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Fire Alarm Evacuation Policy

Approved by Executive Council on February 13, 2017

Policy Number Policy Owner
 8028.1 Emergency Management 

1.0    Purpose

To establish evacuation procedures of campus buildings for a fire alarm activation, whether for an accidental activation; when testing of the system is being conducted; or for an actual emergency.

2.0    Revision History

Date Version Change Ref Section
2/13/2017 1.0 New Document  

This policy has replaced Fire Alarm Procedures

3.0    Units and Persons Affected

All employees, students and guests to the campus.

4.0    Policy

The campus fire alarm system is an effective means of alerting building occupants that a fire emergency exists within their building. At times, the system may activate as a result of an accidental activation, when testing the system, during emergency evacuation drills or for an actual fire emergency. Whatever the reason for its activation, building occupants must evacuate to their building’s designated assembly point, or at least 150 feet from the building until a signal to re-enter has been given by an authorized campus designee.

    4.1 Notifications–         4.1.1. Before proceeding with any testing, all persons and facilities receiving alarm, supervisory, or trouble signals and all building occupants shall be notified of the testing (excluding students in residence halls).         4.1.2. At the conclusion of testing, those previously notified (and others, as necessary) shall be notified that testing has been concluded.         4.1.3. Occupant notification shall be required whenever a fire alarm system configured for releasing service is being serviced or tested.

5.0    Definitions

    5.1    Accidental Activation–  An activation of a building’s fire alarm system for a cause other than purposely triggering the system (i.e. burned food, steam, etc.)

    5.2    Authorized Campus Designee–  A building contact (administrative buildings), R.A. /R.D (residential buildings), or University Police.

    5.3    Building Contact–  Building contacts are designated volunteers who help assist with promoting the health, safety and well-being of occupants within their building, and assisting the campus in the time of need during campus incidents/events and drills.  Building contacts can be easily identified during evacuations because they will wear a florescent green safety vest with the words “building contact” on the back.

    5.4    Emergency Evacuation Drills–  Emergency evacuation drills serve to educate building occupants, assist in the evaluation of emergency plans, and identify potential issues with the building’s means of egress or fire safety systems. As required by Chapter 4 of the Fire Code of New York State and Education Law, Article 17, Part 807, annual drills are required. The frequency of emergency evacuation drills is dependent on the building’s occupancy class. 

    5.5    Occupancy Class–           5.5.1. Campus residential units are classified as an R-2 occupancy class and require 4 annual drills.


       For all occupants

       One must be conducted between September 1st and December 1st

       One must utilize fire escapes when  present

        One during the hours of darkness

        In residential units housing summer students, one drill must be held during the first week

        5.5.2. Academic/Administrative buildings are classified as a B occupancy class and require 3 annual drills.


       For all occupants

       One must be conducted between September 1st and December 1st

       One must utilize fire escapes when  present

       In buildings where summer sessions are conducted, one drill must be held during the first week of such summer session

        5.5.3. Campus theaters, sports facilities, student centers, dining facilities, or other places of public assembly are classified as an A occupancy class and require quarterly drills.


       For all employees

       One must be conducted between September 1st and December 1st

       One must utilize fire escapes when present

       In buildings where summer sessions are conducted, one drill must be held during the first week of such summer session

     5.6    Testing, Inspection and Maintenance-Testing, inspection and maintenance of the campus fire alarm system and its components are completed by a certified vendor, and as required by NFPA 72.   Includes strobes, horns, pull-stations, and other associated equipment to the system.  If testing is required while the building is occupied, building occupants may remain in the building, unless the alarm is activated. Since annual testing includes the use of horns and strobes, every effort will be made to schedule system tests for when students are not in the residence halls, and when building occupancy is at its minimum in academic and administrative buildings. 

6.0    Responsibilities

    6.1  Facilities, Maintenance & Operations (M&O)– 

        6.1.1. M&O will coordinate a testing schedule with the vendor and then notify the campus of such schedule.  Will provide notification prior to and at the completion of the building’s fire alarm test.

    6.2  Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS)–  

        6.2.1. EHS will notify Maintenance & Operations when campus emergency evacuation drills are due, per NYS Fire Code.  

        6.2.2. Maintenance & Operations will coordinate emergency evacuation drills for academic and administrative buildings with University Police and M&O.  

        6.2.3. Maintenance & Operations will coordinate emergency evacuation drills with College Auxiliary Services for locations that will affect food services.

    6.3  University Police (UPD)–  

        6.3.1. UPD will coordinate emergency evacuation drills for residence halls with the Housing Office. 

7.0    Procedures 

        7.0.1. When a fire alarm sounds, proceed to the nearest exit marked by an exit sign. The nearest exit may not be the way you entered the building.  

        7.0.2. If exits / stairwells are not clear or safe, go to the next closest exit / stairway. Stairwells are an important means of exiting multi-story buildings. Therefore, fire doors should be kept closed.  

        7.0.3. The elevators should not to be used. Many elevators are programmed to shut down during a fire alarm.  

        7.0.4. Doors and, if possible, windows should be closed and lights turned off as the last person leaves a room or area.  

        7.0.5. When a fire alarms sounds, evacuate the building quickly, but do not run or panic.  

        7.0.6. People who walk slowly or need assistance should walk to the right side of stairwells to prevent impeding other people from exiting a building.

        7.0.7. Leave the nearby vicinity of the building and gather at designated assembly areas at least 150 feet away, so Emergency Personnel have clear access to the building.  

        7.0.8. Proceed to designated assembly areas for your building. The designated areas should be communicated by the faculty instructor, staff member, building contacts, R.A. /R.D. Try to account for the people in your work / class areas to ensure all occupants have left the building.  

        7.0.9. Never re-enter a building without instructions from an authorized designated college authority.

    7.1 Faculty–  All faculty members must immediately instruct students to evacuate a classroom / laboratory / studio when a fire alarm is activated. Ensure students evacuate the building and go to designated assembly areas.

    7.2 Students–  All students must immediately evacuate the building and gather at least 150 feet from the building in the designated assembly areas.

    7.3 Employees–  All employees must evacuate the building and go to designated assembly areas. * New York State Office of Fire Protection and Control (OFPC) and New York State Law requires all occupants to evacuate buildings when a fire alarm is activated, whether it is a drill or not.

    7.4 Emergency Assembly Area–  Once outside, please stay at least 150 feet away from buildings. Whenever possible, congregate with people from your class / work groups/ floor. Try to account for all people after gathering at the assembly area to ensure they have evacuated safely. If you suspect there are still people in the building, immediately notify University Police or Emergency Personnel.

    7.5 Evacuation of Individuals with Special Needs–     

        7.5.1 Whenever possible, identify a partner to assist those with special needs during an emergency incident. Do not attempt to lift /carry individuals with disabilities since this may cause serious injuries. Only professional Rescue Personnel should lift or carry individuals with special needs.

   If a person with special needs is prohibited from evacuating their building, they should be assisted by a partner to an area of refuge or a shelter-in-place location. (note: stairwells have at least a one hour fire rating). The partner should instruct the individual to stay in place while they exit the building and notifies emergency personnel of the individual’s location. Dial x2022 (518-564-2022) from a campus phone or 9-1-1 from a non-campus phone and identify the name and location of the person who is unable to exit.  

        7.5.2. An Area of Refuge should have the following criteria:    

   An enclosed area, preferably with fire rated doors and walls,  

   A campus phone, if possible, and

   Located in close proximity to exits, stairwells or other access points for Rescue Personnel.    

        7.5.3. Whenever possible, a list will be compiled for the location of individuals with special needs who reside or work at SUNY Plattsburgh. This list will be provided to University Police. If any member of the SUNY Plattsburgh faculty and staff wish to be identified on this list, please send your information to Human Resource Services.    

        7.5.4. If you are a student with special needs, please send your information to the Student Support Services staff. The Student Support Services staff will meet with students needing assistance to discuss their action plans during an emergency on campus. The campus Disability Coordinator will meet with faculty and staff needing assistance to discuss action plans, as needed.  

        7.5.5. If people with special needs are visiting the campus, the host should identify their partners during an emergency to assist their evacuation or relocation to an area of refuge, along with the need to alert University Police and Rescue Personnel.

 8.0    Appendix

Emergency assembly area 

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