Fire Safety

The office of the Arizona State Fire Marshal (SFM) is the fire and building safety authority for all of the state's universities. Per agreement with the SFM, the University Fire Marshal is the Authority having Jurisdiction over the University of Arizona for fire and building safety. 

The Risk Management Services (RMS) Fire Prevention staff, under the direction of the UA Fire Marshal, enforces the State Fire Code for the University.  Fire Prevention reviews all plans for new buildings, additions and renovations to existing buildings, issues building permits and inspects the permitted projects for compliance to fire and life safety codes.  Fire Prevention Staff also inspects all buildings that belong to the University of Arizona on a regular basis for compliance with fire and life safety codes.

If you discover fire, smoke, or hear the fire alarm:

  • Leave the building immediately via the stairs. DO NOT USE THE ELEVATORS.
  • As you leave close all doors, including those propped open.
  • On your way out, you will pass a fire alarm pull station. If the alarm is not already ringing, PULL IT.
  • Once outside, get away from the building.
  • Building Manager should call the University Police Department (Tucson Fire Department (9-1-1) for off-campus locations) and report the details of the fire: UAPD: 621-8273 or 9-1-1
  • Remain outside the building until the "ALL CLEAR" is given by the Tucson Fire Department or UAPD. Silencing of the alarms does not constitute an "ALL CLEAR."

Information regarding Evacuation of Disabled Persons.

Links:
UAPD
Tucson Fire Department
Burntalk

The University of Arizona is sensitive to the needs of people with disabilities. New buildings and renovations to existing buildings are designed to comply with the requirements of the American with Disabilities Act. Fire alarm systems on campus are designed to be accessible.

These guidelines for the evacuation of disabled persons from university buildings have been endorsed by the Department of Risk Management Services, University Police Department, Tucson Fire Department, Disability Resource Center, Residence Life, and the ADA/504 Officer. They are general guidelines to address most evacuation scenarios.

Emergency Situations

If a person with a disability is able to exit the building without use of the elevator, then evacuation should follow the appropriate route out of the building. If exit from the building is only possible by use of the elevator, follow the procedures outlined below:

  • The disabled person should proceed or ask for assistance to the nearest enclosed or exterior stairwell or "area of safe refuge" and remain there. In case of a fire, enclosed building stairwells are "safe refuge areas," and have a higher fire resistive rating. The disabled person should notify an individual (i.e. a co-worker, supervisor, instructor, or building monitor) of their specific location. If possible, the disabled person can notify 9-1-1 of their location.
    In Residence Halls, if the disabled occupant cannot leave his or her room immediately without the assistance of another person, they should remain in the room. Notification can be made by calling 9-1-1.
  • Make sure the door to the stairwell is closed. Open doors will violate the "safe refuge area" and will allow smoke, and possibly fire, into the stairwell.
  • Once outside, anyone with information should inform the Tucson Fire Department (TFD) Incident Command Center that there is a disabled person in a stairwell, which floor the person is on, and location of the stairwell or refuge area. When stairwell evacuations are necessitated, such decisions and evacuations will be made by TFD. UNIVERSITY PERSONNEL SHOULD NEVER ATTEMPT TO CARRY ANYONE DOWN THE STAIRS.

Non-Emergency Situations

Persons with a disability who need assistance leaving a building in a non-emergency situation (elevator outage, etc.) should follow the procedures outlined below:

  • Contact UAPD (621-8273). UAPD will send personnel to the location to assess the situation and will contact TFD for all evacuations. Improper evacuation techniques could harm the evacuee; therefore UAPD will not evacuate any disabled person because they are not trained to do so.
  • Elevator outages will be reported to Facilities Management (Residence Life Maintenance for Resident Halls) by UAPD for immediate response. However in the event of elevator cars stuck between floors, no removal of passengers will be performed until the car is properly leveled.
  • TFD will address non-emergency evacuations on a priority basis. This may mean a delayed response until TFD can respond.
  • UAPD personnel will remain with the person until egress is restored (i.e. elevator has been repaired) or TFD responds. They will maintain contact with TFD and Facilities Management to determine response time.

The UA Fire Inspector is charged with inspecting all UA Buildings on campus and many that are off campus. All UA buildings are on an inspection schedule ranging anywhere from every year to every 5 years. In addition to these inspections, the Fire Inspector will inspect the installation and acceptance test Fire Sprinkler Systems, Fire Alarm Systems, Alternative Fire Suppression Systems, Hood Suppression Systems, witness the acceptance test of Fire Pumps and installation of Above ground Fuel Tanks or Underground Fuel Tanks on UA Property.

If you have any questions regarding Fire Safety, please send email to Fire Inspector. It will be answered in a timely manner and as soon as he is able.

For more specific Fire Safety information, click on the links below:

Exit Strategy

Fire Extinguishers 

Fire Doors

Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety 

Electrical Safety 

Holiday Decorations 

Common Fire Safety Problems

Use of candles, open flames, and any other form of burning are prohibited in all university buildings and on university grounds. (Exceptions: Authorized "hot work" by qualified maintenance, authorized theatrical productions, laboratories and authorized one-time events). Any exceptions granted must be approved by the University Fire Marshal or the RMS Fire Prevention Staff Member appointed for that task by the University Fire Marshal.

Permit for Use of Open Flame/Pyrotechnics must be completely filled out and submitted to Risk Management Services for approval.

Use of any type of heat generating product or equipment must be utilized as recommended by the manufacturer.

The University of Arizona recognizes that individuals have different levels of comfort associated with temperature and heat. The use of electric space heaters as a temporary measure is permitted in limited applications. Heaters may not be used in areas where flammable liquids are in use or storage. Space heaters are not allowed in Residence Halls. Only space heaters meeting the following criteria are permitted:

The heater must be electrically powered and listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or approved by Factory Mutual (FM). Tags or labels indicating the device has been tested and approved by either of these agencies can be found on the electrical cord or die stamped on the heater itself. Fuel powered (propane, kerosene) space heaters are not permitted.

The heater must have a thermostat for heat regulation. The heater's thermostat will sense that the area has reached a certain temperature and reduce heating until the temperature in the area drops (very much like the thermostat in your house). Heaters without this feature (with simple "on/off" or "high/low" switches) continue to heat without any regulation and can easily cause fires.

Approved heaters must be fan driven. Space heaters with heated metal coils are not permitted. A guard or screen must cover the heating element.

Space heaters must have a tip-over shutdown feature. If the heater is knocked over, the unit must automatically shut off.

Approved space heaters may be used only if the following conditions are met:

The heater may only be located on the floor. Heaters located on filing cabinets, tables, desks or equipment are more susceptible to being knocked over, resulting in accidents or fires. Never place anything on top of a space heater.

At least 3 feet of clearance must be maintained around the heater at all times. Combustible materials like paper, plastic, and cloth must be kept away from the heater.

Electric cords must be kept out of foot traffic paths to prevent tripping. Electric extension cords are not allowed. Heaters must be plugged directly into a wall receptacle.

The heater must be unplugged (not just turned off) any time the room or area being heated is unoccupied, especially at the end of the workday.

The Department of Risk Management Services reserves the right to inspect and approve or reject any space heater that creates a hazard or is inappropriate to a particular location based on specific circumstances and/or fire safety code requirements.

Fire Alarm Systems

Almost every building on the campus of the University of Arizona has a fire alarm system. A fire alarm system consists of the following components:

  • Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP)
  • Initiation Devices (Smoke Detectors, Heat Detectors, Pull Stations, etc.)
  • Notification Devices (Bells, Horns, Strobes, etc.)

When an initiation device is activated, the FACP switches on the notification devices to alert the building occupants.

All of the fire alarm panels on the campus of the University of Arizona are part of a large computer network. The network controller is located at the office of the University of Arizona Police Department. The network controller scans all of the FACP's on the campus (over one hundred of them) every three seconds to check for alarms.

When an alarm occurs in a university building, the network controller will be notified within 3 seconds. A computer screen at the office of UAPD will display the name of the building along with other pertinent information about the location of the alarm. UAPD then notifies the Tucson Fire department (TFD). TFD can respond to a call at the main campus within 4 to 6 minutes.

The Office of Risk Management and UAPD work closely with the Tucson Fire Department to assure that the responding fire fighters get to the correct building in a timely manner.

Link: NFPA

Fire Sprinkler Systems

Henry S. Parmalee invented fire sprinklers in 1874 to protect his piano factory. Fire sprinklers today utilize the same basic principles. Sprinkler heads are distributed throughout a building in a manner dictated by the fire codes. The sprinklers are connected to a system of pipes filled with pressurized water.

Sprinklers are rated at specific temperatures. When the heat of a fire reaches the operating temperature of the sprinkler, the heat destroys a heat sensitive device on the sprinkler, allowing the water to escape. The pressurized water then sprays directly over the heat source.

Sprinkler systems can communicate with the fire alarm system with a device called a flow switch. When water flows through sprinkler pipes, it is usually because a sprinkler has been activated. The flow switch senses the water flowing through the pipe and activates the fire alarm system. Most of the buildings at the University of Arizona have sprinkler systems. The office of the Arizona State Fire Marshal requires that sprinkler systems be tested semiannually.

Link: National Fire Sprinkler Association

Portable Fire Extinguishers