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Environmental Health and Safety

Fire & Life Safety

Fire and Life safety involves numerous safety issues including fire prevention, fire suppression and emergency evacuation/response. Fire and life safety is everyone's responsibility.

Learn how to prevent fires and respond to fire- what you learn will be invaluable. The K-State administration is committed to providing a safe environment for building occupants and emergency response personnel. The Kansas Fire Prevention Code and other adopted nationally accepted codes are used as guidelines for inspections, testing and procedures on University property.

In Case of Fire

The most important thing to remember in case of fire is to stay calm. Know your building exits.


  • Immediately evacuate the building via the shortest and safest route
    • Close (but do not lock) doors as you leave.
    • Activate the fire alarm system at the nearest pull station as you exit.
    • Knock on doors and yell “fire” as you depart.
    • Do not use elevators (unless instructed to do so by fire department responder).
    • If you are unable to use stairs, wait by stairs or a designated area of rescue (as long as it is safe to do so)
    • Do not hesitate or stray from your egress path or go back for belongings.
    • If you must exit through smoke, keep as low as possible – crawl if necessary.
    • Before opening a door, test it with the back of your hand. If the door is warm or you notice smoke coming through, use an alternative escape route.
  • If you are trapped inside during a fire emergency, close all doors between you and the fire. Stuff items into cracks around the doors to keep out smoke. If you have access to a phone call 911 and report exactly where you are. Wait by a safe window and signal for help (wave a light colored cloth) and/or post a sign on the window. It is not safe to break the window. Ensure doors are closed and cracks sealed around door before attempting to open a window. Open only slightly. Be prepared to close again if smoke starts to come in.
  • Use of fire extinguishers by trained individuals is optional. Use the extinguisher only for small (trash can size fire). Yell out for help. Keep exit behind you. Upon emptying the extinguisher, immediately exit. Do not go back/re-enter the space if fire is still present. Activate the fire alarm pull station.


  • From the nearest phone in a safe area, call 911 unless responders are already on scene.
  • Await emergency response personnel at a safe location and direct them to the scene. Do not re-enter the building until instructed to do so by the Fire or Police department.
  • If you suspect that someone is missing or trapped, contact firefighters on scene or at the fire engine, police officers or ambulance personnel.
  • Report/check-in to the person who is taking roll for your department/area.

Inhalation of toxic by-products and lack of oxygen are the main causes of death in fire emergencies.

Re-entering a smoke filled building is dangerous.

After the incident is over contact KSU Environmental Health and Safety (785) 532-5856 to report the fire, complete an incident report, and obtain a new fire extinguisher if needed.

Report any fire event even if it was extinguished with no damages.

The Effects of a Fire

Most fires produce an immense amount of smoke that is highly toxic. In fact, smoke is responsible for more fire fatalities than flames. A smoky fire can have the following effect on humans:

      • Within 30 seconds - Disorientation
      • Within 2 minutes - Unconsciousness
      • Within 3 minutes - Death

Therefore, timing is critical during a fire. To ensure your safety, you must know how to prevent and respond to any fire emergency.

Fire Prevention

The greatest protection against property loss and injuries from fire is prevention. Follow these guidelines to promote fire/life safety:

    • Minimize combustible storage.
    • Store waste materials in suitable containers
    • Use flammable materials in well-ventilated areas. Use and store flammables away from ignition sources, such as cigarettes.
    • Keep equipment in good working order. Have electrical wiring and appliances inspected regularly.
    • Ensure that heating units are properly safeguarded.
    • Do not hunt for gas leaks using an open flame. Use approved gas indicators
    • Report and repair all gas leaks immediately.
    • Conduct hot work in well-ventilated areas
    • Test enclosed or confined spaces for flammable atmospheres
    • Use open flames carefully. Do not open flames where flammable atmospheres may be present.

Fire Response

If you see a fire or smoke, or if you smell smoke, complete the following steps:

    • Pull the fire pull station to begin evacuating the building.
    • If you are not in immediate danger, call 911 to report the fire. Provide the dispatcher with the following information
      • Building or area name.
      • Approximate location of the fire
      • Size and type of fire (Class A,B,C, or D)
      • If you are formally trained in the use of fire extinguishers and are not in immediate danger you may attempt to fight the fire. Do not place yourself or others in unnecessary danger.
      • Exit the building as rapidly as possible. Do not use elevators during an emergency

      During actual emergencies, building occupants must receive permission from the Manhattan Fire Department, the Kansas State University Police Department, and Environmental Health & Safety before re-entering the building.

      Evacuation plans and fire drills are essential for building occupants to respond correctly to a fire alarm. Department personnel should plan ahead and practice safe building evacuation.


If you suspect arson, no matter how small the incident, contact the KSUPD. Do not alter the fire scene in any way, unless you are trying to extinguish a live fire. The KSUPD and Manhattan Fire Department work together to investigate possible arson.