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When a Fire Happens

Treat every alarm as though it is a real emergency, even if the initial source is unknown.  If the alarm sounds, or a fire is suspected, call the Fire Department immediately.  After call the Fire Department, if you determine that there is no fire, but rather a malfunction of your equipment or a false alarm, call 9-1-1 and relay this information.  Never wait to investigate the situation before notifying the Fire Department.  Any delay will allow a fire to grow and further endanger the building occupants and property.

  • DO NOT silence the alarm until given permission to do so by Fire Department personnel or by the emergency operator.
  • DO NOT reset the alarm until the Fire Department arrives and has investigated the source of the alarm. All fire alarms are to be investigated by the Fire Department.

Remember your emergency number:   9-1-1
It's important for employees calling 911 to be able to give the following information: nature of the problem, location, address, nearest cross street, any specifics known. The caller should not hang up until told to do so by the emergency operator.

Close doors when exiting.
By closing doors, you help limit the spread of smoke and fire throughout the building. Doors should be closed by employees as they leave, and by floor wardens assigned to check the floor during an alarm.

Never use elevators during a fire emergency.
The reason is three fold:

1) Elevators often fail during a fire, trapping occupants.
2) Elevator shafts may fill with smoke.
3) The elevator has to be available for the use of arriving firefighters.

Occupants must exit by way of stairwells only. For information on evacuation procedures for non-ambulatory persons, refer to the Seattle Fire Department handout Fire Evacuation Procedures For Persons Unable To Use Exit Stairwells.

Establish an employee meeting place.
It is important to establish an employee meeting place so that all employees can be accounted for after a building evacuation. The meeting place needs to be away from the building, both so that the area is clear for arriving Fire Department personnel and also so that occupants are away from any glass or debris that may fall from the building.

If unable to leave the building, create an area of refuge.

  • Seal the room. Use wet cloth to stuff around cracks in doors and seal up vents to protect against smoke
  • Do not break windows. Flames and smoke can come back in from the outside. If you need air, open the window a crack.
  • Stay low under smoke. The freshest air is near the floor. Keep a wet cloth over your nose and mouth, breath through your nose only.
  • Signal for help. Use the telephone, or hang something in the window.


Last Modified:   January 06, 2010

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