Emergency Procedure - Building Fire and Wildland 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. 
  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.

Wildland Fires

PDF Resource: Wildland Fire Response Procedures

While campus evacuations are rare, if one were to occur, the Office of Emergency Management requests your cooperation with the following procedures.


Pre-pack your emergency Ready-kit. See full Personal Emergency Kit above or consider this quick list for emergency evacuations. 

  • Phone & charger
  • Medications & glasses
  • Laptop & charger
  • Family communication plan
  • Cash and identification
  • Water, 1 gal. per person, per day for at 3 three days
  • Food, 3 day supply, non-perishable
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit & manual
  • Dust and smoke masks (N95)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Local maps
  • Hygiene supplies
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket,
  • Change of clothes, sturdy shoes


Prior to an emergency, register for local alert notification systems.  Through these applications and campus staff, you may be directed to evacuate, shelter in place, relocate, receive all-clear messaging, or be advise of campus re-entry. 


Emergency messaging may provide the following:

  • Identification or location of the hazard or threat
  • The timeliness requested of your response so that you may achieve safety
  • Recommended courses of action (e.g. evacuate, shelter in place, re-locate)
  • Where to access emergency shuttle, disability transit pickup sites, or road closures
  • Emergency assembly or shelter locations


If you are not safe, DO NOT WAIT for an official evacuation order, flee from the threat immediately. When an evacuation order is given, respond immediately. Do not return to your residence or office to pick up personal items. Stay tuned to the alert notification systems listed above. University officials, police, or fire will provide evacuation orders.


Emergency responders may direct you to evacuate, to shelter in place, or to move to another location of the campus. Your cooperation with these procedures will contribute to everyone’s safety. Assembly locations will be provided in the alert notification.

Evacuate: When directed to evacuate, use any means possible to seek safety: flee by car, foot, bike, mass transit. Continue moving away from the threat until you are safe.  

  • Evacuate by personal vehicles when traffic is moving quickly enough to egress. Provide emergency carpooling to colleagues and friends.
  • If you cannot access your car or if traffic is moving too slowly, abandoned your car and evacuate by foot.
  • Shuttles and buses will only operate when it is safe for the drivers. Do not wait at bus stops. Continue moving away from the fire.
  • If you have mobility needs, call Disability Services Vans for emergency pickup (831) 459-2829. Or call 911 for emergency rescue. When possible, move near a road for faster pickup.

Shelter in Place: If ordered to shelter in place, stay where you are. Remain calm. The building or open space that you are sent to will be chosen by first responders.  If the direction of the hazard changes, respond as need to seek safety. 

Assembly Zones: You may be directed to an Emergency Assembly Zone, quickly move to the locations indicated.

Short Term Shelter: If you are directed to or transported to an off-campus shelter, register at the site to report that you are safe.  If the campus must close due to fire, begin arrangements to return home. 

Long Term Shelter: If directed or transported to a long-term shelter, check in and follow directions provided at the shelter. If the campus closes, begin arrangements return home.


Campus visitors may opt-in to UCSC’s emergency alerts by texting “SLUGSAFE” to 888777.  You may also receive emergency directions from campus affiliates. When possible, evacuate with your visiting group.  Once safe, account for all members of your party and contact your campus liaison to provide an update about your status.


  • The UCSC webpage (http://www.ucsc.edu)
  • The 459-INFO information line
  • CruzAlert Campus Notices
  • AM 1080 Radio
  • Local News

Once you are safe, notify family and your campus contacts (Parents, Residential Assistants, Supervisor/Manager).

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