Fire & Emergency Evacuation

To establish standard procedures for the safe, timely and orderly emergency evacuation of University facilities.
  • Florida Statute Chapter 633 – Fire Prevention and Control
  • National Fire Protection Association: Life Safety Code
  • Department of Insurance, Division of State Fire Marshall Uniform Fire Safety Rules and Standards
  • Florida International University 2001 Emergency Management Executive Committee Policy Statement
  • University Safety Policy15.8
Fires, explosions, bomb threats and chemical spills are among the occurrences that may require emergency evacuation of University facilities. The continuous sound and flashing of fire alarm horns and strobes, in any University owned, leased or operated facility, is the evacuation signal. Everyone who is alerted by this alarm is required to evacuate the facility as quickly and as calmly as possible.
The University’s “Zero Tolerance Fire Alarm Response Protocol” demands that all facility occupants respond to the alarm signal by immediately initiating the evacuation procedures outlined below:

  1. Conclude activities immediately. Complete the internal departmental or class procedures that have been determined to be essential prior to emergency evacuation.
  2. Department safety wardens, supervisors, laboratory managers and instructors are required to assure that everyone, including individuals with mobility limitations, have evacuated their area.
    Note: Evacuation plans for persons with disabilities must be made part of each department’s documented emergency evacuation procedures.
  3. Follow facility EXIT signs to the nearest safe exit. Do not use elevators! Special care should be taken with some footwear, such as clogs, that could hamper rapid and safe descent.
  4. Walk briskly down stairs. Do Not Run! Stay on the right in order to allow emergency response personnel clear access up the stairs, along the left side.
  5. As you approach the landing of each floor, allow evacuees from that level to enter the stairwell.
  6. If evacuation becomes difficult via a chosen route, because of smoke, flames or blockage, re-enter the facility on a safe floor. Continue evacuation via the nearest safe exit route.
  7. Once you have exited the facility, move away from the building. Stay clear of the building and exit doors! Proceed to your Evacuation Assembly Area. (See Addendum #1, Recommended Evacuation Assembly Areas)
  8. Do not, under any circumstances, re-enter the facility unless authorized by a Public Safety Officer, fire department personnel, or until a recognized University authority broadcasts the “All Clear” directive.


Director of Emergency Management:
Based on the scope and impact of an “occurrence”or life safety threat, the Director of Emergency Management may authorize the notification of the FIU Emergency Management Group (EMG) and/or activation of the Emergency Management Plan.

As defined in the FIU Emergency Management Plan

Deans, Directors & Department Heads:
Shall, at minimum, develop and implement the following procedures:

  1. Designate the individual and alternate(s), i.e. department safety wardens, who will be responsible for maintenance and implementation of their unit’s emergency management plan.
  2. Perform an annual review and update of their unit’s planned response to fires and other types of emergencies that may require facility evacuation.
  3. Identify the critical assets and functions within their operations, and determine how each such asset or function could be adversely affected by the likely consequences of fire, water, soot, and other likely occurrences, that could result in disruption, destruction and/or interruption of their unit’s routine operations.
  4. Appropriate the resources necessary to plan, prepare and recover from the effects of the occurrences identified to be most likely to affect their critical assets and functions.
  5. Arrange/facilitate emergency response training on the use of fire extinguishers, the control of hazardous material releases, and other topics as may be appropriate; and assure employees’ full cooperation and participation in emergency planning and evacuation exercises.
  6. Assure that all employees including faculty, staff, volunteers, OPS-employees and college work-study employees are advised and knowledgeable regarding their specific emergency response assignments, and that they are fully able to execute them.
  7. Maintain a current emergency call roster and a contact list for each employee in their department or unit.
  8. Develop and exercise procedures for employees to provide notification to their supervisor or the department safety warden regarding their well-being and availability in the aftermath of an emergency.
Employees, Students & Facility Occupants:
Shall familiarize themselves with the University’s, and their unit’s, emergency response procedures. Shall cooperate with University Public Safety Officers, fire department personnel, and designated emergency response personnel charged with responding to, or investigating an occurrence or any other life safety threats.

Shall notify the Public Safety Department and/or activate the nearest fire alarm pull station to alert others if a life safety threat, such as the presence of smoke or flames is detected. Occupants of buildings or trailers that are not equipped with a fire alarm system shall notify other building occupants of the need to evacuate by using any means appropriate to the situation.

Shall notify the Public Safety Department of any individuals with mobility limitations who intend to take refuge in stairwells or specific areas for rescue assistance.

Note: The fire alarm system in most buildings at the Modesto Maidique campus and Biscayne Bay campus is directly connected to the Public Safety Dispatcher’s station; however, reasonable efforts should be made to provide additional details to the Public Safety Dispatcher immediately prior to, or immediately after evacuating a facility because of a life safety threat.

Public Safety:
Shall immediately dispatch an officer under “Code 3″to the facility reported as the location of occurrence, and shall immediately thereafter notify the Fire Department and other agencies, as appropriate.

Shall provide subsequent notification to the following:

  • Facilities Management Work Management Center or on-call personnel
  • Director of Environmental Health & Safety/Emergency Management Plan Coordinator or his or her alternate
  • FIU Director of Emergency Management, as appropriate
  • Select members of the Emergency Management Group, as appropriate

The responding officer, upon arrival at the building from which the alarm originated, shall conduct a threat evaluation by attempting to verify the existence of a fire or life safety threat.

  • Whenever it is possible to clearly establish that the signal/situation under evaluation is a “False Alarm”, the officer shall immediately notify the Dispatcher, who will immediately notify the Fire Department and other agencies.
  • If a fire or life safety threat is suspected or verified, the officer shall immediately notify the Dispatcher of his or her observations. The Dispatcher shall immediately relay this information to the Fire Department and other emergency response agencies and shall provide as much relevant additional information as is available.

Fire alarms shall not be silenced unless/until the threat evaluation has been completed by the responding Public Safety Officer(s) and/or emergency response personnel. University Public Safety Officers or Fire Department Personnel are the only persons authorized to silence, or to grant authorization to silence a fire alarm.

Only University Public Safety Officers and/or University employees who have been, designated, trained and authorized by the Facilities Management Department may silence fire alarms.

As defined in Public Safety Department SOP Manual

Facilities Management:
Shall respond to the appropriate location, upon receipt of notification from the Public Safety Dispatcher.

Facilities Management personnel shall remain accessible and await the authorization from the Public Safety Department or Fire Department Personnel to silence or reset fire alarm and other building systems that may require reactivation.

Shall coordinate for the implementation of a Fire Watch, consistent with University Safety Compliance Guidance # 214, if the fire alarm system has been partially or totally disabled in any facility managed by the University.

Shall maintain University fire alarm system at optimal functional effectiveness.

Shall assure that timely and widespread notification is provided to the University community regarding any and all scheduled testing of the fire alarm system in any University facility.

Environmental Health & Safety:
Shall, upon notification from the Public Safety Dispatcher, respond to the incident command post established for the management of an emergency, when appropriate.

Shall provide the Public Safety Department, Facilities Management and authorized emergency response personnel browser access to the Chemical Inventory Management System (CIMS) hazardous materials database.

Shall coordinate with the Metro-Dade Fire Department to develop and maintain current site safety response plans for each campus location.

Shall assure maintenance of fire extinguishers and fire suppression systems located throughout University facilities in operable condition, and in compliance with fire safety code requirements.

Shall issue building re-occupancy clearance, subsequent to the occurrence of a fire or life safety threat with potential environmental or occupational health and safety ill-effects.

Shall facilitate delivery of various types of emergency preparedness and response training and awareness programs for the University community including, but not limited to, use of fire extinguishers and Evacu-Trac devices and emergency evacuation exercises.

Special conditions

Persons with Disabilities:
It is the responsibility of each person with a physical limitation, likely to impair their ability to safely and independently evacuate a building at the time of an emergency, to make the necessary arrangements with the Office of Disability Services, Equal Opportunity Programs, co-workers (“buddies”) and/or the Public Safety Department to provide assistance as may be appropriate to facilitate their safe and timely evacuation of University facilities at the time of an emergency. (See Addendum # 2 – Evacu-Trac locations)
Research & Teaching Laboratories:
Principal investigators and laboratory managers are required to develop and maintain current written emergency response and evacuation procedures appropriate for the type of hazards in their laboratories.
Other Locations:
University employees responsible for locations that may house unique or high-risk operations are equally subject to the requirement to develop and maintain written emergency response and evacuation procedures specific for the type of hazardous exposures at their location.