A continuing emphasis is placed on fire prevention at Agnes Scott College. However, when prevention fails the college must be prepared for evacuation. A clear understanding of the characteristics of fire and smoke is essential for escape in a fire situation.
Fire is hot and heat rises; therefore, ceiling level temperatures are hottest. Oxygen is burned at high levels first, so air is more available near the floor. Smoke falls to knee level and hovers there, even in serious fires. If a person remains in a prone position or crawls, chances are she will be able to breathe and see across the floor to a fire exit or area of refuge.
During fire evacuations, follow these procedures:
- Go to the door; using the back of your hand, feel the door from top to bottom for heat.
- If hot, don’t open it. Go to step 6.
- If cool, go to step 2.
- In a crouching position, brace yourself behind the door and open it slowly. Just because the door isn’t hot doesn’t mean there isn’t fire or heavy smoke on the other side. To stand up and open the door could mean instant death due to the on-rush of superheated air into your lungs. Crouching behind the door prevents it from being blown open due to the pressure created by fire and keeps you relatively safe from the fire.
- If the environment outside isn’t favorable, close the door and go to step 6.
- If you choose to leave and there’s no indication of smoke in the corridor, close your door and leave it unlocked as you may be forced to return to your room by heavier smoke and heat.
- Go to nearest exit. Do not use elevators during a fire.
- If your assigned stairwell is blocked by smoke and heat, go to an alternate exit.
- Once you have exited, stand away from the building and wait for the order to return or other instructions.
- If all your exits are blocked, go back to your room or area of refuge. If you have closed your door and left it unlocked, the environment in your room should be relatively free of smoke.
- If forced back into your room:
- Pack the doorframe with wet towels, sheets, whatever you have on hand to impede smoke from migrating into your room. Use a towel to cover your face.
- Stay close to the floor. Proceed to your window and open the top and bottom. The smoke will escape through the upper portion and you’ll be able to obtain fresh air through the lower portion.
- Let everyone within hearing distance be aware that you are trapped. Yell and wave a towel outside the window. Most importantly, stay near the window. Once rescued, go to the designated assembly area.
Those with disabilities will receive assistance from designated personnel.