Safety Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 8: Fire Safety

Fire Safety, Evacuation, and Prevention Planning

SPPM 8.23

For more information contact:
   WSU Fire Marshal

1.0   Policy and Purpose

Planning is a key part of ensuring the safety of WSU personnel, students, volunteers, and visitors in the event of a fire.

2.0   Applicability

This policy applies to all units in the WSU system.

3.0   Responsibility

Each University unit is responsible for preparing a fire safety, evacuation, and prevention plan (also referred to as a fire safety plan).

  • The fire safety plan may be a stand-alone document or incorporated in the unit’s accident prevention program and/or emergency action plan. See also SPPM 4.12 and BPPM 50.39.

    A copy of the plan is to be made available to unit personnel in either paper copy or electronic form when requested.

  • Unit supervisors review the fire safety plan with new employees as part of the day-one safety orientation (see SPPM 2.16).
  • Unit supervisors periodically review the fire safety plan with all employees, at least annually and after any emergency.

4.0   Requirements of the Fire Safety Plan

The fire safety plan is to include the following:

  • The locations of at least two emergency exits and routes from each work  area.
  • The locations of fire alarms, extinguishers, and other available emergency equipment.

    Note: The preferred means for reporting a fire or similar emergency requiring building evacuation is activation of a fire alarm/pull station. The individual activating the alarm should call 911 immediately after evacuating to provide additional information to first responders. For all other emergencies, call 911.

  • Locations of landmarks that could aid leaving an area when visibility is reduced by smoke.
  • A specific place where work groups meet for a head count after leaving their work areas, located a minimum of 75 yards away from the building.
  • Specific duty assignments (a primary and alternatives). Examples:
    • Which employee or employees are responsible for closing the fume hood sash in a laboratory;
    • Which employee or employees are responsible for assisting persons with disabilities (see SPPM 8.27); or
    • Which employee or employees are responsible for coordinating egress from an assembly area or residence hall; and
    • The alternate designated persons if the primary persons are not present or able to perform the tasks.

    Note: Specific duty assignments must allow time for safe evacuation.

  • Procedures to account for employees and occupants after evacuation.

5.0   General Fire Prevention Procedures

5.1    Emergency Exits

Do not prop open or hold open designated or fire-rated doors.

Note: Electrical fire alarm/detection systems often include devices that hold fire doors open. When such a system is activated, the doors automatically close. Do not obstruct self-closing doors in any manner.

Do not lock or otherwise close a fire door or exit door in a manner that may prevent or impede exit.

Remove all obstructions from emergency exits and corridors (see SPPM 8.24).

Report blocked or locked fire exits to the unit administrator, the safety committee representative, and the WSU Fire Safety and Compliance Officer, using the applicable campus hazard reporting form (see SPPM 2.52).

The WSU Fire Safety and Compliance Officer addresses concerns with the respective campus administration and, if necessary, the local area fire marshal.

5.2    Fire Equipment

Do not obstruct fire alarm boxes, fire hoses, fire standpipes, fire extinguishers, fire sprinkler heads, fire/smoke detectors, or any other fire protection equipment.

Note: Items stacked in the middle of a space must be  a minimum of 18 inches below the sprinkler head deflector. If the space is not protected by a sprinkler, items must be a minimum of 24 inches below the ceiling. Items may be stacked along the wall up to the ceiling.

5.3    Open Flames or Electrical Appliances

Do not allow open flames, electrical appliances, or other potential ignition sources to be near flammable or combustible materials.

Open flames are permitted only in designated areas, such as laboratories, shops, or work areas subject to a hot work permit. Contact campus EHS or the WSU Fire Safety and Compliance Officer for additional information.

5.4    Housekeeping Practices

Observe good housekeeping practices. Do not allow concentrations of flammable or combustible materials to collect. Adhere to flammable and combustible material storage requirements (see SPPM 8.12, 8.13, 8.14, and 8.15). Regularly empty wastebaskets.

Contact campus Facilities Services, campus EHS, and the Fire Safety Compliance Officer when introducing new fire hazards or quantities of hazardous materials (e.g., flammables, oxidizers) to campus buildings.

Revisions:  Mar. 2024 (Rev. 142); Reviewed Sept. 2003; Nov. 1994 (Rev. 12*) Dec. 1989 (Rev. 7).