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Fire Prevention / Protection / Safety Fact Sheet


In 1912, more than half of the campus facilities existing at that time were destroyed by a fire which started in the attic of the administration building. Fire continues to be a significant hazard in every campus operation even today. Building designers plan for fire safety in the construction and renovation of campus buildings. Occupants should be aware of the fire protection features of their building and should be careful to not undermine their purpose. Occupants should also practice fire safe behaviors by identifying the hazards specific to their area and using the appropriate preventative measures. In the event a fire does occur, the campus fire emergency policy should be enacted. Life safety is the primary objective of all UMD fire protection programs.

Applicable Regulations

  • COMAR 29.06.01 - State Fire Prevention Code
  • COMAR 29.06.08 - National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1 - Uniform Fire Code
  • 29 CFR 1910.37 - Means of Egress
  • 29 CFR 1910.38 - Employee Emergency & Fire Prevention Plans
  • 29 CFR 1910.101 - Hazardous Materials
  • 29 CFR 1910.106 - Flammable & Combustible Liquids
  • 29 CFR 1910.157 - Portable Fire Extinguishers
  • 29 CFR 1910.159 - Automatic Sprinkler Systems
  • NFPA 30 - Flammable & Combustible Liquids Code
  • NFPA 45 - Standard for Laboratories Using Chemicals
  • NFPA 55 - Compressed & Liquefied Gas in Portable Cylinders
  • NFPA 70 - National Electrical Code
  • NFPA 101 - COMAR 29.06.07 - Life Safety Code
  • NFPA 115 - Laser Fire Protection
  • NFPA 318 - Protection of Clean rooms
  • NFPA 321 - Basic Classification of Flammable and Combustible Liquids
  • NFPA 325 - Fire Hazard Properties of Flammable Liquids, Gases and Solids
  • NFPA 491 - Hazardous Chemical Reactions
  • NFPA 704 - COMAR 29.06.18B - Identification of the Fire Hazards of Materials

Applicable University Policy

  • V1-21.00(A) Environmental, Safety, and Health Management Policy
  • X-7.00(A) UMD Policy Concerning Fire Emergencies

Summary of Requirements

Life Safety Features in Campus Buildings

Every building is provided with exits sufficient to permit the prompt escape of occupants in case of a fire or other emergency. Exits are marked by visible, illuminated EXIT signs. Keep exit doors and signs clear of obstructions and maintain the minimum required width of 44 inches of access to exit doors. The required exit access may be more than 44 inches depending on the occupant load and the configuration of the space. Enclosed stairways provide safe passage to the outside in the event of an emergency. Keep stair doors closed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke and keep stairwells clear of storage.

Most campus buildings are equipped with a fire alarm that can be activated by pull stations, smoke detectors and sprinklers. Keep these devices free of obstructions. When activated, the alarm sounds throughout the building to initiate evacuation of building occupants. Sprinklers should have 18 inches of space beneath the deflector in order to function properly. Seek advise from ESSR when erecting partitions in a sprinklered space. The new wall may interfere with sprinkler and/or fire alarm coverage.

Fire Prevention Measures

Electricity is found in almost every corner of campus and is a common ignition source in campus fires. Make sure that the electrical equipment and appliances in your area are U.L. listed and are used according to the manufacturers recommendations. The use of makeshift electrical equipment is not permitted except in experimental laboratories when its use is crucial to the research or work being conducted and the lab personnel are qualified. All circuits should have overcurrent protection. Whenever a damaged appliance or power cord is found, it should be placed out of service immediately.

Flammable liquids create a severe fire and explosion hazard. Flammables should be kept in approved, sealed containers. These containers should be stored in flammable liquids storage cabinets or approved storage rooms. Refrigerators used for flammable storage should be manufactured for that purpose and labeled as such on the front of the door. Take out from storage only the amount needed for the day. Eliminate sources of ignition when using flammables, including static electricity, friction, and heat from an oven.

Open flames, whether in a laboratory, kitchen, or shop area, should always be attended. Keep open flames away from combustible and flammable materials. Obtain a "Hot Works Permit" whenever working with open flames outside of designated labs or shop areas.

Good housekeeping is always an important safety measure. Discard combustible waste as soon as possible. Arson is a common cause of fire on campus. Accumulations of paper products and upholstered furnishings are attractive targets of malicious fire setting.

Emergency Procedures

A fire emergency exists when there is: controlled burning, the presence or the odor of smoke, or an uncontrolled release of a toxic gas or a flammable liquid spill. When such an emergency is discovered, an occupant should:

  1. Pull the building fire alarm, unless the alarm is already sounding.
  2. Shut off equipment in the immediate area and close the door if safe to do so.
  3. Leave the building.
  4. Call 911. Use any campus phone, pay phone or campus emergency phone.

Be available to assist emergency responders by giving information about operations in your area.

The use of fire extinguishers is not required by any building occupant or campus employee and is not recommended for those who have not received training.


Environmental Safety,Sustainability and Risk provides fire safety and evacuation training to campus groups upon request.

Fire On Campus brochures feature instructions on emergency evacuation, common fire hazards and fire protection equipment in campus buildings. Call Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk at (301)405-3960 to request brochures or to borrow National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) videos on Fire Safety. Get Out & Stay Alive Video Program for residential facilities.


All fires, even those found extinguished must be reported by calling 911.

To report life safety equipment in need of service, call the Department of Facilities Management Work Control Center at (301)405-2222. This includes missing or burned out EXIT signs, missing or discharged fire extinguishers, fire doors that do not completely self close and latch, and any damaged or malfunctioning fire alarm or sprinkler system.

In residence halls call the Facilities Center at (301) 314-WORK.


Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk maintains records of life safety inspections and building evacuation drills.

University Resources

Campus Emergency (9-1-1)
Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk (301) 405-3960
ESSR Fax No.    (301) 314-9294
ESSR Website:
Emergency Response Guide Wall Calendar
Fire and Life Safety Planning & Management Guide for Public Assembly Events
Stairwell and Corridor Fire Safety Guidelines
Guidelines for the Use of Tents
Greek Facilities Fire Safety and Loft Guide
Regulations for Indoor Display of Evergreen Trees (Christmas Trees)
Hot Work Permit Frequently Asked Questions
ESSR Fax No.(301) 314-9294

Written 5/98
Revised 4/05

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