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.

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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.

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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. Provide fire watch services to unoccupied structures when a fire protection system outage is reported after hours by Facilities Services.

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 for confirmed fires and other significant events

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 in accordance with internal standard operating procedures; and,
  3. Follow up on fire protection outages.

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 Executive Director of Environmental Health and Safety, or the Senior Environmental Health Specialist, in his/her absence to evaluate the proper actions to be taken;
  3. When directed by the Executive Director of EHS or his/her designee, 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.

Facilities Services – Operations shall follow these procedures during a 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. During an emergency and at the direction of the Chicago Fire Department provide access to the building, confirm that fire suppression valves are in the correct open or closed positions, confirm the fire pump is running, (if equipped), assist with Area of Rescue communications at the fire control panel, and other duties as requested by the Incident Commander.
  4. Monitor all utility systems in the area while assisting with the fire response as directed by the on-scene incident commander;
  5. Inspect all fire protection devices such as fire extinguishers, fire hoses, and other fire protection/detection equipment as appropriate after the fire incident location has been secured;
  6. Replace or repair any used or damaged fire protection devices;
  7. Inform EHS when a fire protection system is out of service or restored; and,
  8. Reset the fire detection system according to the 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.

  • Rescue: Rescue people from the immediate area of smoke and/or fire. Make people aware that there is a fire alarm activation or actual fire within the building.
  • Alarm: Activate the nearest fire alarm pull station. In campus buildings, contact the University of Chicago Police at extension 1-2-3 when calling from a University telephone or 773.702.8181 when calling from a non-University telephone. In the University of Chicago Medicine, contact Public Safety at 773.702.6262. Provide your name, location of the emergency, telephone number from which you are calling, and type of emergency you are reporting (e.g., fire, medical fire alarm, hazardous chemical spill) to either the University of Chicago Police Department or the University of Chicago Medicine Public Safety.
  • Contain: Contain the smoke or fire by closing all windows and doors to rooms, stairwells, and corridors.
  • Extinguish: Extinguish the fire using the appropriate fire extinguisher for the type of fire being fought. Only attempt to fight the fire if you are comfortable using a fire extinguisher and if the fire is small, contained, and not spreading beyond the immediate area. Refer to Portable Fire Extinguishers for proper extinguisher selection.
  • Relocate: Relocate to a safe area. In campus buildings, relocate outside of the building and away from the main entrance. In University of Chicago Medicine buildings, relocate patients/visitors in accordance with your department’s relocation plan. Fire evacuation routes and fire alarm codes are posted by the fire alarm pull stations or in elevator lobbies. DO NOT USE ELEVATORS within the building as a means of exit, only use the stairways. If anyone is unaccounted for, immediately notify a representative from the Chicago Fire Department. Do not re-enter the building until instructed to do so by one of the aforementioned agencies.

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Emergency Actions Plans (EAPs)

Ensuring a safe working environment for the faculty,  staff, students, 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.

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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 Fire Department therefore prohibiting excessive storage in mechanical rooms. All electrical and elevator control rooms shall be free of any storage.

For additional information on storage requirements review the Fire Safety Policy.

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Emergency Evacuation Procedures for Persons with Disabilities

Refer to Emergency Evacuation Procedures for Persons with Disabilities.

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Per regulations promulgated by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), fire safety and emergency evacuation training shall be completed by full-time University employees, students working in laboratories, and part-time employees working at least 1,950 hours on an annual basis. This mandatory training course can be completed via the EHSA website.

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

  • Enter the EHSA Online Training Module (ehsa.uchicago.edu/training);
  • Click on the “Due Date" column twice to ensure the required or overdue courses are brought up to the top of the list; and
  • Click on the "Select" icon next to training you would like to complete and your course will begin.

Reviewed: October 2022

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Regulatory References

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.38, Emergency Action Plans

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