UT Dallas Policy Navigator :: University Safety and Fire Prevention :: UTDBP3082 (v1)

University Safety and Fire Prevention - UTDBP3082

Policy Statement

Purpose and Scope


The Physical Plant is responsible for ensuring all UTD facilities and equipment are in proper working order and in compliance with appropriate federal, state and local regulations and codes.

However, safety is everyone's responsibility and all UTD personnel should immediately report safety hazards to the Physical Plant (Ext. 2177 or 2113) so they may be addressed.

Fire Prevention

Fire prevention is the collective responsibility of everyone at UTD. It is a responsibility which must be assumed universally. An effective fire prevention program can be implemented economically if each individual assumes his/her just and proper responsibility.

The Physical Plant makes regular inspections of all fire extinguishers, stand pipes and fire hoses, and cooperates with the Richardson Fire Marshall to eliminate potential fire hazards.

If an individual notes a fire hazard or potential problem, s/he should contact the Physical Plant at Ext. 2141 immediately.

Injury to Personnel

If a personal injury results from defective University facilities or equipment, the Physical Plant will be notified by the University Police Department of the hazard. The Physical Plant will then investigate and take appropriate action to correct the noted defect and to prevent further injury.

Laboratory Safety

Laboratory safety is technically one of the most complex safety problems. No one person can be an expert in every chemical reaction, radioactive contamination, behavior of gases, and all other possible laboratory phenomena. The Principal Investigator for each lab is responsible for the laboratory's overall safety and the safety program, which includes the training of faculty, staff and students.

Thus, for every type of research and each kind of laboratory, a separate set of safety rules is needed. Such rules can come only from experts in their respective fields and must be developed by each department. The Chemical Safety Subcommittee of the Safety Committee formulates and enforces appropriate safety regulations and procedures. The Safety Office will assist in any way possible to ensure adequate safety is evident in laboratory situations. Physical Plant will assist as appropriate to ensure adequate safety equipment is maintained.

Fire Prevention

General Policy: The University Safety Manager is charged with ensuring that UTD is in compliance with all applicable fire safety regulations. Additional, the Physical Plant works closely with outside agencies having expertise in fire prevention.

However, an effective fire prevention program is only as good as those utilizing UTD facilities make it. By properly assuming responsibility toward fire prevention and abiding by the following guidelines, each member of the University can assist the Safety Office to assure UTD has an effective fire prevention program in force:

  1. Make sure that personal habits do not create a condition that could cause a fire. Most fires at UTD arise from the careless use and disposal of cigarettes, cigars, and pipe smoking remains.
  2. If flammable, toxic, explosive, or otherwise dangerous materials are being used, they should be handled in an approved manner, observing all appropriate safety precautions.
  3. At least two (2) avenues of escape should be provided from any area in which hazardous materials, machines, or processes are contained. Hallways and exits must be kept free of obstructions to a width of six (6) feet at all times.
  4. Be familiar with the location and operation of fire extinguishers in your work area. If there are questions regarding the operation of fire extinguishers, contact the Safety Office (Ext. 2141).
  5. Know how to properly report a fire and protect others with appropriate warnings.
  6. In the event of a fire, do not panic. Remain calm and evacuate the hazardous area unless you are requested by proper authorities to assist in fighting the fire. The saving of your own life, the lives of others, and valuable property may depend upon your actions before a fire gains serious headway.
  7. All stairwell doors should be kept closed at all times.

  1. Reporting of Fires: Report all fires. Many fires that were considered out have restarted!

    • Remove people from danger of the fire.
    • Alert help by calling "911" and activating the fire alarm system.
    • Contain the fire's location by closing doors.
    • Extinguish the fire if possible and if you feel comfortable doing so.

  2. Use of Fire Extinguishers: Even though University facilities are equipped with alarms (and sprinkler systems in selected areas), a need still exists for portable fire extinguishers accessible and ready for emergency use. Fire extinguishers are located in all public areas, mechanical rooms, and laboratories and are serviced regularly to ensure proper operating standards are maintained.

    Most of the fire extinguishers on campus are able to handle a variety of fire situations and are classified as Multiple ABC. This allows the individual using the extinguisher the confidence of knowing that they are using the correct extinguisher for the appropriate fire. The only exceptions to this are in certain laboratories that have combustible metals (Class D) and selected areas that have halon fire extinguishers for protection of very delicate equipment. NOTE: Halon extinguishers will be phased out over the next few years due to the current ban on the production of the halon product.

    Fire extinguishers are easy to use and hands-on training is offered by the Safety Office. When using an extinguisher, remember to use the PASS method.
    P Pull the pin from the extinguisher and have your back to an exit!
    A Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire that is about 5 to 7 feet away from you.
    S Squeeze the handle of the extinguisher.
    S Sweep the base of the fire.

    Be aware that the extinguisher has a very limited amount of extinguishing agent in it and may only last for as little as eight (8) seconds. The actual discharging time depends on the size of the extinguisher.

    Extinguishers come in a wide variety of classes, each designed to combat certain kinds of fires. Each extinguisher is clearly marked as to its class and should be used to fight fires only as indicated. Classes of fire extinguishers are:

    • Class "A" extinguishers are used on common fires: wood, paper, rubber and many plastics. They contain water, loaded stream, foam or a combination of dry chemicals.

    • Class "B" extinguishers are suitable for fires of flammable liquids, gasses, and greases. They hold loaded stream, foam, compressed gases (bromotrifluoromethane and carbon dioxide), dry chemicals, multipurpose dry chemicals, and vaporizing liquids.

    • Class "C" extinguishers are designed primarily for fires stemming from or surrounding electrical equipment. Spraying water on this kind of blaze could electrocute the fire fighter; what is needed is an extinguisher with nonconducting flame suppressants.

    • Class "D" extinguishers work well on fires involving combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium, zirconium, sodium, and potassium. The nameplate on each extinguisher should explain its relative effectiveness for each kind of metal fire.

    Contact the Safety Office (Ext. 2141) if fire extinguisher training, the addition of be used by trained personnel.

  3. Use of Fire Hoses: Fire hoses may be located in building corridor areas. They should only be used by trained personnel.

Policy History

  • Issued: 1997-09-29