COVID-19 Emergency Evacuation Guidance and Information
The following pertains to any unexpected emergency alarm requiring evacuation from the building. First and foremost is protecting your life. Remain calm and evacuate. Physical distancing signage is temporary. Follow exit signs and use stairs.
If you are not in immediate danger, locate and don a face covering prior to evacuation; and maintain a six-foot distance from others as much as possible during evacuation. Proceed to the short-term assembly area and remain there (while maintaining a six-foot distance from others) until emergency responders indicate that the building is safe for reentry. Upon reentry, it is encouraged that occupants utilize the stairs (when possible) to avoid overloading an elevator.
Faculty, staff and students who are not capable of complying with the evacuation procedures, or who may have special needs or recognized disabilities, should contact the Department of Environmental Health and Safety for development of an Individual Evacuation Plan. Copies of these plans are maintained with Pitt Police for use by emergency responders.
Fire Safety Information
Fire education programs are provided to the residence life staff and to specific groups. Residence life staff and desk attendants are trained in building emergency evacuation procedures. Fire extinguisher training is provided to designated personnel. Fire safety training for all students, staff, and faculty is available at Fire Safety Day during the fall term or by contacting the Department of Environmental Health and Safety at ehs.pitt.edu.
Students should report any fire event regardless of size by activating a manual pull station and, after evacuating to a safe area, by calling the Pittsburgh campus emergency number, 412-624-2121. Students should also report any evidence of an extinguished fire to the Pittsburgh campus emergency number at 412-624-2121. Students are encouraged to report any problems with fire protection systems to University of Pittsburgh Housing Services via Panther Central.
Comprehensive guidelines for fire safety and fire prevention including those for emergency evacuation, electrical appliances, and no smoking or open flames can be found in the University’s Safety Manual at ehs.pitt.edu in the following sections: Fire and Emergency Evacuation Procedures, Fire Safety and Prevention, and Residence Halls.
Campus Fire Reports
Residence Hall Fire Safety
All residence halls and fraternity houses on the Pittsburgh campus are non-smoking environments. Each sleeping and living room in on-campus student housing has a smoke detector. Other fire safety devices in every residence hall and fraternity house on campus at Pitt include building fire alarm systems, fire extinguishers, and smoke/heat detectors in common building spaces and mechanical rooms.
On-campus Housing Fire Safety Systems
All sprinkler systems, all fire alarm pull stations, and certain smoke detectors are monitored 24/7 by Pitt Police and off-site by a nationally recognized security company. Detection by automated fire protection features or the use of a manual pull station will activate the building’s alarm system of horns/speakers and strobe lights.
Residence Life officials educate students each year on emergency egress and shelter-in-place procedures specific to a particular building.
When the fire alarm activates, all occupants must exit via the nearest stairs. If the building cannot be exited, stairwells are the area of refuge. In all residence halls, all on-campus fraternity houses, and the majority of the residential apartment buildings, the stairwells have fire-rated construction and are equipped with self-closing and latching fire doors. Read more about the Emergency Response, Evacuation, and Training procedures.
Students with a disability, or any student not capable of complying with the University Emergency Evacuation Plan, should contact the Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) at 412-624-9505 to develop an individual evacuation plan.
Residence Hall Fire Drills
At least two unannounced emergency evacuation exercises are conducted for each on-campus residence building during every school year. *
*Due to safety concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic, evacuation drills are currently on hold for the fall term in accordance with City of Pittsburgh emergency exercise procedures.
Prohibitions on Portable Electric Appliances, Smoking, and Open Flames
Students are required to read and comply with the Student Code of Conduct studentaffairs.pitt.edu/conduct, Residential Handbook, and/or their housing contract, which includes health and safety inspections and all other rules and guidelines for residential buildings. Periodic room inspections are performed and include, but are not limited to, a visual examination of electrical cords/power strips, smoke detectors, sprinkler heads, damages, etc. In addition, each room is examined for the presence of prohibited items (e.g., sources of open flame, such as candles; unapproved extension cords; halogen lamps; cooking appliances in non-kitchen areas; lofted furniture) or prohibited activity (e.g., smoking in the room; tampering with life safety equipment; possession of pets). The inspections also include a general assessment of trash and cleanliness of the room. Violations are recorded on room inspection reports and the residence director provides notification of sanctions.
Plans for Future Improvements in Fire Safety
Fire safety officials have increased the number of Web-based fire safety programs to include video links and other forms of social media, such as Twitter. Future improvements will consist of continuing collaboration with residence life to develop social media strategies and other methods to increase awareness and help educate students on various aspects of fire safety.