Fire preparedness at UIC

The Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHSO) reminds the campus that October is Fire Prevention Month. Fire Prevention Month was created to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, which occurred on Oct. 8, 1871. The epicenter of this historic fire is located nearby at the Chicago Fire Academy on the corner of De Koven and Jefferson Streets.

Our UIC athletic teams are known as the “Flames,” a name chosen by UIC students in honor of the Great Chicago Fire. Every year, fire stations around the country and the EHSO Fire and Life Safety division use this month to promote fire safety. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these events have been canceled or gone virtual along with our annual evacuation drills. Although we will not be conducting evacuation drills at this time, it is still important to understand that any activated fire alarm still requires building occupants to evacuate immediately and follow proper fire safety procedures.

At UIC, fire preparedness is communicated through the acronym RACERescue, Activate, Contain, and Evacuate. In the event of a fire on campus, warn others of the fire, activate the pull station (if one exists), close doors, and evacuate the building. To get more familiar with the procedures on campus, please complete the UIC Emergency Action Plan (EAP) Training. You can also volunteer to become an evacuation monitor to assist others during a building evacuation by completing the Evacuation Assistance Training for Floor Monitors training module.

Additional evacuation precautions are needed if evacuation is necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as wearing a face covering and maintaining social distance. However, you should not avoid evacuating if you cannot locate your face covering.

To be fully prepared for a fire, check your building-specific Emergency Action Plan and Emergency Evacuation Route maps and be sure you know how to use a fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers are supplied throughout campus for use on small manageable fires. A fire extinguisher will not put out a fire much larger than a wastepaper basket. 

It is recommended to have another person with you in case a problem occurs and immediate help is required. Always have a way out in case you are unsuccessful putting out the fire. Remember the acronym PASS: Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the handle, and Sweep at the base of the fire. Watch the video above to learn more about the importance of fire preparedness.

If you have any questions about evacuation procedures, please contact UIC Fire Marshal Mark Gaunky.

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