UW Emergency Management


A major fire occurring on the University campus could involve areas where multiple-occupancy residences and/or facilities are clustered closely together, increasing the possibility of rapid spread of a structural fire. The causes of fires usually involve one of the following:

  • Criminal acts (arson)
  • Building and Residential accidents (faulty insulation or connections, improper use of electrical appliances, grease fires, smoking in bed, baseboard heaters)
  • Industrial accidents (hazardous materials incidents, explosions, transportation accidents)
  • Although wildfires affect Central and Western portions of Washington, more fires are beginning to appear in outside of Seattle.  Large fires in Bonney Lake, Washington


  • Plan and Practice an escape route.
  • Post emergency numbers near telephones.
  • Get training from EH&S on using fire extinguishers
  • Do not store combustible materials in closed areas or near a heat source.
  • Extension cords can be dangerous. Never run them under carpets, or anywhere they can be pinched under or behind furniture. Avoid overloading electrical sockets and plugging extension cords together.
  • Keep all electrical appliances away from anything that can catch fire. Remember to always turn them off at the end of the day.
  • Pay attention to housekeeping issues. Do not clutter exits, stairways, and storage areas with waste paper, empty boxes, and other fire hazards.


  • Sound the alarm to notify your co-workers, no matter how small the fire
  • Call 9-1-1.
  • Get out as quickly and as safely as possible.
    • Close doors in each room after escaping to delay the spread of the fire.
  • Use the stairs to escape. Do not use elevators.
  • When evacuating, stay low to the ground. If possible, cover mouth with a cloth to avoid inhaling smoke and gases.
  • Once outside, go to your department Evacuation Assembly Point, tell your supervisor or department floor warden that you are out of the building and report injured or trapped persons and any signs of building damage you observed.

If unable to leave the building

If you are unable to leave the building, you should create an area of refuge:

  • Seal the room. Use wet cloth to stuff around cracks in doors and seal up vents to protect against smoke.
  • Do not break windows. Flames and smoke can come back in from the outside. If you need air, open the window a crack.
  • Stay low under smoke. The freshest air is near the floor. Keep a wet cloth over your nose and mouth, breath through your nose only.
  • Signal for help. Use the telephone, or hang something in the window.


  • Give first aid where appropriate. Seriously injured or burned victims should be transported to professional medical help immediately.
  • Stay out of damage buildings. Return to building when local fire authorities say it is safe.
  • Look for structural damage.
  • Discard food that has been exposed to heat, smoke, or soot.
  • Don’t discard damaged goods until after an inventory has been taken. Save receipts for money relating to fire loss.

Additional information

Keeping updated

  • UW Information Line (recorded message) 206-UWS-INFO, Toll Free: 1-866-897-INFO
  • Sign up for UW Alert
  • “Red Alerts” on UW Home page
  • Your supervisor, department/college administrator or building coordinator
  • KOMO 1000 AM (Emergency Alert System)