Skip to Main Content
CWRU Links

Fire Alarms

When to Evacuate

  • Anytime you hear the fire alarm in your building. (Evacuation is MANDATORY during fire alarms)
  • If you smell smoke or know an actual fire is burning.
  • When instructed to do so by CWRU Police Dispatch, CWRU Police or Security Officers, CWRU Environmental Health and Safety personnel, or local police, fire/EMS personnel.

What You Should Do

  1. If you smell or see smoke or fire, alert others in the nearby area, activate the fire alarm by pulling a fire alarm pull station and evacuate. WHEN A FIRE ALARM IS ACTIVATED EVACUATION IS MANDATORY!
  2. Do not attempt to fight the fire yourself unless you have been trained in the use of firefighting equipment and it is safe to do so. Do this only after the fire alarm has been activated, the occupants have been assisted out, and Police & Security Services and the fire department are responding. 
  3. Notify occupants and help those needing assistance in the immediate area.
  4. If a fire is present in the immediate area leave all belongings and exit immediately.  Otherwise, when an alarm sounds quickly (i.e. a couple seconds, not minutes) gather essential personal belongings only if it can be done safely (I.D., keys, purse, wallets, etc.) and proceed out of the building.  Close doors behind you to help contain the fire.
  5. Follow the building’s evacuation map (if available), go to the nearest exit (marked with the word “EXIT”), and exit quickly via stairwells only.  Utilize the exit door in the stairwells to leave the building. DO NOT attempt to use elevators.  Persons with disabilities who are unable to use the stairs should wait in an enclosed stairwell for rescue assistance. Please alert 216.368.3333 of your location!
  6. If you get caught in heavy smoke, take short breaths, crouch down or crawl.
  7. If the fire or smoke prevents you from exiting the building, go to a room far away from the fire (preferably a room with a window), shut the door and phone for help (cell phone or office phone). If you cannot reach outside help using technology, open or break a window and signal for help. Placing an object (coat, blanket, towel, etc.) under the door may prevent smoke from intruding while you are awaiting rescue.
  8. Once outside proceed to the evacuation assembly area and gather with your department.  Amongst your department determine who is present and who is unaccounted for.  If someone is unaccounted for, relay this information to the Building Evacuation Captain or CWRU Police/Security.
  9. If emergency responders are not already on the scene, call CWRU Police & Security Dispatch (216.368.3333) with the following information;
    • The exact location of the fire and any other information you may have about the fire (i.e. people injured or trapped).

Fire Alarm Systems

Fire alarm systems are located in each of CWRU’s buildings. Many of these systems go unnoticed day in and day out. However, in times of emergency they are critical.

Smoke/heat detectors detect smoke or fire and automatically activate the buildings fire alarm system.

Pull stations are located throughout the buildings in main corridors and near the stairwells. In the case of fire or smoke, always pull the closest pull station, regardless of the size of the fire! 

All building occupants should become familiar with posted evacuation routes and procedures for their buildings. These are typically located near elevators, stairwells, and exits. Any student residing in or present in any university residence hall must evacuate the building when a fire alarm sounds using stairwells and exits.

All building occupants should know and memorize two exits from the building, and understand that an evacuation may require you to evacuate a smoke filled area. In the case of smoke, stay low and check all doors before proceeding to an exit.

Windows may also be an exit option in some buildings. Should you need to exit from a window, verbally summon the assistance of a first responder before attempting to exit a building from a window. Upon exiting the building occupants must move to a location away from the building and fire equipment until notified that the building is clear to be re-occupied by first responders. After evacuating, if you know of an occupant that may still be in the impacted building, provide that information to first responders by giving the name and location of the individual so they may assist them.

Sprinkler Systems

Sprinklers are installed in many building areas to protect both life and property. In the case of a fire, each head detects temperature in the room and begins spraying water as soon as the room temperature exceeds a pre-determined value. Not all buildings or areas are equipped with sprinkler systems. Hazardous locations, storage areas and basement levels are generally protected with sprinklers as required by the Ohio Fire Code. 

As you store materials and boxes in your area, always maintain a minimum of 18 inches of clearance between the ceiling and the storage. This clearance allows the sprinkler head to spray water uniformly and extinguish the fire effectively. If you notice any unsafe conditions such as a sprinkler head that is painted over or heavily laden with dust, blocked in any other manner or broken, promptly report this to the EHS Office, Roy Evans, at 216.368.0021.