EWU 603-03: Fire Safety

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Health and Safety – Public Safety

EWU Policy 603-03 Authority: EWU Board of Trustees
Effective: May 10, 2019 Proponent: Vice President of Business and Finance 

Summary: This policy contains information related to fire safety on the campuses and surrounding areas of Eastern Washington University.

History: This policy updates a previous version of the policy dated March 19, 2010 and was approved by the Board of Trustees (BOT) on May 10, 2019

Applicability: This policy applies to all persons on the campuses and surrounding areas of EWU.


1-1. Purpose

This policy prescribes standards and procedures related to fire prevention and reporting on the campuses of Eastern Washington University. It also provides information on fire safety education and training.

1-2. Authority & Responsibilities

a. The University President is required by Section 485 of the Higher Education Act to provide the U.S. Department of Education with an annual campus fire safety report.

b. The Director of Public Safety keeps the President apprised in times of emergent situations on campus. The EWU Director of Public Safety/Chief of Police directs the EWU Police Department.

c. The University Police Department has primary responsibility for campus safety, safety notifications, and emergency management.

d. The Vice President for Business and Finance has overall responsibility for fire safety training, prevention, facilities, systems, equipment, reporting and compliance.

e. The Cheney Fire Department and other local emergency response personnel shall have full authority when responding to incidents on the campuses and surrounding areas of Eastern Washington University.

1-3. References

WAC 172-121, Student Conduct Code
Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315)
Higher Education Technical Amendment of 1991 (Public Law 102-26)
Higher Education Amendment of 1992 (Public Law 102-325)
Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act (Public Law 101-542)
The Handbook for Campus Safety & Security Reporting (US Dept of Education, 2016)
EWU Policy 603-01, Campus Safety, Security, & Crime Prevention

1-4. Definitions

a. Cause of fire: The factor or factors that give rise to a fire. The causal factor may be, but is not limited to, the result of an intentional or unintentional action, mechanical failure, or act of nature.

b. Fire: Any instance of open flame or other burning in a place not intended to contain the burning or in an uncontrolled manner.

c. Fire drill: A supervised practice of a mandatory evacuation of a building for a fire.

d. Fire-related injury: Any instance in which a person is injured as a result of a fire, including an injury sustained from a natural or accidental cause, while involved in fire control, attempting rescue, or escaping from the dangers of a fire. The term ‘‘person’’ may include students, faculty, staff, visitors, firefighters, or any other individuals.

e. Fire-related death: Any instance in which a person:

(1) is killed as a result of a fire, including death resulting from a natural or accidental cause while involved in fire control, attempting rescue, or escaping from the dangers of a fire; or
(2) dies within one year of injuries sustained as a result of a fire.

f. Fire-safety system: Any mechanism or system related to the detection of a fire, the warning resulting from a fire, or the control of a fire. This may include sprinkler systems or other fire extinguishing systems; fire detection devices; stand-alone smoke alarms; devices that alert one to the presence of a fire, such as horns, bells, or strobe lights; smoke-control and reduction mechanisms; and fire doors and walls that reduce the spread of a fire.

g. Value of property damage: The estimated value of the loss of the structure and contents, in terms of the cost of replacement in like kind and quantity. This estimate should include contents damaged by fire, and related damages caused by smoke, water, and overhaul; however, it does not include indirect loss, such as business interruption.


2-1. Annual Fire Safety Report

a. Eastern Washington University shall, on an annual basis, publish a fire safety report. The Vice President for Business and Finance has overall responsibility for the report. A report template is included at Appendix A. The annual report shall be completed by October 1st of each year.

b. Contents: The annual fire safety report shall contain, at a minimum, the following:

(1) statistics concerning the following in each on-campus student housing facility during the three most recent calendar years for which data are available:
(i) the number of fires and the cause of each fire;
(ii) the number of injuries related to a fire that result in treatment at a medical facility;
(iii) the number of deaths related to a fire; and
(iv) the value of property damage caused by a fire;

(2) a description of each on-campus student housing facility fire safety system;
(3) the number of fire drills held during the previous calendar year;
(4) policies or rules on portable electrical appliances, smoking, and open flames (such as candles) in student housing facilities;
(5) procedures for evacuation of student housing facilities in the case of a fire;
(6) policies regarding fire safety education and training programs provided to students, faculty, and staff; including a description of the procedures that students and employees should follow in the case of a fire;
(7) for the purposes of including a fire in the statistics in the annual fire safety report, a list of the titles of each person or organization to which students and employees should report that a fire has occurred; and,
(8) plans for future improvements in fire safety, if determined necessary by EWU.

c. Publication and Distribution: Once completed, the fire safety report shall be provided to the University Police Department for incorporation into the annual safety report. The title of the combined report shall clearly state that it contains both the annual safety report and the annual fire safety report. The report will be distributed to the campus community and to the Secretary of Education per EWU Policy 603-01.

2-2. Fire Log

Eastern Washington University shall maintain a written and easily understood fire log that records, by the date that a fire was reported, any fire that occurred in an on-campus student housing facility. The log shall include the nature, date, time, and general location of each fire. Additions or changes to the log must be made within two business days of receipt of the information. The log shall be available for public inspection for the most recent 60-day period. Any portion older than 60 days shall be made available within two business days of a request for inspection. The information contained in the fire log will be included in the annual fire safety report statistics.

2-3. Prohibition of Candles and Open Flames

EWU prohibits the use of burning candles, incense, simmering potpourri, kerosene lamps, open burning elements, or other open flame devices in university facilities outside laboratory settings where they may be used by trained personnel. When open flames are used in a laboratory setting, they must be attended to at all times. If there is an interruption in the lab due to a fire evacuation or other disruption, the flame/element device must be turned off immediately.

For outdoor areas, permission must be obtained from the Director of Public Safety before open flames/fires will be permitted on campus.


3-1. General

Eastern Washington University promotes fire safety in a variety ways including both formal training sessions and through dissemination of fire safety information to students and employees.

The focus of training and education efforts is first to prevent fires by emphasizing personal diligence and individual responsibility. The second goal is to prepare students and employees to respond quickly and effectively when a fire is suspected or certain.

Training programs are sponsored by various campus organizations throughout the year. The Vice President for Business and Finance has overall responsibility for coordinating related training and programs for students, faculty, and staff.

3-2. Training for Students

During orientations, students shall receive presentations on fire safety and prevention. These presentations cover a variety of topics, including:
• personal safety;
• residence hall fire prevention; and,
• emergency response.

3-3. Training for Employees

New employees receive training and information similar to that provided at student orientations. Additional training for employees is provided as requested or needed.

3-4. Additional Training and Awareness

Throughout the year, the Vice President for Business and Finance shall coordinate additional fire safety awareness sessions as needed. Individuals and organizations may request special training sessions by contacting the Vice President for Business and Finance.

3-5. Training Materials

In addition to training and awareness sessions, fire safety information is also provided to students and employees through fire safety awareness handouts, posters, displays, videos, and other media. Items may be obtained by contacting the Vice President for Business and Finance.



Example Annual Fire Safety Report

a. Fire Statistics. During Academic Years 2006-2007, 2007-2008, and 2008-2009, there were two fires on the campuses of Eastern Washington University, as shown in the table below.

Date Cause of Fire Location Injuries Deaths Property Damage
Nov 10, 06 Faulty electrical cord 701, Fiction Hall 0 0 $800
Feb 12, 09 Faulty Space Heater 945, Sample Hall 0 0 $1,500

b.  Fire Safety Systems. With the exceptions noted below, all EWU residence halls have full sprinkler systems and networked fire alarm systems. When a networked fire alarm is activated, the alarm sounds on a panel at the Public Safety Office, which is staffed, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. An officer then responds to the building and determines the cause of the alarm and whether the fire department should be notified to respond.

Residence Hall System description
Spruce Hall Partial sprinkler; non-networked alarm system.
Lodgepole Hall Networked alarm system installed in 2004. No sprinklers.

c. Fire Drills. Mandatory, supervised fire drills were conducted for each residence hall and each administrative building on the Cheney campus during the first two weeks of fall quarter.  A second fire drill was conducted during spring quarter for residence hall buildings.  A summer-session fire drill was conducted on June 18, 2009, after new residents occupied residence halls for camp-related activities.  All fire drills were conducted under the control and supervision of the University Police Department.

d. Residence Hall Fire Safety Policies and Procedures. Current fire safety policies and evacuation procedures for student residence halls are attached.  [This information is contained in the annual Residential Hall Living Guide which is available through the Campus Life web site.  For the purposes of the annual fire safety report, the specific fire safety information required by this policy should be extracted from the Living Guide and added to the report.  The VP for Business and Finance will ensure that the information provided includes, at a minimum, the items required under 2-1.b.(4).]

e. Fire Safety Education and Training Policies. Eastern’s fire safety education and training programs, as well as general fire safety procedures are attached.  [For the purposes of the annual fire safety report, the information described in Chapter 3 and Appendix B of this policy should be added to the report.  The VP for Business and Finance will ensure that the information provided includes, at a minimum, the items required under 2-1.b.(6).]

f. Fire Statistic Contacts. In order to ensure that fire incidents are included in the statistics portion of the annual fire safety report, individuals should report the occurrence of any fire to either the VP for Business and Finance or the University Police Department.

g. Planned Fire Safety Improvements. During academic year 2009-2010, the following upgrades to fire safety equipment and systems are planned.

Building Improvement
Spruce Hall Full sprinkler and networked alarm system to be installed in May/June.
Arboretum Hall Fire safety systems will be upgraded in May/June to include networked alarm and full sprinkler systems.



Emergency Procedures

B-1. General

If you observe fire or smoke:

  • Determine the location of the fire and what may be burning.
  • Call 911. Provide your name and the location of the fire. If in a safe location, stay on the line with the dispatcher until told you may hang up.
  • If you hear the evacuation alarm, proceed to the appropriate assembly area.
  • If the fire is small, you may attempt to put it out with a fire extinguisher if you have been properly trained. Do not jeopardize your personal safety. All fires, no matter how small, must be reported to the University Police at 498-9233
  • Evacuate your area if you are unable to put out the fire. Close doors behind you to confine the fire. Proceed to the appropriate assembly area.
  • Know alternate exits from your work area. Never allow the fire to come between you and the exit.
  • Before opening a door, use the back of your hand to feel the top of the door, the doorknob, and the crack between the door and doorframe. If it feels hot, use your secondary escape route. Even if the door feels cool, open it carefully. If the door is hot, or if smoke is visible, do not open the door. If you have to move through a burning or smoked filled area, stay low to the ground or crawl. Use a damp cloth to breathe through if it is available.
  • Do not break a window unless it is the ONLY means of escape. Oxygen feeds a fire.
  • If you are in a room and cannot escape, leave the door closed, stay low to the floor and hang a white or light colored cloth in an outside window.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Do not attempt to save possessions at the risk of personal injury.
  • Do not return to the area until instructed to do so by a Public Safety official.

B-2. Mobility Disability Areas of Refuge & Shelter in Place

Persons who cannot evacuate by stairway should move to Areas of Refuge if available. If these are not available, persons in wheelchairs should Shelter in Place unless the danger is imminent. Shelter in place means remaining in a room with an exterior window, a telephone, and a solid or fire resistant door; call 911 and report the location.

For false or needless alarms or an isolated and contained fire, a person with a disability may not need to evacuate. The decision to evacuate will be made by the fire department. The fire department will tell the individual or relay the information via the EWU Police Department.