Offices

Fire, EMS, & Safety

PURPOSE AND SCOPE

The Alcorn State University Fire/EMS/Safety Department standard operation procedures are intended to establish guidelines and practices that should be exercised to: 

        • Create a safe environment.
        • Prevent injury to faculty, staff, students or visitors.
        • Encourage safe practices and establish safe working and living habits throughout the University community.
        • Reduce the risk of fire and to reduce costs through fire and accident prevention & injury reduction.
        • provide assistance in solving specific fire protection and safety problems.
        • Provide support during general emergency responses.
        • Describe the roles and responsibilities of the department in regards to protecting lives and property through effective use of University and community resources. 

This document includes general policies and procedures that are in place at the University to ensure that the University is both proactive in preventing emergencies and crises and is responsive in the event that an emergency or crisis should occur at the University. It is the intent of the University to ensure that its students, faculty, staff and employees enjoy a safe and healthy environment.

 

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The Director of Environmental Health and Safety and the department staff shall be responsible for the following:

        • To make periodic inspections of all University facilities, fire protection, Basic EMS protection and safety equipment.
        • To encourage and assist in fire prevention, safety education and training efforts.
        • To develop, review and approve specifications for the purchase of new fire protection and safety equipment and EMS equipment.
        • To assist in the development of appropriate fire protection and safety standards and/or guides.
        • To prepare recommendations for the correction of fire and accident hazards, life safety hazards and needed changes and/or additions to campus facilities.
        • The review plans for all new structures and remodeling of existing structures from the standpoint of fire protection and safety and applicable code compliance.
        • To develop and administer the University fire reporting system including the collection and review of reports and the investigation of fires.
        • To develop and administer the University EMS reporting system including collection and review of reports related to all medical calls.
        • To report and analyze campus fire and EMS statistics.
        • To interpret applicable fire and safety codes, regulations and laws.
        • To maintain liaison between the University, state, federal and local authorities and other agencies and personnel concerned with fire protection and safety.
        • To act in an advisory capacity on fire protection and safety matters as required for the guidance of the administration, faculty, staff and students.
        • To assist administration, faculty and staff in the management and disposal of hazardous chemicals or materials in accordance with established practices.
        • To be in responsible charge of all incidents caused by fire or hazardous materials until relieved by higher authority.
        • To perform firefighting as necessary and to fulfill University obligations under mutual aid agreements with city and county governmental agencies.

The Emergency Response Team shall support the University’s Emergency Management Plan and team membership function.  The University emergency management team consists of two major elements: the Emergency Management Team (EMT) which is the Planning Team and the Emergency Operations Team (EOT) which is the Emergency Response Team.

The department head and/or supervisor shall be responsible for the following:

        • To maintain a safe work environment for his/her employees or students.
        • To perform frequent general inspection of all safety equipment within his/her responsibility.
        • To train new employees in safe working procedures and habits and evaluate the safety performance of his or her staff.
        • To instruct all employees of the location and use of all fire protection and safety equipment in their area including the automatic external defibrillator (AED) if applicable and in proper emergency reporting procedures.
        • Promptly report employee or student injuries requiring medical attention by calling Dispatch at (601) 877-3000 for EMS assistance.
        • Promptly report to the Director of Environmental Health and Safety any non-vehicular accidents resulting in property damage or serious or fatal injury.
        • Assist in any investigations by the EHS department and/or any state, local or federal agency.
        • Inform all employees of potential hazards involved with their work.  

The employee shall be responsible for the following:

        • To report any unsafe or hazardous condition to his/her supervisor or to the EHS department as soon as possible.
        • To know the location and proper use of all safety equipment in their immediate work area.
        • To report all work related injuries to their immediate supervisor promptly.
        • To acquire proper medical attention for employee or student injuries.
        • To know and comply with safety guidelines, regulations and procedures.
        • To obey directions by EHS department or any other emergency personnel during all emergency conditions.


EMERGENCY PLANS  

The University will respond to an emergency situation in a safe, effective and timely manner. University personnel and equipment will be utilized to accomplish the following priorities:

        • Priority 1: Life Safety
        • Priority 2: Property Conservation
        • Priority 3: Incident Stabilization

 

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLAN

Alcorn State University’s emergency management plan can be accessed at www.alcorn.edu.  Each plan has a description of the fire alarm, if equipped, and any fire suppression systems in University buildings.

 

EVACUATION PROCEDURES  

In the event evacuation is required occupants should leave the building via the nearest stairwell, and gather at the designated assembly point established in the University’s plan. At the assembly point, supervisors will account for all personnel and notify the Campus Dispatcher if any personnel are missing. 

During an emergency, students and visitors who may not be familiar with this plan must be informed of the requirement to evacuate. Special attention should also be given to any persons with disabilities, especially visitors or those who are unfamiliar with the building.

 

TYPES OF EMERGENCIES/LEVELS OF RESPONSE

In order to provide warnings and a comprehensive means to disseminate information, emergency situations will be assigned a condition by level numbers. Condition level numbers will be disseminated via University Blackboard, email, text messages, telephone, voice message and social media, if applicable. Emergency conditions increase as the risk of the threat increases. The responses are as follows: 

        • Level 1 - Low/Guarded:   A minor incident is defined as a local event with limited impact, which does not affect the overall functional capability of the University. Planning and response are carried out at a limited local level. The Emergency Management Plan would not be activated; however, protective measures and essential personnel will be called in as needed. Examples include: a trash can fire in a classroom, fumes coming from a chemistry lab or a vehicle on fire. 
        • Level 2 - Elevated Emergency:   An emergency is defined as a serious event that significantly disrupts one or more operations of the University. Multiple University resources are involved. The Emergency Response Plan would be implemented to the extent necessary.  Essential personnel will remain present on campus and/or called in until relieved by management. Examples include a building fire, people trapped in an elevator or an explosion in a lab or maintenance shop.
        • Level 3 - High/Severe Disaster:   A disaster is defined as a very serious event that seriously impairs or halts the operations of the University. The Emergency Management Plan is fully implemented. There is an immediate response to call in personnel who will remain present on campus until relieved by University administration. Examples include: a tornado hitting the main campus area, a gunman or shooting on campus or a bomb threat.  


EMERGENCY RESPONSE IMPLEMENTATION

The following chart illustrates the scope and levels of the Fire/EMS/Safety Department’s emergency response implementation.


Scope

Level – 1

Level – 2

Level – 3

University Activities

Minimal and localized. Most University activities not impacted.

Significant. University activities localized  and shut down

Very significant.  University activities shut down for a period of time.

Faculty, Staff and Students

Site-specific localized impact. Injuries possible.

Site-specific or general impact with possible disruptions. Injuries possible.

General impact with probable disruptions. Injuries and possibly fatalities are a serious concern.

Media Coverage

None expected or limited local coverage.

Local/regional coverage.

Local, regional and possible national coverage.

Public & Government Concern

Limited.

Potential exists for an embarrassing situation. Government agencies may investigate prevention/response/recovery efforts.

Potential exists for an embarrassing situation and government investigations or hearings.

Emergency Operation Team (EOT) involvement

Limited or none

Conditionally involved.

Actively involved.

Emergency Management Team (EMT) involvement

Probably none.

Consulted as needed.

Consulted regularly and actively involved.

 

 

FIRE EMERGENCY RESPONSE

Faculty members are seen as leaders by students and their staff and should be prepared to direct their students to assembly areas in the event of an emergency. Every member of the faculty and staff should be familiar with applicable emergency plans and familiarize themselves with emergency procedures and evacuation routes. Faculty and staff must be prepared to assess situations quickly but thoroughly, and use common sense in determining a course of action. 

All faculty and staff are responsible for emergency preparedness planning for their own work areas and securing their work areas in the event of an emergency. Work areas need to be secured in advance of certain weather systems (hurricanes, floods, etc.). 

If you discover a fire, follow these instructions:

      1. Alert people in the area of the need to evacuate.
      2. Activate the nearest fire alarm.
      3. Exit the building.
      4. Call Campus Dispatcher at (601) 877-3000.  

If a fire alarm in a building is sounding or if you receive notification of a fire emergency, follow these instructions: 

      1. Feel the door or doorknob to the hallway with the back of your hand. If it feels hot, do not open it because the fire may be on the other side of the door. If you are trapped, put a cloth or towel under the door to help prevent the entry of smoke. Dial (601) 877-3000 and tell the campus dispatcher your location and telephone extension and the fact that you are trapped in the room and need rescue. Stay on the phone until instructed otherwise.
      2. If the door is not hot, open it slowly. If the hallway is clear of smoke, walk to the nearest fire exit and evacuate via the nearest stairwell to the street/grade level exit.
      3. Close doors behind you.
      4. Do not attempt to use elevators. Elevators are tied to the fire detection system and are not available to occupants once the alarm sounds.
      5. Assemble at the area designated for your department and remain there until instructed.

Small fires can be extinguished without evacuation, but you must constantly evaluate and be ready to evacuate if the fire cannot be controlled. Never enter a smoke-filled room. 

If you determine that it is appropriate to use a fire extinguisher, remember this simple acronym, PASS:

      1. P ull the pin.
      2. A im the nozzle.
      3. S queeze the handle.
      4. S weep from side to side at the base of the fire.

Use a fire extinguisher in these situations:

        •  Only when you are trained to do so.
        • Only when there is a fully charged and large enough fire extinguisher to extinguish the fire.
        • When you have a clear evacuation path behind you (in case the fire cannot be contained).
        • Only when small fires that have not spread to other materials need to be extinguished.  

If any conditions that might prevent the use of fire extinguishers are present, evacuate immediately. Such conditions may include:

        • If the fire is spreading too quickly.
        • If the fire could block your only exit.
        • If the type and size of fire extinguisher are wrong.
        • If you do not know how to use a fire extinguisher.
        • If the fire is too large.
        • If the heat and smoke prevents you from being within 10 to 15 feet of the fire.
        • If it is necessary to crawl on the floor due to decreased visibility and excessive heat and smoke.

Here are the policies regarding fire extinguishers:

        • Fire extinguishers shall be inspected periodically and be replaced if damaged or depleted.
        • The name plate shall be legible and facing outward.
        • Fire extinguishers shall be fully charged and the needle in the green zone.
        • Fire extinguishers shall be in good working conditions with no corrosion and leakage.
        • Each fire extinguisher shall be in a designated place and clearly visible.
        • No one should block visibility or access to a fire extinguisher with equipment, clothing or other objects.


FIRE PREVENTION, PUBLIC EDUCATION AND FIRE SAFETY INSPECTIONS
 

The Alcorn State University Fire Department is responsible for minimizing the possibility of fines by promoting fire safety wherever possible. To do so, we perform monthly fire code and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections on our entire campus. We also perform design projects and advise students, faculty and staff on fire code compliance and general safety issues.

To promote fire safety, the Fire Department educates Residence Hall Directors, students, faculty and staff on such topics as fire prevention, fire safety, fire extinguisher training, fire code compliance and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Training.

Anyone interested in training or retaining a speaker for an event is encouraged to call the Alcorn State University Fire/EMS Department at (601) 877-3000.

 

FIRE PROTECTION AND SAFETY EQUIPMENT  

All fire protection and safety equipment shall be installed in compliance with applicable codes and standards under the supervision of the Director of Environmental Health and Safety or designee and shall have his or her approval before being placed into use.

No fire protection or safety equipment shall be moved or relocated without the knowledge and permission of the Environmental Health and Safety Department.  All such work shall be performed only by Facilities Management or contractors approved by the EHS Department.

Sprinklers, fire or smoke detectors and other automatic fire protection devices shall not be blocked or painted.  Any such items so damaged will be replaced.

All personal protective equipment issued to an employee must be returned to the appropriate supervisor upon resignation or termination.

 

HAZARDOUS WASTE

Hazardous waste is defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) as any material that may pose a substantial or potential hazard. The Environmental Health and Safety Department of the University maintains a hazardous waste procedure; however, this Fire/EMS/Safety Department procedure can be used as a tool in protecting laboratory employees while they are in the workplace handling, categorizing or storing hazardous chemicals. In addition to academic and administrative employees who spend a significant amount of time working or teaching in a laboratory, the hazardous waste management procedure also includes guidance for facility, security and office staff personnel whose duties may necessitate contact with hazardous waste material.

 

HAZARDOUS WASTE MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES                                                                                          

The Alcorn State University (ASU) Laboratory Professor or designee is responsible for declaring chemical waste as “Unwanted.” 

The Director of EHS or designee must within 4 days of the declaration [per 40 CFR 260 Subpart K] determine if the waste should be classified as hazardous or usable in another department or process. If declared as Hazardous Waste, it must be properly identified, classified, packaged for transportation and shipped to an approved disposal facility.

The Director of EHS or designee is responsible for auditing the hazardous waste process.

The Director of EHS or designee is responsible for ensuring that required or needed sampling is conducted, and relevant records are maintained. He or she is also responsible for providing general oversight and guidance as needed to ensure that hazardous waste throughout the University campus is managed and maintained in compliance with applicable laws and regulations and this procedure.  

The Director of EHS or designee is responsible for assisting other individuals and departments at the University with hazardous waste concerns by providing competent and qualified guidance as needed for compliant and safe handling of hazardous materials. 

The Emergency Response Plan link on the University webpage has additional information as well as supplemental guidelines and checklists to support the Emergency Response Plan.