Building Fire

Building Fire Building Fire

Always take a fire alarm seriously. If you hear a fire or carbon monoxide (CO) alarm in your building, house, office or classroom, evacuate the building and call 911.  Wait for emergency personnel to arrive and determine that no hazard exists before reentering the building. These decisions can save your life.


  • Ensure you are signed up for UConnALERT.
  • Know two ways out of the buildings you are in. When evacuating during a fire, your primary escape route may be blocked. Knowing an alternate route to exit the building can save your life.
  • Find out if your building/unit has a designated assembly point.
  • Understand UConn’s protective action terminology:
  • Never tamper with sprinkler systems or fire protection equipment (including fire extinguishers and detection devices). Doing so can result in fines and even arrest. Items should not be hung or placed on sprinkler pipes or sprinkler heads to avoid accidental water discharge or to prevent them from working properly. Misuse of a fire extinguisher is a crime.
  • Do not cover or remove smoke/carbon monoxide detectors for any reason.
  • Make sure fire doors are not obstructed in any way that would prohibit proper closing of the door.
  • Participate in fire drills.
    • Fire drills are only conducted in residence halls once per semester, if the drill is deemed “successful”.
    • Other University buildings conduct fire drills as fire code requires.
    • Storrs building occupants may contact the UConn Fire Department to schedule a fire drill. Regional Campus Directors should contact the local fire department to schedule a fire drill.
    • Fire drills increase safety by practicing an orderly, safe and expeditious exit. Occupants should always treat every alarm as though it is real.

If you are off campus:

  • While all UConn residential buildings have sprinkler systems and every building has working fire alarms, it is very likely off-campus housing does not. Here are some tips the entire UConn community can use to prevent a fire from starting:
  • Ensure your off-campus housing has working smoke alarms. Consider installing a CO detector as well. Many companies produce a combination smoke/CO detector for a reasonable cost.
  • Cook only where it is allowed and always keep an eye on what you’re cooking.
  • If a fire starts in the microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the unit.
  • Use safe flameless candles.
  • Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes into a trash can. Always make sure your cigarette is out, and then place it in an ash tray.
  • If you host a party, check for cigarette butts, especially near couches/furniture. Chairs and sofas burn fast.
  • Do not overload your outlets, extension cords or power strips.


If you discover a fire or fire alarm activation:

  • Activate the nearest fire alarm to notify others, if it’s not sounding already.
  • Immediately begin to evacuate the building. Do not use elevators. Use the stairs. Remember, the closest exit may not be the way you entered.
    • Close doors behind you as you leave. Notify others you find on your way.
    • Help remove others that may need assistance, if possible.
    • If smoke is present, get low and crawl under the smoke. Smoke is toxic.
    • If smoke/heat is heavy, try to use a different exit route.
    • If you come to a door, feel it for heat before opening. Always open doors slowly and be ready to shut them quickly if heavy smoke/fire is present.
    • Cover your face with a towel or cloth.
  • Once outside, call 911 and report the incident, location and your name, even if it is just the alarm sounding.

If all exit routes are blocked:

  • Retreat to a room. Close as many doors as possible between you and the fire.
    • Once in a room, close the door. Put a cloth, blanket or similar items across the bottom of the door to keep smoke out. Cover any cracks, vents and openings as well. Do not break open the windows.
    • Call 911 (8-911 if on a Regional Campus landline) and notify the dispatcher of your current location and condition.
    • If there is an exterior window, try to attract the attention of the emergency personnel. For example, place a flashing light,sign or a hang a sheet/blanket from the window.

Once safely outside the building:

  • Gather outside in a safe assembly point.
    • Stay clear of all emergency vehicles.
    • Do not block emergency vehicles from getting through by standing in the roadway.
    • Never re-enter the building until it is deemed safe by emergency personnel.

If your clothes catch fire:

    • Immediately stop, drop to the ground, cover your face, and roll back and forth until the fire is out. Cover with a blanket or towel if necessary. Use cool water to sooth burns for 3-5 minutes. Call 911 immediately.

Fire Extinguishers:

Only if it is feasible in the situation, extinguish the fire with a fire extinguisher. If you use an extinguisher, remember PASSPull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the extinguisher trigger, and Sweep back and forth along the base of the fire. Always call 911 (8-911 on a regional campus landline). Remember, firefighters are trained to fully extinguish a fire safely and should always be called first in the event of a fire. All fires must be reported, even if you put it out and/or the alarm was not activated.


  • Remain in a safe location until you receive an “All Clear” message. This message may be verbally given to you by emergency personnel.
  • Follow guidance from UConnALERT.
  • Follow instructions from University and emergency personnel.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings and other dangerous areas.


Remember to always follow the instructions of emergency personnel during an emergency. You should always consider your personal safety in every unique situation.

For more information, visit the USFA Campus Fire Safety website.