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To protect yourself, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of fire. Fire spreads quickly; there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.

Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super-hot air can sear your lungs. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio.

Any faculty, staff, student or visitor that becomes aware of a fire shall immediately notify the building of a fire. This can be done via a variety of methods such as utilizing a Fire Pull Station, paging system (if available), and contacting UTHSC Police at 901-448-4444  (or Dialing 911).

Notify Responders

When notifying responders – provide the following information that may include, but is not limited to:

  • Location of the fire.
  • Name and Location of functional needs individuals requiring evacuation assistance.
  • Personnel missing that may still be in the building.
  • Special hazards associated with the building (if any).

The University Evacuation Policy mandates that the building shall immediately be evacuated except in areas where special procedures have been developed because immediate evacuation presents a risk.  All faculty, staff, students, and visitors will regard any activation of a fire alarm as a true fire emergency unless there has been previous notification of a fire alarm test.

Trying to put out the fire:

Only occupants comfortable operating a fire extinguisher should make an attempt to extinguish the fire.

Only if the fire is very small should an attempt be made to extinguish the fire. If the fire is not contained, involves flammable solvents, is spreading rapidly, is partially hidden behind a wall or ceiling, cannot be reached from a standing position, or if it becomes difficult to breathe in the room: DO NOT attempt to extinguish the fire. Evacuate immediately!

Follow these steps:

  • Collect valuables (purse, coat, cell phone, etc.) if time permits.
  • Close all office doors upon leaving.
  • Any occupant who comes into contact with a student or visitor will direct them to evacuate the building.
  • Any occupant that comes into contact with a person with functional needs, that requires help exiting the building, should assist that individual to an area of rescue and once outside notify an emergency responder that a person needs assistance and their location.
  • Go to your assembly point. The assembly point is identified in the Building Emergency Action Plan. 


May 26, 2022