11-02.01 – Residence Hall Emergency Evacuation

  1. Policy Statement:

    This policy establishes the requirements for a residence hall emergency evacuation plan and emergency evacuation procedures.

  2. Definitions:

    1. “BCFD” means Baltimore County Fire Department. 

    2. “RLC” means Towson University Residence Life Coordinator.

    3. “TUPD” means Towson University Police Department. 

  3. Responsible Executive and Office:

    Responsible Executive:
    Vice President, Administration and Finance and Chief Fiscal Officer

    Responsible Office:
    Environmental Health and Safety

  4. Entities Affected by this Policy:

    University community.

  5. Procedures:

    1. Residence Hall Evacuation Plan

      Every residence hall must have an evacuation plan. The plan must be simple, easily understood and include the following:

      1. THE ALARM MUST BE SOUNDED. Any person aware of a fire must pull the alarm. The building must be evacuated when the alarm sounds. The alarm does not summon the Fire Department. It does sound an alarm at the TU Police Station and the TU Police summon the Baltimore County Fire Department.

      2. THE FIRE DEPARTMENT MUST BE CALLED. From a safe location outside the building, dial 911. At the emergency blue-light and yellow phones located around campus, press the emergency button to be connected to the University Police who can contact 911 for you, or dial 911 on the key pad to be connected directly to the 911 Center. Give the dispatcher all of the requested information.

      3. EVACUATE. It is each resident’s responsibility to evacuate when the alarm sounds. Failure to evacuate at the sounding of the alarm violates University Housing Policies and the Maryland State Fire Code. Floor training sessions conducted by the Residence Life Staff should emphasize the location and use of the nearest exit in an emergency. Elevators are never to be used in an evacuation.

      4. ASSEMBLE. Each residence hall should have a designated outside assembly area to avoid hindering fire personnel and, if possible, to determine if anyone is missing. An inside assembly area at a nearby building provides shelter in the event of inclement weather or for a building evacuation that may last longer than 30 minutes. (See Section B. ASSEMBLY AREAS.)

      5. DO NOT FIGHT FIRES OR ATTEMPT RESCUE. Never attempt to fight a fire or re-enter the building to attempt to rescue a trapped or injured person. Firefighting and rescue should be performed by the Baltimore County Fire Department.

      6. Residents may not re-enter the building until the fire department gives authorization. 

    2. Assembly Areas

      In an emergency evacuation, residents should respond to a designated outside area. In inclement weather or an extended evacuation longer than 30 minutes and if the area on-duty staff feels it is necessary, staff will guide residents to inside assembly areas in a nearby building.

      RLCs should identify exterior assembly areas for residents of each building. This exterior assembly area should be easily identified and should be known to all building residents. It should be at least 300 feet, if possible, away from the building to allow the fire department unobstructed access.

      Housing & Residence Life has identified the following areas as interior assembly areas:

      Building Interior Assembly Area
      Richmond Hall
      Newell Hall
      Scarborough Hall Prettyman Hall
      Prettyman Hall Scarborough Hall
      Newell Hall Prettyman Hall / Scarborough Hall Richmond
      Residence Tower University Union
      Towson Run West Village Commons
      Towers A, B, C, & D University Union
      West Village 1 Tubman House
      Tubman House West Village 1
      Clara Barton House Frederick Douglass House
      Frederick Douglass House Clara Barton House
    3.  Residence Hall Emergency Evacuation Instructions

      1. THE BUILDING MUST BE EVACUATED WHEN THE ALARM SOUNDS. It is each resident’s responsibility to evacuate when the alarm sounds.

        1. Dress for the weather and put on shoes. 

        2. Use the nearest exit. If blocked by smoke or flame, use another exit. If all exits are blocked, go back to your room. Do not use the elevators. 

        3. Before opening a door, feel it with the back of your hand. If hot, do not open the door. If it isn’t hot, brace yourself against the door and open it slightly. If fire, heat or smoke is present, close the door and stay in your room.

        4. If smoke is in the room or corridor, keep low to the floor where the air is fresher. If cloth is available, hold it to your mouth and nose to filter some of the smoke.

        5. If possible, close doors behind you as you leave.

        6. Once outside, go to the exterior assembly area. In inclement weather, or if it appears that the evacuation will last more than 30 minutes, you will be guided to an indoor assembly area. 

        7. If you cannot leave the room, open windows from top and bottom, if possible, to let the heat out and fresh air in. Hang a bed sheet or piece of clothing out of the window to attract attention. Wave a flashlight at night. Dial 911 to report your location.

      2. Follow all staff and emergency personnel’s instructions.

      3. If you spot smoke or fire, pull the alarm, evacuate the building and from a safe location outside the building, dial 911. At the emergency blue-light and yellow phones located around campus, press the emergency button to be connected to the University Police who can contact 911 for you, or dial 911 on the key pad to be connected directly to the 911 Center. Give the dispatcher all of the requested information.

      4. All fires, even if extinguished, must be reported to TU Police.

      5. All fire alarms, even if suspected of being false or accidental, must be reported to 911.

    4. Disabled Resident Evacuation Policies and Procedures

      Environmental Health and Safety recommends that staff and students should assist any resident with a disability by ensuring that he/she is aware of the evacuation alarm, unless this places the employee/student in personal danger. Actions such as remaining in the building, going back onto a floor once you are in a smoke free stairwell, entering burning or smoky rooms, or passing through such areas constitutes personal danger. Once outside, employees and students are asked to notify emergency personnel of any person remaining in the building as soon as possible.

      1. The RLC is responsible for maintaining a list of all residents with disabilities. This list should note the resident’s room number and the type of disability. Each residence hall staff member and front desk should have a copy of the list to give to responding emergency personnel. Residents having temporary conditions (e.g., a sprained ankle) are to be placed on the list for the duration of the injury.

        NOTE: It is the responsibility of the person with the disability to inform the RLC so that he/she may be put on the list. The resident is the best judge of his/her own physical limitation. In the case of a temporary condition, it is the resident’s responsibility to let the RLC know when the condition is no longer present.

      2. In an emergency requiring evacuation, residents and staff should check on the evacuation of their unit’s residents with disabilities on the way out of the building. They should assist residents with disabilities only if this can be done at no personal danger to themselves.

      3. Rescue of residents with disabilities who are trapped by fire or smoke will be a priority of the BCFD. The fire department will be guided by the staff or desk lists and information from residents or staff who know or suspect that residents with disabilities could not evacuate.

      4. In the event of a false building fire alarm or other emergency in which the BCFD does not respond the TUPD or other personnel trained in emergency evacuation will provide assistance to disabled residents, if necessary. 

Related Policies:

None.

Approval Date: 06/13/2013

Effective Date: 06/13/2013

Approved By: President’s Council 06/13/2013

Signed By: President’s Council

How to Request the Policy PDF

This online version of the policy may include updated links and names of departments. To request a PDF of the original, signed version of this policy, email the Office of the General Counsel, .