Fire Alarm Procedures

Quick Reference Card Cover Evacuation

Everyone should be familiar with the fire alarm sounds and procedures for the buildings at each campus they may be required to attend.

Special consideration is required for evacuating individuals with a disability since they may require some direction or assistance in the event of an emergency. Refer to the "Evacuating Persons with Disabilities (opens new window)" section for more information).

  • Students with a disability should contact Accessible Learning Services (opens new window) to have an individual evacuation plan developed.
  • Employees should self-identify to their manager if they have a disability and require assistance for emergency situations so that an Individual Emergency Response Plan can be developed as per the Accessibility for Ontarians Disability Act.

Familiarize yourself with the following information for your own safety:

Fennell and Stoney Creek Campus - Two Stage Fire Alarm System

The Fennell and Stoney Creek campuses operate with two-stage fire alarm systems. Please review this information to familiarize yourself with this type of system and the two different alarm signals you may hear, so you know how to respond in the event of an alarm.

Two-stage alarm systems have two different “stages” or alarm sounds and so evacuation is not necessarily automatically required when you hear the alarm. Two-stage alarm systems are designed to allow building occupants to remain inside the building, but to stand by and be prepared to evacuate during the First Stage, and to evacuate the building when a fire emergency exists (Second Stage). One advantage of two-stage fire alarm systems is the avoidance of unnecessary evacuations when it has been verified to be a false alarm. Examples of buildings that operate with two-stage alarm systems typically have complex occupancies, such as nursing homes and hospitals, or they are large buildings such as office towers, office blocks, apartments and college or university buildings.

How the Two-Stage Fire Alarm System Operate

Upon initial activation of the fire alarm system (e.g. fire pull station, heat detector, smoke detector) the first-stage (Alert) alarm sounds. Simultaneously, an alarm signal is always sent to the fire department, and they will automatically be dispatched to the building. The “Alert” alarm signals to everyone that the fire alarm system has been activated and to be prepared to evacuate because the second stage alarm (evacuation) could be activated. The fire alarm system is enhanced with pre-recorded messaging to complement the alarm stages, and voice communication capability for additional instructions by Security if necessary.

During the initial, first-stage alert signal period, Security will have a limited amount of time (2 minutes at Stoney Creek, 5 minutes at Fennell) to investigate the cause of the alarm to determine and verify (acknowledge) a fire emergency does not exist and that evacuation is not necessary (e.g. false alarm, malfunctioning detection device).

If Security does not “acknowledge” a false alarm within the set time of the initial activation, or if their investigation confirms there is an emergency, the second-stage alarm will be activated and evacuation of the entire building (all wings) will be required.

  • First Stage - Alert Signal
    (slow, intermittent beeps) - Click to listen to the Alert Signal
    Upon activation of the fire alarm system (i.e. manual pull station or automatic fire detector), the audible fire alarm devices will sound slow beeps, at a rate of approximately 20 beeps per minute. An automatic pre-recorded voice message will also be played to inform occupants the fire alarm system has been activated and to stand by for further instructions
  • Second Stage - Fire Alarm Signal
    (3 fast beeps followed by a pause) - Click to listen to the Alarm Signal
    Upon activation of the second-stage alarm, the audible fire alarm devices will sound a temporal pattern alarm that cycles three fast beeps followed by a pause. An automatic pre-recorded voice message will also be played to inform occupants the fire alarm system has been activated and to evacuate the building. Note: The second stage alarm signal can be activated by: (i) Security not “acknowledging” the first stage alarm within the set time limit. (ii) key switch operation of a fire pull station or (iii) pressing the alarm button at a fire alarm panel.

Fire Alarm Procedures

Upon Discovery of Fire

  • Leave the fire area immediately and close doors behind you
  • Pull the nearest fire alarm
  • Evacuate the building via the nearest safe exit
  • Call Security or call 911 from a safe location

 

Upon Activation of the Alert Signal

First Stage - Alert Signal (slow, intermittent beeps)

  • There is a possible emergency in the building
  • Stand by and prepare to leave the building
  • Listen for announcements and instructions

 

Second Stage - Fire Alarm Signal (3 fast beeps, followed by a pause)

  • There is an emergency in the building
  • Evacuate the building via the nearest safe exit
  • Close doors behind you

IAHS: Single-Stage Alarm System

Upon Hearing An Alarm

  • Immediately leave the building by the designated exit. If the primary exit is dangerous, use the nearest safe alternate exit.
  • Proceed to an assembly area at least 100 ft. (300 meters) away from the exit
  • Keep entrance ways, access ways, and roadways clear
  • Await additional instructions from McMaster Security

 

If You Encounter Smoke

  • Crouch low to the floor and take shallow breaths
  • If possible, place a moist cloth over your mouth and nose
  • Proceed to the nearest safe exit

 

If You Discover a Fire

  • Close any doors leading to the fire area
  • Pull the nearest fire alarm
  • Proceed to an assembly area away from the building

 

If You Are Trapped By a Fire

  • Let someone know where you are. If phones are functional call McMaster Security by dialling Ext. 88from campus phones, 905-522-4135 from external lines, or use the MUSST App to directly contact McMaster Security Services
  • Tell the dispatcher your exact location
  • If possible, close any doors and use anything you can find to seal cracks (towels, clothing, etc.) to protect yourself from smoke and fire.

Important Notes

  1. Do not use elevators as you could be trapped if the power fails or is switched off.
  2. Use an alternate route if you encounter smoke or fire.
  3. If a person with a disability cannot be evacuated from the building, assist them to a fire rated room such as an office or classroom that is away from smoke or fire, as close as possible to an exit. Preference should be given to rooms with two exits and a telephone. Notify Security and/or the Fire Department of their specific location.
  4. Take up a position away from the building so as not to interfere with emergency personnel.
  5. Remain outside the building until an "All Clear" has been given by the Fire Department, Security, designated staff and/or Fire Wardens.
  6. Fire extinguishers are located throughout the buildings. These are portable extinguishers designed for small confined fires and should only be used by trained persons. The Fire Department must be called (911) before using a fire extinguisher.
  7. All students, faculty and staff should familiarize themselves with the locations of the fire alarm stations, fire extinguishers and building exits in order to avoid confusion in the event of an emergency.
  8. Never put yourself in danger!

Extended Evacuations

In the event of an extended evacuation you will be directed by Security, staff and/or Fire Wardens to a sheltered location. If instructed, please move quickly and calmly to the designated assembly point.

Returning To Facilities

Remain outside or in the sheltered area until an All Clear has been given by emergency officials, Security, designated staff and/or Fire Wardens.

Safety-Security Checklist for Faculty

Safety Security Checklist for Faculty cover