Fire safety

If you get trapped by fire or smoke

  • Keep the doors closed
  • Seal cracks and vents if smoke comes in. If you’re trapped in a room and there’s no smoke outside, open the windows from the top to let out the heat and smoke and from the bottom to let in fresh air.
  • Signal for help. e.g. Hang an object at the window (a jacket, shirt) to attract attention.
  • If there is a phone in the room, call the Fire Brigade (000) and report that you are trapped. Be sure to give your room number and location.

If you are on fire

  • Stop, drop and roll. If your clothes catch on fire, cover your face and stop, drop and roll, wherever you are. Rolling smothers the fire.
  • Cool burns. Use cool tap water on burns, immediately .Don’t use ointments. If your skin is blistered, seek medical advice.

Surviving a building fire

  • If you get caught in smoke get down low and crawl. Cleaner, cooler air will be near the floor. Get down low and Go, Go, Go!
  • Before opening any doors, feel the door with the back of your hand. If the door is hot, do not open it. If the door is cool, brace yourself against it slightly, and if heat or heavy smoke is present, close the door and stay in the room.
  • Go to the nearest exit or stairway.
  • If the nearest exit is blocked by fire, heat or smoke, go to another exit.
  • Total and immediate evacuation is safest.
  • Only use a fire extinguisher if the fire is very small and you know how to do it safely. If you can’t put out the fire, leave immediately and close the door behind you. Make sure the fire brigade is called – even if you think the fire is out.

Important: In cases of fire always use an exit stair and DO NOT use a lift (elevator). Elevator shafts may fill with smoke or the power may fail, leaving you trapped. Stairway fire doors will keep out fire and smoke – if they are closed – and will provide protection you until you get outside. Close as many doors as possible as you leave. This helps to contain the fire.

To prevent fires

  • Use and dispose of cigarettes carefully.
  • Note: Smoking is not allowed in all buildings throughout RMIT University.
  • Ensure electrical appliances are in working order and do not overload outlets.
  • Ensure that damaged cords are replaced and electrical equipment such as hotplates, irons and space heaters are unplugged after use and not stored until they are cool enough to touch.
  • Keep heaters away from curtains and furniture.
  • Match the rating of any extension cord to the appliance power cord or power board to prevent overheating.
  • Petrol, kerosene, propane, paint, glue should be stored correctly.
  • In laboratories, shops and classrooms, the storage of flammable liquids is limited to specific quantities and approved containers.
  • Storage of bicycles, chairs, desks and other items should not obstruct any exit points. Report all obstructions to your Manager or Emergency Warden.

Protect yourself

  • Take the time to learn where other exits are NOW!
  • If you use alcohol and drugs, you are especially vulnerable to smoke asphyxiation. You may not hear the smoke alarm or be able to find an exit if you are under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Remember, alcohol, drugs and fire do not mix.
  • Take particular care of anyone who becomes intoxicated, particularly if the person is a smoker. Let the Fire Brigade know if you think someone has not evacuated the building.
  • If you have a disability that prevents you from exiting your building by the stairwells, talk to your Manager to make them aware of your special needs for assistance, in the event of an emergency
  • Look for “areas of refuge”, like stair enclosures or the other side of fire corridors.
  • Most lifts (elevators) are designed to stop operating when the alarm is sounding and are not safe during fires. Sometimes it may be safest to stay in your room. Follow the advice for being trapped. Plan ahead for fire emergencies.

Participate in emergency drills

  • Fire drills are conducted to familiarise you with the sound of your building’s fire alarm, the emergency exits which you may not normally use, and the procedure for calling the fire brigade.

Used or damaged fire equipment

  • Report faulty, missing or damaged fire equipment and empty fire extinguishers should be reported to Property Services.