The University of Chicago

Environmental Health & Safety


Fire Emergency Plan


The following fire emergency plan has been developed and shall be implemented during fire emergencies to ensure the safety of students, staff, faculty, residents, and visitors.

Authority and Responsibility

All University of Chicago departments shall be responsible for following the fire emergency plan in accordance with this policy.

The following response shall take place during all fire alarm activations.

Fire Response Procedures

The University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) shall follow these procedures during a fire response:

  1. Provide a dispatch call center available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week;
  2. Respond to an emergency with appropriate personnel; and,
  3. Follow the University of Chicago’s Emergency Management Plan.

The UCPD Dispatch Call Center shall follow these procedures during a confirmed fire response:

  1. Determine the location of the fire;
  2. Instruct the caller to follow the University of Chicago’s Fire Response Plan – RACER;
  3. Notify the Chicago Fire Department Dispatch Center to report the alarm activation/fire;
  4. Follow the call list to contact the appropriate personnel; and,
  5. Contact Environmental Health and Safety only for confirmed fires.

The responding UCPD Police Officer shall follow these procedures during a confirmed fire response:

  1. Respond directly to the scene and assist in first response as necessary;
  2. Ensure entry into the affected area(s) is unobstructed for Chicago Fire Department vehicles;
  3. Ensure communications are maintained; and,
  4. Ensure site security is maintained until relieved of the responsibility.

Environmental Health and Safety shall follow these procedures:

  1. Provide an “On-Call” Safety Officer twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week;
  2. Respond to UCPD pages of confirmed fire scenarios; and,
  3. Follow the University of Chicago’s Emergency Management Plan.

The On-Call Safety Officer shall follow these procedures during a confirmed fire response:

  1. Establish communication with on-site UCPD personnel to evaluate the severity of the situation; 
  2. Communicate with the Director of Environmental Health and Safety, or Senior Specialist in his/her absence, to evaluate the proper actions to be taken;
  3. Mobilize to the scene to assist campus partners with remediation efforts after the fire has been struck, as needed; and,
  4. Write an incident report and forward to all parties involved within twenty-four hours.

The appropriate Facilities Services – Operations & Maintenance engineering group supervisor, Facilities Services – Operations & Maintenance electric shop supervisor, Residence Halls and Commons building manager/supervisor, and Facilities Services – Residential Properties building managers shall follow these procedures during a confirmed fire response:

  1. Upon notification, dispatch a building engineer/electrician to respond to the incident;
  2. Make the building engineer available at the entrance of the building to direct the Chicago Fire Department to the building’s fire suppression system;
  3. Monitor all utility systems in the area along with assisting with the fire response, as directed by the on-scene incident commander;
  4. Inspect all fire protection devices and equipment as needed after the fire has been struck and the scene secured;
  5. Replace or repair any used or damaged fire protection devices; and,
  6. Reset the fire detection system according to Fire Detection System Policy upon direction of the on-scene incident commander.

The University of Chicago’s fire response plan is summarized by the acronym RACER. This fire response plan shall be implemented at all times.

Building occupants shall follow these procedures during a fire response.

Emergency Action Plans (EAPs)

Ensuring a safe working environment for the students, staff, faculty, and visitors occupying University facilities is of vital importance. Accordingly, the Office of Emergency Management develops EAPs for campus buildings. The EAP details safety procedures for building occupants including evacuation, shelter-in-place, lock down, and social distancing. In addition, the EAP assign roles and responsibilities for alerting occupants of potential emergencies and for notifying the appropriate responding units.

Although not part of the University's Emergency Management Plan (EMP), the EAP serves to protect occupants in the initial stages of an emergency and will integrate into the EMP as the situation escalates.

Through procedures outlined in the EAP, all building occupants will serve an integral role in reducing injuries, death, and damage during an emergency.

Storage in Corridors

Corridors, exits stairs, and fire escapes are typically the primary escape routes in an emergency. Storage in corridors, exits, stairs, and fire escapes is strictly prohibited in all buildings on University premises. This includes, but is not limited to temporary, short-term or long-term storage or spill over from offices, laboratories, classrooms, or from shipping and receiving areas. No storage is allowed in any corridor with the exception of recessed vestibule areas and no storage is allowed in or under any stairwell.

Fire protection system controls, and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system controls shall be accessible to the Chicago Fire Department; therefore, prohibiting excessive storage in mechanical rooms. University Policy also dictates that there is to be no storage of any material inside electrical rooms.

Emergency Evacuation Procedures for Persons with Disabilities

Refer to Emergency Evacuation Procedures for Persons with Disabilities.


Per regulations promulgated by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), fire safety and emergency evacuation training shall be completed by every full-time University employee on an annual basis. This mandatory training course can be completed via the Chalk website.

To meet your training requirements through the online module, please use the following instructions:

Reviewed: February 2016