The Fire Safety Branch in the
Office of Risk Management (O.R.M.) Department at Southern Methodist University, administers the
fire prevention and life safety inspection programs. This includes training
of employees in fire prevention techniques, inspection and testing of systems
to insure that they are operating properly (in some situations, this many be
contracted out to a fire inspection service), and the investigation of fire
situations to insure non-reoccurrence. EH&S should be involved in all new
building construction and renovations to
ensure compliance with applicable state, local, and national fire and life
safety standards and computability with campus fire safety program, and recommend
standards and policies to reduce vulnerability to fires.
Fire prevention guidelines are established in this document to reduce the
incidence of fires by eliminating opportunities for ignition of flammable materials
and recommending practices that are conducive to a fire free environment.
A portable fire extinguisher is a "first aid" device and is very effective when
used while the fire is small. The use of fire extinguisher that matches the
class of fire, by a person who is well trained, can save both lives and property.
Portable fire extinguishers must be installed in workplaces regardless of other
fire fighting measures. The successful performance of a fire extinguisher in
a fire situation largely depends on its proper selection, inspection, maintenance,
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Classification of Fires and Selection
Fires are classified into four general categories depending on the type of
material or fuel involved. The type of fire determines the type of extinguisher
that should be used to extinguish it.
Class A fires involve materials such as wood, paper, and cloth which produce
glowing embers or char.
Class B fires involve flammable gases, liquids, and greases, including
gasoline and most hydrocarbon liquids which must be vaporized
for combustion to occur.
Class C fires involve fires in live electrical equipment or in materials
near electrically powered equipment.
Class D fires involve combustible metals, such as magnesium, zirconium,
potassium, and sodium.
Extinguishers will be selected according to the potential fire hazard, the
construction and occupancy of facilities, the asset to be protected, and other
factors pertinent to the situation.
No one at SMU is required to fight a fire as a part of his or her fire responsibility.
However, voluntary use of a fire extinguisher by an employee who is properly
trained can save both lives and extensive property loss.
RMEHS provides formal training on fire extinguisher use. For more
information about course dates or to set up a course for your department,
contact the University Fire Safety Manager at ext. 4203. A schedule of upcoming classes
is available in the RMEHS newsletter, "The
Location and Marking of Extinguishers
Extinguishers will be conspicuously located, easily identified, and readily
accessible for immediate use in the event of fire. They will be located along
normal paths of travel and egress. Wall recesses and/or flush-mounted brackets
will be used as extinguisher locations whenever possible. In most cases extinguishers
will be located in hallways or in common areas and not in rooms. They shall
be placed just outside of a room and allow accessibility to the room occupants
as well as other occupants of the building.
Extinguishers should not be stored in locked rooms or offices. Individuals
or departments that wish to have fire extinguishers installed in a restricted
access area (office, lab, etc.) will be held fiscally responsible for the installation,
service, and repair of the unit, as coordinated by EH&S.
Extinguishers will be clearly visible. In locations where visual obstruction
cannot be completely avoided, directional arrows will be provided to indicate
the location of extinguishers.
Extinguisher classification markings will be located on the front of the
shell above or below the extinguisher nameplate.
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Portable extinguishers will be maintained in a fully charged and operable
condition. They will be kept in their designated locations at all times when
not being used. When extinguishers are removed for maintenance or testing, a
fully charged and operable replacement unit will be provided.
Extinguishers will be installed on hangers, brackets, or in cabinets. Extinguishers
having a gross weight not exceeding 40 pounds will be so installed that
the top of the extinguisher is not more than 3-1/2 feet above the floor.
Extinguishers mounted in cabinets or wall recesses will be placed so that
the extinguisher operating instructions face outward. The location of such extinguishers
will be made conspicuous by marking the cabinet or wall recess in a contrasting
color which will distinguish it from the normal decor.
Extinguishers must be distributed in such a way that the amount of time needed
to travel to their location and back to the fire does not allow the fire
to get out of control. OSHA requires that the travel distance for Class A and
D extinguishers not exceed 75 feet. The maximum travel distance for Class
B extinguishers is 50 feet because flammable liquid fires can get out of control
faster that Class A fires. There is no maximum travel distance specified
Class C extinguishers, but they must be distributed on the basis of appropriate
patterns for Class A and B hazards. It is required that no extinguisher have
a travel distance more than 75 feet.
Fire extinguishers must be inspected monthly by the building manager or his/her
designee. This inspection should include a visual check of the hose (not cracked),
the pressure gage (in the green area), the container (not damaged or dented),
and the location (is the unit missing). This requires an inventory of the extinguishers
assigned to the building to be used as a check list. A form listing all fire
extinguishers by location for the purpose of conduction the monthly inspection
will be provided by the Environmental Health & Safety Department. Any discrepancies
must be reported immediately to EH&S (214-768- 4203).
In addition, the Office of Environmental Health & Safety will periodically
check each unit to insure its operation. An inspection will also be made once
a year by EH&S to insure that all units are in the proper location, that
they have been inspected monthly, and that they are in working condition.
Once an extinguisher is selected, purchased, and installed, it is the responsibility
of the Environmental Health & Safety Office to oversee the inspection, maintenance,
and testing of fire extinguishers to ensure that they are in proper working
condition and have not been tampered with or physically damaged.
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Fire Extinguishers for a Special Event
Contact University Fire Safety Manager to obtain additional Fire Extinguishers.
Training on the use of Fire Extinguishers must be completed prior to the special
event. RMEHS offers formal Fire Safety and Fire Extinguisher training
through out the year. A schedule of upcoming classes is available on our
training schedule web page. For more information, or to set up a class,
please contact University Fire Safety Manager.
The Building Manager and Safety Committees are responsible for conducting
work site surveys at least annually. These surveys should include observations
of work site safety and housekeeping issues and should specifically address
proper storage of chemicals and supplies, unobstructed access to fire extinguishers,
and emergency evacuation routes. Also, they should determine if an emergency
evacuation plan is present in work areas and that personnel are familiar with
In addition, fire inspections will be conducted on a random basis by a State
certified Fire Inspector. All deficiencies noted during these inspections
should be brought to the attention of the Environmental Health & Safety
Department immediately and a plan of action developed jointly to correct the
Every exit will be clearly visible, or the route to it conspicuously identified
in such a manner that every occupant of the building will readily know the direction
of escape from any point. At no time will exits be blocked.
Any doorway or passageway which is not an exit or access to an exit but which
may be mistaken for an exit, will be identified by a sign reading "Not An Exit" or
a sign indicating it actual use (i.e., "Storeroom"). Exits and accesses to exits
will be marked by a readily visible sign. Each exit sign (other than internally
illuminated signs) will be illuminated by a reliable light source.
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Occupant Emergency Plan for Persons with
The department supervisor is assigned the responsibility of developing a
plan to assist Persons with Disabilities under their supervision. This plan
should enlist the input of the disabled person. The plan should take into consideration
the building, the work location, the type of disability, assistance needed,
and the availability of assistance. No one is required to endanger him/herself
in order to effect or assist with the evacuation of others, but everyone has
the duty to ensure that other occupants are aware of the emergency. Similarly,
it is expected that individuals will aid anyone requiring assistance to safely
Other options to physically carrying a mobility impaired person are:
"Areas of Refuge " can be identified or created in buildings
where they are needed. These areas should have a solid door,
a telephone, and a window accessible to outside extraction. In
fire fighters should be notified of persons in these rooms.
These rooms can be identified by a disabled symbol on the window of
Where no such room is available the person can be pushed to the
landing of the stairwell and the fire fighters notified
of the person’s
Note: Some individuals, confined to a wheelchair, can be injured by being
lifted or carried by an untrained person.
Supervisors, volunteers, and
the person with a disability should practice the plan using available
escape routes and methods of extraction. Visitors who
have disabilities will be assisted in a manner similar to that of SMU
employees. The Host of the person with disabilities will coordinate/assist
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In the event of a fire emergency, a fire alarm will sound for the building.
Some buildings do not have audible fire alarms. A plan to alert the occupants
of the need to evacuate should be developed.
doors are safety devices that help contain fires and keep them from growing
out of control. Because of this all fire doors should not be propped
open at any time. Fire doors can remain open only if they are specifically
designed to close when a fire alarm is triggered.
Evacuation Exercises (Fire Drills)
Periodic fire/evacuation exercises are conducted in all occupied SMU buildings.
Every SMU faculty, staff, and student is expected to exit the building and
remain outside until the drill is completed. This is a safe opportunity to
test the building emergency plan, insure that the fire alarm is working properly,
and allows every employee a chance to experience the procedures.
Evacuation Routes and Plans
Each facility shall have an emergency evacuation plan.
Should evacuation be necessary, go to the nearest exit or stairway and proceed
to a predesignated meeting area outside the building. Most stairways are fire
resistant and present barriers to smoke if the doors are kept closed.
Do not use elevators. Should the fire involve the control panel of the elevator
or the electrical system of the building, power in the building may be cut and
you could be trapped between floors. Also, the elevator shaft can become a flue,
lending itself to the passage and accumulation of hot gases and smoke generated
by the fire.
If you discover a fire:
Activate the nearest fire alarm.
Notify the Department of Public Safety by dialing 911. Give your location,
the nature of the fire, the location of the fire, and your name.
If no fire alarm system exists in the building, verbally sound the alarm
as you exit the building.
Fight the fire with a fire extinguisher ONLY if:
The fire department has been notified of the fire, AND
The fire is small and confined to its area of origin, AND
You have a way out and can fight the fire with your back to the exit,
You have the proper extinguisher, in good working order, AND
- You know how to use it.
If your are not sure of your ability or the fire extinguisher's capacity
to contain the fire, get out and leave the fire fighting to the
If you hear a fire alarm or call to evacuate:
Evacuate the area. Close windows, turn off gas jets, and close doors as
Leave the building and move away from exits and out of the way of emergency
Assemble in a designated area.
Report to the supervisor so he/she can determine
that all personnel have evacuated your area.
Remain outside until competent authority (Fire Department of the Department
of Public Safety) states that it is safe to re-enter.
Learn at least two escape routes, and emergency exits from your area.
Never use an elevator as part of your escape route.
Learn to activate a fire alarm.
Learn to recognize alarm sounds.
Take an active part in fire evacuation drills.
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All storage rooms must be maintained in an orderly manner. Stored combustible
materials should be kept to a minimum. This means the following good housekeeping
practices must be employed:
Loose storage (paper, books, or files) must be kept off floors and either
put into boxes or stacked in an organized manner on shelves.
Aisles, at least 24" wide, must be maintained to access storage and
must be clear and free of tripping hazards at all times. These aisles
will also act a route of escape in an emergency.
Storage may not be stacked within 18" of a sprinkler head in areas
that are protected by an automatic sprinkler system. In areas not protected
by sprinklers storage must be 24 inches from the ceiling.
Because of the Risk involved, it is the policy that there be no open flames
in any SMU owned or operated buildings. This includes candles, burning incense,
kerosene lamps, oil lamps or other devices that emit any kind of flame.
There are several exceptions. They are:
Welding or brazing devices will be permitted only by completion of a "Hot
Work Permit"' with the project under the supervision of the appropriate
SMU Manager, and compliance with SMU's restrictions.
The limited use of lighters and other flame emitting devices after satisfactory
proof that fire safety guidelines are in place and the approval of the
Office of Risk Management and Environmental Health & Safety.
Scientific devices which are under the constant supervision of the user
or a professor in a laboratory environment.
Open Flames are not allowed in any campus building. If a special situation
arises, only RMEHS can grant approval for use of open flames in outdoor
special events on campus after a review of the event circumstances and the
No open flames are allowed without approval. This approval process will
assure the responsible person is identified, fire watch is present, elimination
fire hazard conditions through a site visit, and appropriate site personnel
are familiar with and trained to use local fire equipment and fire emergency
If an event is planned and use of open flames are being considered,
please contact University Fire Safety Manager,
30 days prior to the scheduled event.
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If you will be using fire works at an event on campus please contact
University Fire Safety Manager at least 30 - 40 days prior to the scheduled event.
You will need to provide the following documents.
Open burns are discouraged at Southern Methodist University due to their
effect on the environment, the possibility of an uncontrolled situation
developing, and their danger to surroundings. Advanced planning and proper
notifications will avoid university life, environment, and property losses.
If the need arises, please contact University Fire Safety Manager before initiating a plan for open
On football gamedays, grilling is allowed on all open, paved surface lots
south of Daniel Avenue and on The Boulevard. Before you fire up the grill,
please note the following grilling guidelines:
Electric and propane/butane grills can be used in all tailgate areas.
Charcoal grills are permitted only on the Boulevard.
Grilling is not allowed in parking garages or within 15 feet of any
campus building or under any overhanging part of a campus building.
Grills are not allowed under tents or awnings.
For safety reasons, special 55-gallon disposable bins will be provided
for safe coal disposal.
For everyone's safety, fire extinguishers are required when grilling
Grilling should cease one-half hour before kickoff.
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The following good practices must be applied to all electrical appliances/equipment:
All electrical appliances/equipment must be in good repair and cords and
exterior cases must be free of damage.
All appliances/equipment must be directly plugged into wall outlets or
power strips equipped with either a fuse or circuit breaker.
All building electrical equipment (e.g., circuit breakers, distribution
panels, outlets, lights, etc.) must be free from damage and appropriately
covered (e.g., wall plates or junction box covers in place, circuit
breaker panel doors
in place, etc.) and must be accessible (not blocked) at all times.
All wiring must be routed above the ceiling or housed in conduit below
Multi-plug adapters are prohibited.
Extension cords may only be used on a temporary basis.
University Policy 4.3.C.4
4. Portable electric heaters are NOT permitted in the buildings. If an area
or a building cannot be maintained with proper temperature limits, a
permanent heater may be installed by the Central Plant. (Portable heaters
waste energy and are inherently a fire hazard.)
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Exits, including main corridors and stairways, shall not be obstructed in
any manner and shall remain free of any material that would obstruct the exit
or render the exit hazardous.
All main building corridors must have a minimum 44" clear width maintained
at all times.
Storage may not be located in corridors, even temporarily.
Mechanical and electrical rooms are not storage rooms. They are only intended
to house equipment that supplies services to the building (heating, cooling,
electrical distribution, communications, etc.). Access to all equipment must
be unimpeded and the spaces must be free of any extraneous material.
Mechanical rooms must be locked at all times. The keys for these areas are
under the control of the Physical Plant Department.
No scenery, props, decorations, seating equipment, or other obstructions
may be placed in a fashion that would prohibit the automatic fire curtain from
dropping completely to the floor of the stage.
No scenery, props, decorations, displays, seating equipment, or packing equipment
may be placed so that it in any way obstructs an exit.
Exit lights must be illuminated and visible during any production.
Only non-combustible materials or fire retardant pressure treated wood may
be used for stage scenery or props on the audience side of the proscenium arch.
Where possible flame retardant materials should be used in set design. Non-flame
retardant materials can be treated with flame retardant.
Backdrops, curtains, draperies, decorations and similar furnishings/ materials
shall be flame resistant .
The use of pyrotechnics or theatrical smoke must have the approval of the
University Park Fire Marshal and the Director of Risk Management.
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In some instances relatively safe materials may be substituted for flammable
liquids in order to reduce the risk of fires. This should be done wherever possible.
Any substituted material should be stable and nontoxic and should either be
nonflammable or have a high flashpoint.
Flammable and combustible liquids require careful handling at all times.
The proper storage of flammable liquids within a work area is very important
in order to protect personnel from fire and other safety and health hazards.
Table 1. Maximum allowable capacity of containers and portable tanks
Flammable ... Combustible Liquids ... Liquids
|Glass or approved plastic
|Metal (Other than DOT drums)
|Metal drums (DOT specs)
|Approved portable tanks
Nearest metric size is also acceptable for the glass and plastic
One gallon or nearest metric equivalent size may be used if metal and
labeled with their contents.
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"Flashpoint" means the minimum temperature at which a liquid gives
off vapor within a test vessel in sufficient concentration to form an ignitable
mixture with the air near the surface of the liquid.
"Combustible liquid" means any liquid having a flashpoint at or above
100 degreesFahrenheit. This includes Class II and Class III liquids.
"Flammable liquid" means any liquid having a flashpoint below 100
degrees Fahrenheit. This includes class I liquids.
"Class IA" shall include liquids having flashpoints below 73 degrees
Fahrenheit and having a boiling point below 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
"Class IB" shall include liquids having flashpoints below 73 degrees
Fahrenheit and having a boiling point at or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
"Class IC" shall include liquids having flashpoints at or above 73
degrees Fahrenheit and below 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
"Class II liquid" shall include those with flashpoints at or above
100 degrees Fahrenheit and below 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
"Class III liquids" shall include those with flash points at or above
140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Not more than 120 gallons of Class I, Class II, and Class IIIA liquids may
be stored in a storage cabinet. Of this total, not more than 60 gallons may
be Class I and II liquids. Not more than three such cabinets (120 gallons each)
may be located in a single fire area except in an industrial area.
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The capacity of flammable and combustible liquid containers will be in accordance
with Table 1.
Where approved storage cabinets or rooms are not provided, inside storage
will comply with the following basic conditions:
The storage of any flammable or combustible liquid shall not physically
obstruct a means of egress from the building or area.
Containers of flammable or combustible liquids will remain tightly sealed
except when transferred, poured or applied. Remove only that portion
of liquid in the storage container required to accomplish a particular job.
If a flammable and combustible liquid storage building is used, it will
be a one-story building devoted principally to the handling and storing
of flammable or combustible liquids. The building will have 2-hour fire-rated
having no opening within 10 feet of such storage.
Flammable paints, oils, and varnishes in 1 or 5 gallon containers, used
for building maintenance purposes, may be stored temporarily in closed
containers outside approved storage cabinets or room if kept at the job site
than 10 calendar days.
Every inside storage room will be provided with a continuous
mechanical exhaust ventilation system. To prevent the accumulation
of vapors, the location of both
the makeup and exhaust air openings will be arranged to provide, as far
as practical, air movement directly to the exterior of the building and if
they will not be used for any other purpose.
Elimination of Ignition Sources
All nonessential ignition sources must be eliminated where flammable liquids
are used or stored. The following is a list of some of the more common potential
Open flames, such as cutting and welding torches, furnaces, matches,
and heaters-these sources should be kept away from flammable liquids operations.
Cutting or welding on flammable liquids equipment should not be performed
unless the equipment has been properly emptied and purged with a neutral
gas such as nitrogen.
Chemical sparks-these sparks can result as a reaction of two or more
Electrical sources of ignition such as d.c. motors, switched, and circuit
breakers-these sources should be eliminated where flammable liquids are
handled or stored. Only approved explosion-proof devices should be used
in these areas.
Mechanical sparks-these sparks can be produced as a result of friction.
Only non-sparking tools should be used in areas where flammable liquids
are stored or handled.
Static sparks-these sparks can be generated as a result of electron
transfer between two contacting surfaces. The electrons can discharge
in a small volume, raising the temperature to above the ignition temperature.
Every effort should be made to eliminate the possibility of static sparks.
Also proper bonding and grounding procedures must be followed when flammable
liquids are transferred or transported.
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Removal of Incompatibles
Materials that can contribute to a flammable liquid fire should not be stored
with flammable liquids. Examples are oxidizers and organic peroxides, which,
on decomposition, can generate large amounts of oxygen.
Generally, flammable gases pose the same type of fire hazards as flammable
liquids and their vapors. Many of the safeguards for flammable liquids also
apply to flammable gases, other properties such as toxicity, reactivity, and
corrosively also must be taken into account. Also, a gas that is flammable could
produce toxic combustion products.
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