Fire Safety

Fire Safety


ECSU takes Fire Safety very seriously and continues to enhance its programs to the university community through education, engineering, and enforcement. Educational programs are presented throughout the year to faculty, staff, and students so they are aware of the rules and safe practices.

These programs, which are available at all campus locations, include identification and prevention of fire hazards, actual building evacuation procedures and drills, specific occupant response to fire emergencies and hands-on use of fire extinguishers.

All University residence halls have emergency evacuation plans and conduct frequent fire drills during the school year to allow occupants to become familiar with and practice their evacuation skills. ECSU has been a leader in ensuring the safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors who live and work in university operated residences. Automatic sprinkler systems and fire alarm systems are recognized engineered building features that help to provide a fire-safe living environment. All University operated residence halls and apartments are provided with automatic sprinkler systems, smoke detectors, and building fire alarm systems to provide early detection and warning of a possible fire emergency. Additionally, Food Service staff members at the University are trained on emergency procedures in the event of a fire.

ECSU maintains and tests all fire alarms and automatic fire suppression systems in accordance with the appropriate National Fire Protection Association Standard to ensure system readiness and proper operation in the event of a fire emergency. ECSU has adopted and developed numerous Safety Policies and Guidelines to help promote a safe living and working environment at the University.

Additional protection is provided by University Police Officers, who are trained for initial response to fire incidents occurring at University facilities. Officers provide assistance in building evacuation and extinguishment/confinement of small fires. In addition, laboratory safety and evacuation plans are also part of the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) mission. EHS is dedicated to maintaining the safety of our community by conducting annual inspections, plan reviews, and ensuring evacuation drills are in all laboratories on campus.

Fire Safety Education and Training Programs for Students, Faculty, and Staff

In coordination with Residence Life and Housing and Food Service, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) provides annual training to Resident Assistants (RA), Community Assistants, and Residence Life Coordinators.

Topics addressed during this training include:

  • Fire prevention in the residence hall
  • What to do in the event of a fire
  • How to report a fire or other emergency
  • How residence hall fire safety systems operate

Resident Assistants and Community Assistants coordinate additional fire safety training and education programs for residence hall students.

Fire Evacuation

In the event of a fire, the University expects that all campus community members will evacuate by the nearest exit, closing doors and activating the fire alarm system (if one is present) as they leave. Once safely outside a building, it is appropriate to contact 911 and the University Police by dialing 911. Students and/or staff are informed where to relocate to by staff if the circumstance warrants at the time of the alarm. In the event fire alarms sound, University policy requires that all occupants must evacuate from the building, closing doors as they leave. No training is provided to students or employees in firefighting or suppression activity as this is inherently dangerous; each community member’s duty is to exit safely and quickly, shutting doors along the exit path as they go to contain the spread of flames and smoke and to activate the alarm as they exit. At no time should the closing of doors or the activation of the alarm delay the exit from the building.

Fire Incident Reporting

Students, faculty, and staff are instructed to call 911 to report a fire emergency. Non-emergency notifications (e.g., evidence that something burned) are made to University Police (252) 335-3555.

Inspections and Prohibited Items

The Office of Residence Life performs Residence Hall Health and Safety Inspections four to five times a year in the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. Inspections may be random or announced. Residence Life inspections are primarily designed to find and eliminate safety violations. Students are required to read and comply with all Residential Life Housing Policies, which include inspection and other rules and regulations for residential buildings. The inspections include, but are not limited to, a visual examination of electrical cords, sprinkler heads, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and other life safety systems.

In addition, each room will be examined for the presence of prohibited items (e.g., sources of open flames (such as candles), non-surge protected extension cords, halogen lamps, portable cooking appliances in non-kitchen areas, etc.) or prohibited activity (e.g., smoking in the room, tampering with life safety equipment, possession of pets, etc.). This inspection will also include a general assessment of food and waste storage and cleanliness of the room. Prohibited items will be immediately disabled with a locking device or confiscated and donated/discarded if found, without reimbursement.

Plans for Future Improvements in Fire Safety

ECSU continues to monitor trends related to residence hall fire incidents and alarms to provide a fire safe living environment for all students. New programs and policies are developed as needed to help ensure the safety of all students, faculty, and staff.