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Fire Safety

The University has developed a Fire Prevention Plan aimed at reducing the risk of fire-related incidents and injuries. The University's policies are based on the premise that most fires are preventable and all members of the University community have the responsibility to prevent fires.

All faculty, staff and students should be aware of potential fire hazards related to a campus environment. The University community should also be knowledgeable of the emergency procedures that should be followed in the event of a fire.

The University takes student fire safety seriously and has established fire safety programs for students living in our campus residence halls. Fire evacuation plans have been developed for each residence hall and copies of these plans can be found on the inside of the door of each room.

The University also has specific fire safety programs that target Physical Plant employees and contractors working on our campus. Red Tag Permits are physical tags that are placed on equipment such as sprinklers and fire pumps to remind workers to return the equipment to service when repairs are completed. Hot work permits should be used by contractors, employees and students who work with torches and other hot sources.

Fire Prevention Plan

OSHA's Fire Prevention Plan regulation requires a written plan that contains specific program elements. This plan addresses fire emergencies that could possibly occur on campus.

This Fire Prevention Plan is intended to provide pertinent information to faculty, staff and students in order to reduce the possibility of fires and to specify the type of equipment to use in case of fire. This plan addresses the following issues:

  • Major university fire hazards and proper handling and storage procedures.
  • Potential ignition sources for fires and their control procedures.
  • The type of fire protection equipment or systems which can control a fire involving them.
  • Personnel responsible for maintenance of equipment and systems installed to prevent or control ignition of fires and for control of fuel source hazards.

Under this plan, faculty, staff and students will be informed of the plan's purpose, preferred means of reporting fires and other emergencies, types of evacuations to be used in various emergency situations and the alarm system. The plan is closely tied to our emergency action plan where procedures are described for emergency escape route assignments, accounting for all employees after emergency evacuation has been completed and rescue and medical duties for those employees who perform them.

Fire drills are conducted twice a year in all housing buildings and residence halls. The first drill is scheduled early in the fall semester and the second drill is conducted during the spring semester. 

Fire Evacuation Drills

The purpose of fire drills is to prepare building occupants for an organized evacuation in case of fire or other emergency. At USI, fire drills are used as a way to educate and train occupants on fire safety issues specific to their building. During the drill, occupants 'practice' drill procedures and familiarize themselves with the location of exits and the sound of the fire alarm. Fire drills are conducted in all campus buildings including Housing and Residence Life apartments and residence halls. 

In addition, fire drills allow the University an opportunity to test the operation of fire alarm system components.

All fire drills are unannounced.

Fire drills are monitored by Environmental Health and Safety, Security and Housing and Residence Life to evaluate egress and behavioral patterns. Reports are prepared by participating departments and recommendations are followed through to correct any 'identified deficiencies.'

Fire Extinguisher Use

Elements of Fire
Before extinguishing a fire, it is important to understand the elements that make up a fire. In order for fire to occur, four elements must be present: oxygen, fuel, heat and a chemical chain reaction. This is represented by the Fire Tetrahedron. When any of the four elements are removed, the fire will go out. Fire extinguishers function by removing one of the four components of the Fire Tetrahedron.

Types of Fires
Fire extinguishers are rated based upon the types of fires they are designed to put out. These ratings are identified on the label of the fire extinguisher. Care should be taken to ensure the extinguisher chosen to put out a fire is proper for the type of fire. Listed below are the four main types of ratings.

  • Class A: Ordinary combustible materials, wood, paper, plastics and clothing
  • Class B: Flammable liquids and gases
  • Class C: Energized electrical equipment
  • Class D: Combustible metals

Types of Fire Extinguishers
The University uses the following types of fire extinguishers:

  • Water (Class A)
  • Carbon dioxide (Class BC)
  • Multipurpose dry chemical (Class ABC)
  • Dry powder (Class D)

Follow the PASS procedure when operating any fire extinguisher:
P: Pull the pin.
A: Aim at the base of the fire.
S: Squeeze the handle or lever.
S: Sweep from side to side.

Rules for Extinguisher Usage

  • Be trained in extinguisher use
  • Use on small fires that are not spreading;
  • Know what type of fuel is burning;
  • Before extinguishing the fire, position yourself with the exit at your back;
  • Do not attempt to extinguish the fire if you are in jeopardy or feel uncomfortable doing so.

Missing or discharged fire extinguishers should be reported immediately to Emergency Minor Maintenance at 812-464-1700.

Common Fire Hazards

  • Arson
  • Cooking
  • Smoking materials
  • Open flame (i.e., candles/incense)
  • Electrical (wiring, appliances and equipment) hazards
  • Residential furnishings
  • Accumulation of combustible materials
  • Improper handling and storage of combustible/flammable liquids
  • Use of Halogen lamps
  • Space heaters
  • Hot work hazards (i.e., cutting, welding)

Space Heater Safety

The purpose of a space heater is to supply supplemental heat to a small space for a short period of time. The Physical Plant should be contacted (812-464-1700) if increased heat is needed in an area on a permanent basis.

In an effort to minimize fire risk and reduce energy consumption at the University of Southern Indiana, it is preferred that space heaters are not used at all on campus.

For questions about space heater rules for your office or any other safety questions, please contact , the Environmental Health & Safety Manager, at 812-461-5393.