The University of Massachusetts Amherst


The major cause of death during a fire is smoke inhalation. If your work station is located within an office, know in advance exactly how many doors you will have to pass along your evacuation route before you reach the nearest exit door. If heavy smoke is present, the exit signs above the doors may be hidden by the smoke. Knowing in advance how many doors you must pass will allow you to crawl or crouch low while counting the number of doors, so you will know when you reach the exit door (even if you can’t see that it is the exit).

If you discover a Fire:

  1. Activate the nearest fire alarm and alert others.
  2. Evacuate the building, using the stairs and closing doors behind you. Do not use elevators. Go to your designated evacuation assembly area.
  3. Call 911
  4. Call UMPD at 413-545-2121 to provide details about the fire.
  5. Do not re-enter the building until authorized by emergency personnel.

When a Fire Alarm Sounds

  1. Evacuate – Walk to the nearest exit closing doors between you and the fire.
  2. Assist persons with special needs if possible. Contact emergency services (911) or UMPD at 413-545-2121 for assistance.
  3. Notify fire personnel if you suspect someone is trapped inside the building.
  4. Gather outside at designated evacuation assembly area, and do not attempt to reenter the building until instructed to do so by UMPD, fire department personnel, your building manager, or other authorized personnel.

If Trapped in a Room

  1. Wet and place cloth material around or under the door to prevent smoke from entering the room.
  2. Close as many doors as possible between you and the fire.
  3. Be prepared to signal to someone outside.

If Caught in Smoke

  1. Drop to hands and knees and crawl toward exit. Stay low as smoke will rise to ceiling level.
  2. Count the doors as you pass so you will know when you reach the exit door.

If Forced to Advance Through Flames

  1. Hold your breath.
  2. Move quickly.
  3. Cover your head and hair.
  4. Keep your head down and your eyes closed as much as possible.