Saint Louis University

Fire Safety

Fire safety begins with you. In any fire, contact the Department of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness (DPSEP) at (314) 977-3000 when you have evacuated to a safe location.

If the fire is small and you have the training, use a proper fire extinguisher to contain the fire. DO NOT ENDANGER YOURSELF OR OTHERS by trying to extinguish a fire that is large or beyond your capabilities to contain. Remember, most people die from smoke, not fire.

If there is a fire in your building:

  • Tell everyone you can to leave the building.
  • Close all doors behind you.
  • Pull the fire alarm on your way out of the building while yelling, "Fire!"
  • Leave the building using the nearest stairway.
  • Alway know where a second exit is in the event your primary means of escape is blocked.
  • Call the Department of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness at (314) 977-3000 when you are safely out of the building. 
  • Know the reassembly point
  • Notify the Department of Public Safety of the location of the fire, the cause if known, and if you are aware of any hazardous materials in the area.

When you hear the fire alarm: Leave the building immediately. 

In some cases you may not be able to leave the building safely.  In those rare cases you may have to stay in your apartment, room or office; be prepared to act quickly. No matter what your decision, you must protect yourself from the smoke.

If you decide to leave the building:

  • Check the door of your apartment, room, office or lab. If there is no smoke, brace yourself and open the door a little. If smoke is entering from around the door, do not open it. If the handle is hot, do not open it. Protect yourself from smoke.
  • If the corridor is clear, take your keys, lock your door if you can do so safely, and go to the nearest stairway. DO NOT USE THE ELEVATOR.
  • Open the nearest stairway door carefully.
  • If there is no smoke, use the nearest smoke free stairway to leave the building.
  • If there is smoke, do not enter. Close the door. Go to the nearest alternate stairway and open the door carefully. If there is no smoke, use this stairway to leave the building. If there is smoke, do not enter. If there are other stairways, try them. If there is no safe exit route, return to your apartment, room, office and lab and follow the instructions below. 
  • Call the Department of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness at (314) 977-3000 and advice them of your location and that you are trapped.

When you are inside the stairway: 

  • If you find smoke on your way down the stairs, leave that stairway as soon as you can by entering onto the nearest floor.  Use an alternate stairway if it is clear of smoke. 
  • If you can't use any stairway, return to the area you left if at all possible, or go into any corridor and bang on other doors until you find a place to take shelter.
  • Never go to the roof unless you have absolutely no other choice. Smoke usually rises to the top of the stairway. Generally doors opening onto the roof are locked and you could be trapped.
  • Wherever you are, if there is smoke, crawl low under it. The air is cleaner near the floor.
  • If you have a cell phone, contact the Department of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness at (314) 977-3000 and let them know that you are trapped.

If you must remain in your apartment, residence hall room, office or lab:

  • Protect yourself from smoke. Stay where you are until you are rescued or until you are told to leave by professionals, or until you can leave the area safely. REMEMBER, the longer you wait to leave the building, the more risk that heavy smoke will have spread into stairways and corridors.
  • Keep smoke from entering your safe area. Use duct tape or a damp cloth to seal cracks around the door. Seal vents or air ducts the same way.
  • If smoke enters your space:
    • Telephone the Department of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness (314) 977-3000 to tell them where you are.
    • If you have a balcony, go outside onto the baloney. Close the doors behind you if you move to a balcony.
    • If you don't have a balcony, go to the most smoke-free room, close the door and seal it with tape and towels. Open the window for fresh air.
    • Show your rescuers where you are by hanging a sheet or some other large piece of material from the window or balcony.
    • Keep low to the floor where the air is cleaner.
    • Listen for instructions from authorities.

If your clothes catch fire: Stop, drop and roll. Stop immediately, drop to the ground and cover your face with your hands. Roll over and over or back and forth to put out the fire. Immediately cool the burn with cool water for 3 to 5 minutes and seek emergency medical care.

Reduce the chance of fires! 

  • DO NOT use candles and space heaters in your work area, residence hall, room or lab.
  • DO NOT leave open flames in labs unattended.
  • REPORT any potential fire safety issues to Facilities Services at (314) 977-2955.
  • REMEMBER to turn off all coffee pots and other electrical appliances at the end of the day.
  • Click here to learn about dealing with cooking fires.

Modified from U.S. Fire Administration information

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