NWU Fire Safety Policy / Plan

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Policy title:

NWU Fire Safety Policy / Plan

Human Resources
Public Safety/Risk Management
Risk Management
Approved by:
Ad Council
Purpose of this policy

The general fire safety policy outlines the various components of the policy to include but not limited to Emergency Response Plan, Fire Prevention Measures, Fire Safety and Code Inspections. 

The Fire Safety Policy Plan is necessary to create a campus-wide system for preventing and responding to fire hazards or fires.  It is also a means to meet the requirements of OSHA 1910.39 Fire prevention plans.  This policy intends to:

  • Reduce or eliminate the potential for fires, to protect the lives of students, faculty, staff, visitors,

and to preserve the property of Nebraska Wesleyan University. 

  • Be proactive in providing fire safety engineering controls (procedures) and inspection guidelines.
  • Create campus rules that can prevent the cause of fires. 
  • Provide instructions that all University employees, students, guests, and third parties can follow

regarding fire safety.

  • Employees or students who may require assistance during a drill or an emergency are encouraged to coordinate directly with the Coordinator of Disability Services and the Assistant Director of the Physical Plant in advance of any drills to identify, discuss and practice building specific exit strategies or safe areas. 
Policy statement

Emergency Response Plan if a fire or smoke is detected: 

  • Pull the fire alarm and call 9-1-1. 
  • Follow fire alarm and emergency evacuation procedures and plans as outlined in each building

on signage. 

  • Evacuate the building, do not return for personal items. 
  • Move 100 feet from the building and away from exits. 
  • If you feel comfortable with the size of the fire and are trained to use an extinguisher, you may   extinguish the fire.  Be sure the extinguisher is the right type for the fire.  Extinguishers rated as

Class ABC are generally the safest. 

  • Employees should coordinate with their supervisor, or the building manager, once they are out of the building to verify that all employees have exited the building safely.  Building managers and supervisors would coordinate communication to ensure employees are accounted for.
  • Students who are in class should coordinate with their faculty member to verify that all students have exited the building safely.
  • Students who are in the Residence Halls should coordinate with the responding Residential Education Coordinator (REC) to verify that all students have exited the building safely.

*In Lincoln, if a drill is performed, a Physical Plant Employee or REC, in Residence Halls, will “sweep or physically check each room” of the building for any remaining occupants.

**In Lincoln, any time the alarm is triggered for an unplanned event, no one is to enter the building to “sweep or physically check each room” for occupants. 

***In Omaha, the Site Coordinator is to “sweep or physically check each room” for occupants as they prepare to exit the floor of the FNB Building for all alarms.

Fire Prevention Measures 

  • NWU prohibits smoking or tobacco use in any campus building or campus vehicle.  This includes burning of any type of lighted pipe, cigar, cigarette, or any other vaping/smoking equipment – e.g. electronic cigarettes/Juuls, hookah pens, etc.  Authorized use of tobacco products must be at least 20 feet from any building and/or outdoor athletic facility in designated smoking areas.  See the Student Handbook for more information on the Student Smoking Policy. 
  • Cook in a safe manner with proper temperatures, always stay present in the room when cooking, have a fire extinguisher handy and know how to use it. 
  • Open fires are prohibited in campus buildings.  See the Open Fire Safety section within this policy. 
  • No Halogen lamps, hot plates, space heaters, or candles are allowed.  See the heater policy section within this policy and in the student handbook. 
  • No covering of light fixtures or lamps for decorations/effects/etc. 
  • No tampering with fire safety equipment allowed.  (Smoke Detectors, fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire suppression valves, etc.  
  • Extension cords are discouraged.  Cords must be 12 gauge and ground protected.  If long term use of an extension cord is needed permanent wiring should be installed.  Check cord often for frayed wire or damage. 
  • The use of plug strips is allowed as long as they are circuit breaker/surge protected.  Do not overload with multiple devices.  Cords must not be placed under rugs, doors, etc. or be attached to the building or furniture.  Plug strips must be used alone and not piggybacked to other plug strips. 
  • Flammable material must be stored in a proper fire proof cabinet with limited amounts of flammable material. 
  • Keep heat and ignition sources away from flammable materials, liquids and gasses. 
  • Use hot work permit program for any work that involves welding or brazing as outlined by EIIA.  
  • Charcoal, lighter fluid, Bunsen type burners, propane, combustibles, and candle warmers are prohibited in all residential facilities.  These items must be stored in an approved place on campus and in proper fire proof cabinets. 
  • Battery operated smoke alarms must be tested and batteries changed at least once a year. 

Facility Fire Safety 

  • Know where the portable fire extinguishers are located and know how to use them.  See fire extinguisher use later in this policy. 
  • Keep all fire doors closed.  The exception to this is fire doors equipped with magnetic hold opens tied to the fire panel.  Wood wedges are not allowed to prop fire doors. 
  • Keep stairways and landings free from stored materials. 
  • Keep all fire protective equipment maintained and in good working condition. 
  • Maintain and inspect exit lights, Emergency lights, and egress corridors for proper clearance. 
  • Inspect sprinkler heads to be sure there is 18 inches of clearance below the head and keep all items at least 24 inches below a ceiling. 
  • Keep all objects at least 3 feet away from electrical utility panels and fire suppression equipment.  

Fire Code Inspections

  • All electrical equipment must be United Laboratories (UL) listed and used for its listing. 
  • Inspections must be documented, and corrective actions addressed as soon as possible to keep the University’s fire risk to a minimum. 
  • NWU will go through an annual process of review and inspection to ensure compliance with fire safety codes.  

Engineering Controls / Campus Procedures

Space Heaters:

  • Dress according to your comfort level and the level of heat in your workspace or living area. 
  • Electric portable space heaters are prohibited from use on campus.  If the HVAC system is not able to achieve ASHRAE (American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers) acceptable range of 70 to 74 degrees, approval of supplemental heating will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Physical Plant Services will determine the need upon request.   
  • If the Physical Plant approves a space heater, the unit must follow the specifications below: 
  1. low temperature, liquid oil-filled and equipped with a safety shut off 
  2. UL listed
  3. 3-prong grounded plug
  4. Automatic safety shut off 
  5. 1500 watts or less 
  • All space heaters must be plugged directly into the wall outlet. 
  • Space heaters are NOT to be used with extension cords or power strips.
  • Place all space heaters on the floor, keeping all flammable materials at least 3 feet from the heater. 
  • Shut off space heaters when leaving your work area for more than 30 minutes. 
  • Unplug space heaters when leaving for the day/weekend. 
  • Upon request, the Physical Plant Services can purchase the appropriate space heaters and bill the requesting department. The cost is the responsibility of the requesting department to fund. 

Open Flames:

Open flames are prohibited on campus without special permission from Physical Plant Services.  Generally, a burn permit from the local fire department must be obtained prior to any event with a fire. 

All small fires or sources of ignition that are prohibited include, but are not limited to: Candles, Incense, Lanterns, Charcoal, Lighter Fluid, Bunsen-type burners, Propane, Smoking and Lighters.  These sources are banned from all campus buildings and University vehicles.   In addition, candle/wax warmers that use an open flame are prohibited. Electric candle/wax warmers are allowed only when an occupant is present. 

Exceptions for Open Flames: 

  • Physical Plant / Maintenance use
  • Religious services 
  • Special events (i.e. Dinners, Honorary events, memorials, etc.) with prior approval from Physical Plant Services
  • Academic use in:  Theatre technical production(s) and performances, Sciences laboratories, Art
  • General Department Use: Student Health Services
  • Grilling/Fire Pits – See section below for approved use.

Grilling/Fire Pits 

Outdoor grilling is only allowed with University provided and authorized gas grills that are located north of Plainsman Hall and between White/Heim suite complex and the Townhouse Village, the student center in the stone gathering space, or the patio on the south west corner of the football complex. Personal grills are not permitted on University property without special permission from the Physical Plant Services.  Greek chapters have individual policies related to outdoor grills. Only University owned fire pits may be used under the direction of a student life professional staff member for special events. No student/resident may own or use a fire pit on University property. 

Employee Fire Extinguisher Policy 

Fire extinguishers are a good first attempt to extinguish a small contained fire.  If used properly, a fire extinguisher can reduce damage, prevent property loss, and save lives.  Employees are not required or asked to use a fire extinguisher.  You should only use an extinguisher if you are trained and are not putting yourself or others in danger.  Fire Extinguisher training is available through coordination with Physical Plant Services.

Locations:  Fire extinguishers will usually be located near entry and exit doors, top of stairwells, or along corridors. 

Labels:   Extinguishers will be clearly marked and visible with standard fire extinguisher labels, stickers, or fire extinguisher cabinet. 

Types of Extinguisher ratings:  

Most extinguishers are rated Class ABC on Nebraska Wesleyan University property. 

Class A:  Wood, paper, cloth, etc.   

Class B:  Flammable gas, liquids, grease, gasoline.  These materials must be vaporized for

combustion to occur. 

Class C: Electrical equipment or a fire in an electrical equipment room. 

Class D:  Combustible metals, magnesium, potassium, sodium, etc. 

Inspections of Extinguishers:  Monthly inspections will be completed by NWU staff.  Annual inspections will be completed by a designated outside contractor qualified for the inspection.  This also applies for five-year inspections, and Hydrostatic testing. 

Extinguisher Use:

  • Employees are not required or asked to use a fire extinguisher. 
  • Annual training for proper use of extinguishers is available on a voluntary basis. 
  • Only employees trained to use a fire extinguisher should attempt to operate an extinguisher. 
  • Prior to using an extinguisher, an employee should analyze the situation and identify a safe means of exit. 
  • When an extinguisher is discharged, Physical Plant Services must be notified so the extinguisher can be recharged or replaced.
  • If a fire extinguisher or fire safety device is tampered with, fines may be assessed starting at a minimum of $250.00, plus clean up and damage charges.


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