Emergency Procedure - Fire

Building Fires

Before an disaster strikes, build your Personal Emergency kit.

Building occupants are required by law to evacuate a building when the fire alarm sounds.

  1. Inform people in the immediate area to evacuate.
  2. If you witness a fire, activate the nearest building fire alarm and exit the building.
  3. When safe, immediately call 911. 
  4. If the fire is small (wastebasket sized or smaller) and you have been trained to use a fire extinguisher, you may attempt to extinguish the fire. Make sure that you have a safe exit from the fire area and use the buddy system. If you cannot put out the fire in 5 seconds, evacuate.
  5. To use a fire extinguisher, remember the acronym PASS:
    • P ull the pin.
    • A im the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
    • S queeze the handle.
    • S weep the extinguisher from side to side.
  6. On your way out, warn others near by.
  7. Move away from fire and smoke. Close doors and windows behind you, if time permits.
  8. Before opening a door, place the back of your hand on the door to check for heat.  If cool, slowly check the door handle for heat and proceed to exit. 
  9. If the door is hot, do not open it. Find or create an alternative exit (windows).  If no other exit is available and you only see smoke, open the door slowly, move to a crawling position, staying low, and quickly crawl to an exit. 
  10. If the door is hot and fire is present, keep the door shut. Place a wet cloth at the base to keep smoke from entering your room.
  11. Exit using stairs. Do not use elevators during a fire.
  12. Evacuate the building as soon as the alarm sounds and proceed to the designated emergency assembly area. Check in and report that you made it out safe (i.e. Building Emergency Coordinator, Floor Marshals, your supervisor or a housing staff). 
  13. Move well away from the building and go to your designated meeting point.
  14. Do not re-enter the building or work area until you have been instructed to do so by the emergency responders.

Wild Land Fire

In the event of a wild land fire, emergency responders may advise the campus to shelter in place or to evacuate.  

Shelter In Place

If the campus is advised to shelter in place, air quality may be an issue, especially for those with health conditions. 

  1. Stay inside.
  2. Stay tuned to changing conditions though local media, news, CruzAlert, KZSC radio, and the UCSC web page.
  3. Close all doors and windows.
  4. If air quality becomes a factor, obtain a respirator from your personal emergency supply kit (N95 quality recommended). N95s can be purchased at local hardware stores 
  5. If you do not have a personal respirator, create a makeshift mask by dampening a shirt or towel and cover your nose and mouth until the air improves. 

Campus Evacuation

If first responders order an evacuation, local agencies and campus response teams will engage the campus evacuation plan. Directions for evacuation will be broadcast over available sources (e.g. CruzAlert, KZSC radio, police squad PAs, emergency responders). 

  1. Immediately assemble critical items in a single backpack or bag and proceed to the announced evacuation points. Critical items include medicine, glasses, laptop, service animal, phone, chargers, and 1 change of clothes. If an evacuation requires immediate action, there may not be enough time to gather your personal belongings. Heed all warnings, do not stall or deviate from evacuation orders. Your safety is paramount.
  2. Evacuation tactics may include auto, foot, bike, or mass transit. The situation will dictate which modes are safest and most effective. 
  3. An evacuation could lead to sheltering at an off-campus location. Local students may opt to drive home or be picked up by family.  If you have the option to go home, be sure to let your resident assistant or housing staff know that you are safe and heading home.
  4. Check in with your family and let them know you are safe. 

Wild Land Fire Incident Information

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) maintains a log of all current and recent wild land fire incidents statewide. Major fires will usually have an incident-specific page created and linked to from this log.

Please note that updates by CAL FIRE may be delayed up to 24 hours depending on available incident information and resources. During times of major statewide fire activity, CAL FIRE may also move incident information to their main home page.

In addition, FireDispatch.com provides a free feed of all active fire and EMS incidents dispatched by NETCOM (the Santa Cruz Consolidated Emergency Communications Center). This includes all municipal responses within Santa Cruz County, but does not include campus or CAL FIRE responses unless municipal units are simultaneously dispatched.

  • FireDispatch.com note: select "Santa Cruz County" from dropdown menu in upper right corner of screen

Air Quality During a Fire

Smoke can have a dangerous effect on air quality during a wild land fire, especially for individuals with health concerns. Review the Fires, Air Quality and Your Health bulletin for response techniques and resources for monitoring air quality. 


Wildfire Smoke Information

Specific smoke advisories during wildfires are issued by the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District and can be found on the MBUAPCD website page if available.

General information about the health effects of wild land smoke can be found in the following documents:

See Also