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EIU Office for Environmental Health & Safety

Fire Prevention

Three contributing elements to fire safety are building design, fire detection and warning systems, and the building occupants.

If any one of these areas is minimized or compromised the likelihood of a fire will be increased.

Building Design

Building design takes into account the use of the building and the number of people that the building will serve during operation. The safety/prevention features that are designed into the building include: smoke barriers, fire doors, sprinkler systems, fire walls, and other mechanical features that are invisible to the public. Smoke barriers are separations of the building to direct the smoke and heat of the fire away from other parts of the building. Fire doors or Exit / Stairway doors are designed to control the spread of fire, heat, and smoke from entering the escape route of occupants. Many times, the stairway doors are propped open, which limits the control methods they are designed to provide. There are also fire horns and sprinkler heads that alarm and provide water to the fire. People often use the sprinkler heads and piping as a means to hang signs and/or cloth from. Obstructing the sprinkler head in this manner will hinder the detection of a fire and the early response of the head to provide water to the fire.

Building Occupants

Residents of the building help prevent fires by their daily actions. Through the course of building operations, the use of the building changes. Office space in the building will change by adding new staff or equipment. Many times this new equipment and staff spill over into the hallway and stairways of the building. When this occurs, the outlets of the building are restricted. Keeping stairways and hallways open is critical to the safety of the occupants. A blocked door has taken many lives during a fire when the residents cannot leave the building.

If the residents know where the pull station and the fire horns are located, this will aid in early detection and the alarm system will perform accordingly. Boxes in front of pull stations will increase the chance that someone will not get out of the building.

All fire alarms are real alarms.

Buildings have fire alarm drills throughout the year and they should be considered real fire alarms. If residents take the fire alarm as an inconvenience, it will mean they have a problem reaching safety during a real emergency.

When the alarm is sounded each person should reassembly outside the building. Your department has an Emergency Disaster Plan. Parts of the emergency plan include an Emergency Assembly Point. The EAP is a location where your entire department staff should meet to take a count of persons present and to report any problems. At the EPA, information such as stranded persons, suspicious acting people, and people with disabilities who are located in a stairwell or safe have area will be reported to the building coordinator. The EPA location aids in the ability for emergency response of the building. Your knowledge of where your department's EPA is important.

Fire Detection and Warning Systems

Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems help saves lives by monitoring the building. Smoke detectors and heat detectors are working throughout the day. Once the detectors monitor heat or smoke a signal will be sent into C CCOM---911 and the fire truck will respond to the building. EIU maintains and tests the fire alarm system to ensure that the system is operating properly.

Related Pages

Contact Information

Office for Environmental Health and Safety

600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920
Fax: 217-581-5716

Director of Environmental Health & Emergency Management
Kris Phipps


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