Academic and Administrative Building Fire Evacuation Policy


Emergency - Call Amherst College Police 

(413) 542-2111 

(Ambulance, Fire, Police, and Hazardous Conditions)

January 2012





Fire Alaram - Evacuation Procedures

  1. Every person, including administrative, faculty, staff, students, contractors and visitors in the building where the fire alarm is sounding is required to evacuate.
  2. Persons evacuating the building should leave the building through the closest emergency exit and should not attempt to exit through the main building entrances, unless that door is the most convenient.
    • Exit doors on delayed egress, those that indicate a 15 to 30 second delay, will be overridden by the fire alarm system. The doors will automatically unlock when the fire alarm sounds.
  3. As required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), every department shall have a pre-arranged accountability system.


  1. Separate from other departments and classes.
  2. Easily discernable
  3. At lease 25' from the building in alarm to allow entrance of emergency personnel and to avoid injury from falling glass etc.
  • Academic and Administrative Buildings - Department Heads, Directors and Supervisors
  • Alumni Gymnasium and Associated Buildings - Director of Athletics and Physical Education
  • Dining Services - Director of Dining Services
  • Frost Library - Director of Libraries
  • Health Services - Medical Director
  • Facilities - Director of Facilities Management and Planning
  • Residence Halls - Area Coordinators and Residential Counselors
  • A name checklist, which is located at the department office or by an exit door.
  • Small offices and shops - personal head counts.
  • Portable radio accountability
  • Telephone call-in.
  • Department Heads, Directors and Building Custodians are most familiar with the building involved.
  • Department Heads and Directors will be able to learn cause of alarm.
  • Department Heads and Directors will be told what, if any action will be required.
  • After the alarm has been silenced, the Department Heads, Directors, and Amherst College Police will be told when it is safe to re-enter the building.
    • Re-entry of the building is not always possible, even after the alarm has been silenced.
  • The span of control for Incident Command is limited to between 5-8 persons. Additional persons will overwhelm the Incident Command System.

Department Heads and Directors, after issues of accountability have been addressed, are strongly encouraged to meet the Fire Department Incident Commander, Amherst College Police and Building Custodian and Custodial Supervisor at the front door of the building.

Department Heads and Directors are asked to meet with Amherst College Police and Town Fire Department, at the front entrance to the building.


  • Elevators in most buildings are pre-set (as required) to return automatically to the bottom floor.
  • Elevators, if the buttons are heat sensitive, could be called to the fire floor. When the doors open, it may expose you to the fire.
  • Elevators act like chimneys. Smoke on any floor can be drawn up through the elevator exposing persons to extremely high levels of all fire gases including Carbon Monoxide, Hydrogen Cyanide, etc.
  • Elevators can not be used by any person as means of Emergency Evacuation

Fire – Reporting

  1. Close the door to the room where the fire is. This will confine the fire to a smaller area.
  2. Activate the closest fire alarm system.Pull stations are usually located next to an exit or stairwell.
    Evacuation Plan
  3. Telephone 2111 to report the location of the fire. You or someone you designate must make the telephone call from a safe location as quickly as possible. Once you have given the dispatcher the information, wait until the dispatcher hangs up before you hang up because the dispatcher may need more information. The Amherst Fire Department, through the Amherst College Police, will know from you call that this is an active fire and not "burned food" or a malicious false alarm.
  4. Extinguish or Evacuate
    • If the fire is small and you have been trained to use the fire extinguisher, you may attempt to extinguish it.
    • If you have not been trained to use the fire extinguisher or the fire is too large to handle EVACUATE the building.
  5. Do not re-enter the building, until:
    • The fire alarm has been silenced, and
    • The fire or police department has indicated that it is acceptable to re-enter
  • require complete evacuation of the building during a fire alarm
  • adopt an employee accountability system,
  • identify person(s) responsible to meet with and assist the Amherst Fire Department and the Amherst College Police at the front entrance, during a fire alarm or fire emergency.
  • oversee and, when necessary make the appropriate changes to this policy and procedure to insure the safety and well being of the building occupants, and
  • when appropriate, facilitate a fire drill in accordance with the requirements of the local, state and federal regulatory agencies.

Emergency Evacuation for the Disabled

  1. The evacuation of the building during a fire alarm is required, regardless of cause. In accordance with regulatory requirements and Amherst College Policies and Procedures, everyone shall evacuate a building in which a fire alarm is sounding. Fire alarms include, but are not limited to accidental alarm, false alarm or conditions caused by fire and/or smoke.

    Exception: Persons with disabilities as outlined in the definition section may not be required to evacuate if they are:

    1. Mobility impaired
      • Located above or below the level of building exit
      • Located in a building that does not have
      • "Area of Refuge" or
        • Horizontal evacuation to another building
    2. Visually impaired
      • Located above or below the level of building exit
      • Located in a building that does not have
      • "Area of Refuge" or
        • Horizontal evacuation to another building

For additional information, or to acquire Amherst College Environmental, Health and Safety Policies and Procedures go to or contact the Amherst College Police at 542-2291 or Environmental Health and Safety at 542-8189.