, are responsible for closing room doors, windows, patio doors and drapes, checking to see how many students are in bed and not able to readily relocate to the storm refuge area on the basement level of the building, and assuring that all other students are proceeding to the designated safety area.
All students are to move to the basement level storm refuge area. The elevator may be used to get to the basement level. Once there, students are to take locations in the storm refuge area. They are to remain in the storm refuge area of the basement level until the “all clear” is given by the Life Safety Officer.
Students who are in bed are given the choice to get up or to be covered with blankets to protect them from any debris.
Residents who fail to follow the directives of police, fire or Center Emergency Response Team during an emergency will be referred for disciplinary procedures.
In the event of a medical emergency students are to contact 911 and arrange for immediate medical assistance. McKinley Health Center serves as a support for university students. McKinley Health Center provides 24-hour nurse coverage, available by calling Dial-a-Nurse at 217-333-2700.
Information regarding the programs and services of McKinley Health Services can be obtained online at mckinley.illinois.edu.
All residents of the Center are responsible for all health care and medical costs in emergency and non-emergency situations.
Medical transportation: In the event of a life-threatening emergency, residents should call 911 and arrange transportation through the use of an ambulance. When contacting 911, the nature of the illness should be conveyed so that the ambulance is staffed with Emergency Medical Technicians who are aware of the resident’s medical needs.
At those times when the illness or injury does not appear to be a life-threatening emergency, Center residents may contact the Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) transportation office and arrange for a bus to carry them to McKinley Health Center (MHC) and/or the local hospital facilities. This service is only available during regularly scheduled hours. These hours are noted in the DRES services handbook. At all other times, residents are required to make transportation arrangements either through 911 or through private arrangements, i.e. family, friend, taxi, etc. Note: Center employees, including resident advisors, personal assistants, etc., are not licensed to transport residents.
Fire safety education training initiatives
In 2021, the following fire safety training events were conducted:
- Fire safety training was provided for residence hall professional and paraprofessional staff via zoom and powerpoint presentations at the beginning of each semester in 2021.
- Online fire extinguisher training was provided to resident advisors.
- Fire hazard inspections were conducted in residence hall rooms.
- Fire alarms were sounded at specific pre-announced times each semester, allowing residents to be familiar with alarms from their respective domiciles.
- Fire safety training materials were distributed by the Urbana and Champaign fire departments to students on move-in day at their assigned residence hall.
- Yearlong marketing plans have been developed to educate residents through the use of posters, bulletin boards and video messages on topics of fire safety.