What to do, and how to evacuate, during a fire or emergency situation?

Contact the UVA Fire Safety Office at 434-982-4911, or email us at fire-safety@virginia.edu, for more help with planning to make your home and office space safe from fire.

Evacuation Locations at the University of Virginia

UVA Emergency Management, University Housing and Residence Life, and the Office of Environmental Health & Safety are responsible for reviewing designated evacuation locations. Evacuation locations are assessed as the need arises and at minimum, on an annual basis.

View a complete list of evacuation locations for all University buildings here.

While at Work

  • When the alarm sounds, check a closed door with the back of your hand for heat before opening. If the door is hot, use a secondary escape route. If the door is cool, open it carefully and check for smoke, fire or other danger – if it's safe, then exit the building using the closest exit!
  • Proceed calmly to your building's evacuation area.
    • If you don't know the evacuation area, move at least 20' away from the building. Don't block access for emergency vehicles.
  • Assist visitors, guests, patients and any others who may not be familiar with the building.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave, this helps reduce the spread of smoke.
  • If you have information about the emergency, call 911 or notify emergency services personnel when they arrive.
  • Do not re-enter the building until told it is safe to do so by officials. A silenced alarm system does not necessarily mean that it is safe to re-enter.

If smoke, heat or other danger prevents you from exiting your Work?

  • Stay calm!
  • Stay low to avoid the thickest smoke. Holding a cloth to your mouth and nose may help.
  • Get to a room with a window (note the room number if possible).
  • Call 911 and tell the dispatcher your situation and location. Provide as much information as possible, and stay on the line until the dispatcher tells you it's OK to hang up.
  • Close doors behind you to reduce the spread of smoke. Use cloth, rugs, etc. to help seal the bottom of a door.
  • Signal for help at the window. If the window will open, use it to get fresh air, but be prepared to close it if it draws more smoke into the room.

While at Home

  • Develop an evacuation plan for your home, and make sure you practice it, particularly with children and the elderly! UVA Fire Safety or your local fire department can help you plan. A home evacuation plan should include a safe, well-lit meeting place outside where all family members will gather.
  • Make sure your address is clearly visible from any direction. Some local fire departments will provide you with reflective address markers.
  • Have working smoke alarms in your home.
  • When the alarm sounds, evacuate according to your plan. Use the back of your hand to feel if doors are hot – if so, don't open them and use your secondary escape route. If doors are cool to the touch, open carefully. If it's safe, evacuate.
  • Make sure to help others get out – the elderly, infirm and children.
  • Close doors behind you to reduce the spread of smoke.
  • Go to your meeting place and verify that everyone is out.
  • Call 911! If anyone did not arrive at the meeting place, be sure to tell the dispatcher.
  • Do not re-enter the house.
  • When the fire department arrives, tell them what you know about the situation and where family members might be if they did not get out. This can help reduce the time needed to help them.

If smoke, heat or other danger prevents you from exiting your Home?

  • Stay calm!
  • Stay low to avoid the thickest smoke. Holding a cloth to your mouth and nose may help.
  • Get to a room with a window, and close the door behind you. Use cloth, rugs, etc. to seal the bottom of the door and limit the spread of smoke.
  • Call 911 and tell the dispatcher your situation and location. Provide as much information as possible, and stay on the line until the dispatcher tells you it's OK to hang up.
  • Signal for help at the window. If the window will open, use it to get fresh air, but be prepared to close it if it draws more smoke into the room.

Additional Fire Safety Tips for both Home and Work

  • Always know where your exits are, and keep them clear.
  • Don't overload electric outlets.
  • Use fused power strips if needed instead of extension cords.
  • Don't run power cords for lamps or other electrical items underneath rugs or carpets.
  • Always be careful with candles and other open flames. In most businesses, they are not allowed.
  • Don't block your exits with furniture or storage.
  • Test your smoke detectors monthly, and clean them as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Replace your batteries as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Replace your smoke detectors every 10 years or as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Know where fire extinguishers are located, and know how to use them. Mounting them close to your exits can help ensure that you can escape if the fire becomes too large.
  • Keep areas around stoves, fireplaces, heaters, electrical panels and other hot items clear, clean and uncluttered.
  • Be careful when cooking – never leave food cooking unattended (this includes food in microwave ovens). Leave microwave and oven doors closed if objects inside are on fire.
  • Keep pot and pan handles turned away from you to prevent hot spills.
  • Don't place things near stoves which could catch fire, like paper or cloth towels, or pot holders.
  • Never try to carry a burning pot or pan, it could spill burning material on you or other combustibles.
  • Don't use flour or water on burning grease. Flour and other "dusty" material can explode, and water will cause splattering of burning grease. If safe to do so, turn off the stove and slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames.
  • Clean your dryer lint trap after every use. Lint buildup reduces the efficiency of your dryer, and increases the chance of a fire.
  • Be extra cautious with candles and other open flames – consider using "flameless" candles instead.
  • Always use the recommended wattage light bulbs. Using bulbs with wattages higher than recommended for the product increase the chances of a fire.
  • Always turn off and unplug heat-producing devices like irons, blow dryers, and curling irons when they're not being used.
  • Never cover lamps with flammable items like scarves and towels. Don't use lamps as a hat rack or hanger for your clothes.
  • Never leave charging phones, computers or other battery operated devices on bedding or furniture. The material prevents them from cooling properly and can cause fires.
  • If computer or cell phone batteries begin to swell or smoke when being charged, disconnect the charger from house current. If they catch fire, call 911.
  • Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations when replacing batteries and charging cords for computers and phones.
  • Don't use upholstered indoor furniture like sofas and chairs outside on covered porches. These types of furniture are easily ignited by cigarettes and fireworks. Fires on porches can burn undetected for long periods of time, and can block your escape from the house.
  • Properly dispose of all smoking materials. Under certain weather conditions, cigarettes discarded into mulched or planted areas can start fires that quickly extend to the building's siding.
 
 
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