Fire and Earthquake Safety

Fire Safety
What to do if there is a fire
  • If you discover a fire, pull the alarm and call 911 (or 642.3333 from a mobile phone) to confirm the Fire Department alert.
    • Be sure to pull both the tamper cover alarm and the fire alarm lever.
    • Some fire alarm stations are protected with tamper covers. Pulling the tamper cover to gain access to the fire alarm will activate the tamper alarm. This is a local alarm only and will not report the alarm condition to anyone. You must proceed to pull the lever on the fire alarm. By doing so, the building alarm will sound, enabling the entire facility to be evacuated and will alert UCPD and the Berkeley Fire Department of the activated alarm.
  • Use an extinguisher with caution and always stay between the fire and the exit.
  • If the fire becomes too large, close your door and leave the building at once. Be sure to wear shoes to avoid cutting your feet during the evacuation.
  • Take your keys with you.
  • Be familiar with evacuation exits. Evacuate the building immediately. Walk, do not run.
  • Do not use the elevator. Use the stairs.
  • When smoke or heat is encountered, keep low or crawl to avoid inhaling toxic fumes.
  • When the fire alarm sounds, feel your room door to see if it is hot before opening it.
  • If the door feels hot or smoke prevents exit, keep your door closed and open a window until rescued.
  • Do not reenter the building until authorized by the Fire Department.

Tampering with fire safety equipment or refusing to evacuate during an alarm are serious violations of state law and will result in disciplinary action and possible criminal prosecution.

Fire Prevention

Fire prevention is of critical importance in a large community environment because so many lives are endangered by accidents or careless actions.

The following list is an outline of fire safety expectations to keep you and your community safe.

  • Decorations, including decorative fabric wall hangings, must be treated with fire retardant.
  • Please have this chemical applied before you decorate. Usually, this retardant will not damage the appearance of your hangings.
  • Posters or any other materials may not be fastened to the ceiling, and should not cover more than one-third of your wall space.
  • To retard fire, wall hangings should be fastened flat against the wall with no air pockets.
  • The State Fire Marshal has mandated that posting anything on corridor walls or room doors is prohibited.
  • Open coil, grease burning, or high heat appliances are not permitted in the residential facilities. This includes hot plates, space heaters, popcorn poppers, and rice makers. Coffee pots which are UL approved are permitted.
  • Too many electrical appliances plugged into one circuit will overload that circuit and blow a fuse, causing power failure. Should this occur, contact a residential staff or facilities staff member. 
    • Don’t overload outlets.
    • Don’t plug extension cords into each other.
  • Candles are not permitted because of the increased fire danger resulting from open flames.
  • Incense burning is not permitted.
  • Halogen lamps are not permitted. These lights produce extremely high temperatures.
  • Paper lamp shades are not permitted.
  • Non-metal or perforated wastebaskets should not be used in your room, as they are also fire hazards. Use only the fire retardant wastebaskets that have been provided.
  • Barbecues are not allowed to be used in rooms or on balconies.
Earthquake Safety
What Happens During an Earthquake
  • A severe earthquake in the Bay Area will produce strong shaking that will typically last anywhere from five to sixty seconds.
  • Be prepared for after-shocks, which could be as serious as the initial earthquake.
  • The actual movement of the ground in an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death. Most casualties result from falling objects.
  • Do not enter the buildings until they have been structurally evaluated.
  • If indoors, seek shelter under a table, desk, or bed. If outdoors, stay away from buildings and glass. Distance yourself from any objects that can fall.
  • Do not use elevators. Use the stairs.
How to Prepare for an Earthquake
  • Locate beds, desks, and tables away from windows. Bunk beds are not permitted next to windows.
  • Place mirrors and pictures where falling will cause minimal damage.
  • Do not hang stereo speakers, plants, etc., from the ceiling.
  • Heavy objects (refrigerators, TVs, stereos, etc.) should be as close to the floor as possible.
  • Loose objects (e.g., books) should be secured.
  • Keep spaces under tables, desks, counters, etc., clear so you can seek shelter in an earthquake.
  • Prepare an emergency kit that includes food, water, prescriptions and other necessities that will help you be self-sustainable for 72 hours.
  • Be familiar with evacuation exits.
After an Earthquake
  • Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured people unless they are in danger of further injury. If you know first aid, use it.
  • Do not use matches, candles, or open flames, as there may be gas leaks.
  • Do not operate electrical switches or appliances.
  • Do not touch downed power lines.
  • Turn on your radio to KNBR (680 on the AM band) for damage reports, information, and emergency directions.
  • Do not use your telephone except for emergency calls.
  • When checking closets and cupboards, open doors cautiously and watch for objects falling from shelves.
  • When leaving the building bring your emergency pack with you to the designated Emergency Assembly Area for your Unit. To find the EAA check with your RA or designated signs in your unit.