Frequently Asked Questions

 WHERE can I find a fire extinguisher on campus?

 In the corridors of academic and office buildings, and inside very large rooms.

In or immediately outside all laboratories where chemicals are stored and used.

In or immediately outside mechanical spaces where motorized or other equipment is present which might reasonably cause a fire.

In campus airpark hangers, storage buildings, and mounted inside certain university vehicles.

If you can't find the fire extinguisher in your area, or feel you need a different type/size of extinguisher for your work area or research, contact the Environmental Health & Safety at 348-2621.

Wherever possible, ALL campus extinguishers are either mounted IN a marked cabinet or mounted on a RED backing board to make their location easy to identify.

 

Q: If I just use a little, do I have to report the extinguisher as USED?

 A: YES! We want FULL extinguishers at all campus locations.

 While CO2 and halon extinguishers will generally hold their pressure after a slight discharge, BC and ABC rated DRY CHEMICAL extinguishers will usually NOT hold a charge after partial use. This is true for all your personal home and vehicle dry chemical extinguishers, too!

 

While the gauge may hold steady in the green immediately after a slight use, check it the next day and you'll find the gauge on EMPTY! This is because upon use the dry powder gets inside the seals and allows the nitrogen carrier to escape over a period of time.

 

After ANY use a BC or ABC extinguisher MUST be serviced and recharged. This is very important for home extinguishers also; YOU MUST HAVE THE EXTINGUISHER REFILLED AFTER ANY USE.

 

You can't "test" an extinguisher and put it back in the cabinet!

 

If you want to try out an extinguisher and learn how it feels to use one, contact the Environmental Health & Safety and we will arrange for you to attend a fire extinguisher classes where you can actually put out a test fire!


Building Evacuation Frequently Asked Questions

• Q. Under what circumstances can I use the elevator?

•A. It is never appropriate to use the elevator during a fire or similar building emergency in a multi-story building. Elevators are designed to go to a predetermined recall level when a fire occurs.  If there is a malfunction of any type, the elevator may inadvertently travel to the fire floor.

•Q. If stair travel takes too long, am I better off to go up to the roof to await rescue, if that's closer?

A. Building designs incorporate numerous features that direct occupants to the street or grade level.  Many of us have seen dramatic video of helicopters picking up occupants from the roof of a burning building. However, this is an extraordinarily dangerous procedure.  If the fire is severe enough, the large thermal currents can cause the helicopter to be buffeted, up or down, making it hard to control.

• Q. My department has written evacuation procedures, and I want to know if they are adequate for any emergency that may occur there?

A. It is highly likely that the procedures are adequate.  Your department plans on events that are likely to happen.  In large part, evacuation procedures are geared towards an accidental fire, chemical releases, tropical storms, or bomb threats.   As long as your department's procedures make clear to you the actions that you are to take, and when to take them, that is in essence what you are looking for.

• Q. What procedures should be applied for people like me who are confined to a wheelchair?

•  A. Able-bodied as well as disabled occupants must be covered under any written procedures.  If your floor has to be evacuated, you should plan to horizontally relocate to a refuge area.  In buildings with automatic sprinkler protection, this may simply be an adjacent compartment or stairwell.  In other cases, your building may provide areas of refuge.  These spaces may be located as standalone, barriered compartments on the floor, or they may consist of oversized landings in the stairwells such as the PC and GC buildings.

• Regardless which feature you have, your plan includes waiting in one of the designated spaces until fire department personnel can remove you.  Some of these spaces are provided with a two-way communication feature so you can keep the FIU Public Safety Department informed of your location.  Your department may also supplement this procedure with a 'buddy' system.  In this case, you need to anticipate situations where the buddy is not available and plan accordingly.

• Q. I am comfortable with my department's current procedures, but as stated in several questions above, many of these procedures are based on typical events.  What happens when the event is not typical?

A. As with any situation in our daily lives, you are ultimately in control of your fate, to the extent of your capability.  Thus, you are largely responsible for your own personal safety based upon the circumstances.  Detailed procedures, verbal instructions and even past experience may not be adequate to help you deal with extraordinary events.  However, when faced with a potential health and safety challenge "Think RED!"

• REACT:  Take any indication of smoke, fire or other potentially threatening situation seriously.  Activation of building fire alarms, smell of smoke, visual indication of flames, warning from other occupants, arrival of the fire department are some of the attributes that may signal an imminently dangerous situation.

• EVALUATE:  You must judge the level of threat.  This includes confirming evidence or presence of smoke or fire; judging the conditions in your immediate area; self-judgment of your physical ability to relocate or evacuate; evaluation of the needs and abilities of those from whom you may need assistance.

• DECIDE:  There are only two, but difficult choices:

• 1.     Follow your plan and immediately leave the building.

• 2.     Follow your plan and stay where you are.  In this case, anticipated action may include alerting response personnel of your location.  Be prepared to wait if you contemplate rescue by the fire department.

 Workplace Fire Safety Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are latches, slide or ceiling locks allowed for egress doors opened from the inside? Where can I find the requirements for means of egress?

A: Every building or structure must be provided with free and unobstructed access to exits from all parts of the building or structure at all times WHEN IT IS OCCUPIED. No lock or fastening to prevent free escape from the inside of any building or structure shall be installed except in mental, penal, or correctional institutions where supervisory personnel are continually on duty and effective provisions are made to remove occupants in case of fire or other emergency. {29 CFR 1910.36 (b) (4)}

Q: What is "reliable illumination"?

A: When used in this subpart, reliable illumination means any primary artificial lighting used to mark the way of exit travel in a building that is from a source of reasonable reliability, such as a public electric utility service. Reliable illumination must be arranged so that the failure of any single lighting unit, such as the burning out of any electric bulb, will not leave any exit or exit access area in darkness. Although battery-operated electric lights which are rechargeable or have any uninterruptible power supply can be used as emergency lighting. {29 CFR 1910.36 (b) (6) and 1910.37 (q)}

Q: Are exit signs required to have a backup power source?

A: NO. Backup power sources are required to provide energy for emergency lighting to assist individuals in exiting their job site after a power failure. Exit signs are required to possess an internal light source or be adequately illuminated externally by an artificial light source. It should be noted that emergency lighting is covered under NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, and is enforced by the State Fire Marshall. {29 CFR 1910.37 (q)}