Elements of Fire Safety
Fire safety is everyone’s responsibility. Below are basic requirements for all TWU faculty, staff, and students:
- Always evacuate the building immediately in case of fire or the sounding of a fire alarm.
- Learn emergency evacuation routes for your building, and review fire safety rules for your building or department.
- Become familiar with the location of fire extinguishers and manual fire alarm stations in your building.
- Review your departmental Emergency Plan, including the location of your department’s evacuation assembly point.
Fire extinguishers, fire/smoke detection systems, and various fire extinguishing systems are provided in University buildings for emergency use only. The TWU Department of Public Safety (DPS) monitors all TWU fire alarm and automatic sprinkler systems 24/7. The DPS website contains information regarding current fire incident statistics for TWU.
Faculty, staff, and students should never attempt to disable or modify any life safety equipment; including smoke detectors, sprinklers, fire alarm panels, etc. In addition, please inform EH&S of any damage or other issues you may observe related to these systems.
For more information on TWU's life safety procedures, please refer to the Life Safety Procedures document.
Fire extinguishers are found throughout University buildings; however, only appropriately trained faculty, staff, and students are permitted to use fire extinguishers, and then only if all of the following are true:
- The fire alarm has been activated and/or campus police has been notified (TWU Police contact info), and evacuation has begun,
- The fire is small and contained,
- You have the proper type of extinguisher for the material being burned, AND
- Your escape route is not threatened in any way!
No employee will ever be required to attempt to extinguish a fire, no matter the situation. Faculty, staff, and students are instructed NOT to try and extinguish a fire if they have any doubts about their ability to do so safely. Instead, individuals should immediately evacuate the building.
In accordance with University Regulation and Procedure Number 04.430, EH&S requires that faculty, staff, and students take a number of simple steps to reduce the risk of a fire:
- Do not use candles, incense, and other open flames.
- Do not accumulate paper, debris, and other combustibles.
- Do not overload outlets with multiple plugs.
- Do not use extension cords permanently. They are intended for temporary use only.
- Electrical devices should only be plugged into a grounded outlet or into surge protectors or uninterruptible power supplies, which are in turn plugged directly into an outlet.
- Never cover light bulbs with paper, fabric, or clothing.
- Never leave stoves or cooking implements unattended while cooking.
- Never use damaged electrical appliances, including any damage to the insulation on the cord or plug.
- Use caution when using space heaters; ensure there is sufficient space around the unit and do not leave it running unattended.
In September 2023, Texas Woman's University participated in its regularly scheduled State Fire Marshal’s Office inspection. Key items across campus that are commonly out of compliance were identified. As part of the response to the issues, the Environmental Health & Safety team will be walking buildings on campus and leaving notices that bring awareness of these issues to their occupants. If you receive one of these notices, please correct the listed compliance issue promptly.
Flammable and combustible liquids must be stored in appropriate flammable storage cabinets or specially designed storage rooms when not in use. Only limited quantities of flammable or combustible liquids that are actively in use may be outside of these cabinets or rooms.
Dispensing of highly flammable liquids needs to be restricted to specially equipped areas. Generally, this is applicable to flammable materials with a flash point equal to or less than 73º F. Required equipment may include proper grounding and bonding facilities to prevent ignition of vapors, explosion-proof lighting and other electrical equipment, and spark-proof tools, pumps, and spigots; in addition to adequate ventilation.
Contact EH&S for assistance in determining what is required for the storage or dispensing of materials in your department.
The Department of University Housing has a fire safety web page specifically describing the various rules and precautions applicable to residence halls and apartment residents. EH&S provides fire safety and evacuation training for Resident Assistants at the beginning of each academic year. The RAs in turn provide basic fire safety training to their residents.
igot2kno.org is a website developed by the People’s Burn Foundation with fire safety videos and information specifically aimed at college students living in residence halls and apartments.
Employees who are not familiar with their department’s emergency procedures should contact their supervisor. In addition, fire safety and evacuation training is available in various formats from EH&S and is required for all employees.
For further details, see the Life Safety Procedures document.
Page last updated 11:44 AM, February 7, 2024