return to Section VII: Health & Safety Policies and Procedures
Use of Elevators during a Fire
No person should ever use an elevator in a fire unless so directed by Fire Department personnel. Using an elevator in a fire is extremely dangerous. The college has been informed by the Fire Department that the use of elevators in a fire has, in many cases, resulted in many unfortunate and unnecessary deaths.
The New York City Fire Department has informed Hunter College that the Fire Department has the primary responsibility to determine if elevators can be used to transport disabled persons during fire emergencies. Fire Department officials also state that they are responsible for relocating disabled persons to a safe location if such relocation is necessary. Disabled persons should wait in the designated stairwell on the floor that they are on at the time of an emergency.
The New York City Fire Department considers transporting disabled persons in an emergency a highly risky procedure. The relocation process may subject disabled persons and other persons to accidents and injuries. However, if it is necessary to relocate disabled persons during an emergency, the Fire Department will handle the relocation of disabled persons, using safe procedures and experienced Fire Department personnel.
If elevators can be used during a fire alarm
the Fire Department considers use of the elevators to be the best method of relocation because it is practical, safe and efficient. This explains the Fire Department’s position of advocating emergency assembly areas for disabled persons. (The Fire Department often refers to this type of assembly area as a refuge area.)
When there is a report of a fire alarm in the building
(note: The alarm may be a false alarm or the fire may be in a small section of the building) if disabled persons are not in any danger from the fire or its smoke, the Fire Department does not automatically recommend the relocation of disabled persons. In most cases, the Fire Department would not recommend that such persons be removed from the building. Instead, the Fire Department would recommend that such persons be moved to a safe location within the building.
Note: It is extremely important that the Hunter College community understand the procedure of the New York City Fire Department for evacuating a building that is experiencing a fire. Everyone in the building should not automatically be evacuated to the street. Nor should everyone be relocated within the building. This is the policy for ambulatory persons as well as non-ambulatory persons.
If you have any questions regarding the standards used to determine the need for evacuating the buildings, call the Director of Public Safety and Security at (212) 772-4521.
For Your Safety
The Hunter West, East, North and Thomas Hunter Buildings are equipped with Fire Emergency notification devices. It is the responsibility of everyone to become familiar with their location and their use. These Fire Emergency notification devices consist of the following:
The Fire Alarm Pull Stations are small, red boxes. They are wall mounted and located next to a fire exit. Printed on these pull stations is PULL HERE IN CASE OF FIRE.
To activate the Fire Alarm Pull Station, follow these steps:
- Pull down the RED lever on the Fire Alarm Pull Station box. This will cause the fire alarm to sound on the fire door and on the floor above. In addition, it will send a signal to the Fire Command Station. The Fire Safety Director at the Fire Command Station will carry out the fire emergency procedures. Make yourself familiar with them now, so that in an emergency you will know what to do.
- During a fire alarm, Fire Wardens, Fire Searchers and Public Safety Officers have been directed to communicate the number, the location and the status of all disabled persons via Fire Warden phones to the Fire Command Station. The Fire Safety Director will notify members of the New York City Fire Department regarding the status of all disabled persons in the building as soon as the Fire Department arrives on campus.
Note: It is extremely important that the college community understand the protocol of the New York City Fire Department for evacuation of a building that is experiencing a fire. Everyone in the building should not automatically be evacuated to the outside, or, for that matter, be relocated within the building. This is the policy for ambulatory persons as well as non-ambulatory persons
Instructions for Fire Reporting and Evacuation Procedure
A. If you see a fire, do the following:
- Call the Fire Department (911), or
- Call the Public Safety Emergency Number (Security) (212) 772-4444, or
- Pull the fire alarm.
- Then, follow the procedures below:
- Evacuate your area.
- Close, but do not lock, doors.
- Follow instructions transmitted over the public address system.
- Proceed to evacuate the building through designated exits.
- Evacuate to street if not directed otherwise over the public address system.
- Before entering any stairwell, touch the door with the palm of your hand. If it is warm or hot, do not enter the stairwell. Proceed to the next stairwell.
- When leaving the building keep your head turned to the center of the stairway.
- Walk downstairs-do not run. Do not panic. Remain calm.
- It is dangerous to use elevators during an evacuation. Only use elevators when authorized to do so by fire emergency personnel.
- When using the down escalators, make long and wide turns going from one escalator to the next escalator in order to prevent congestion.
- When you are outside the building, move away from the entrance approximately 200 feet.
- Wait for the all-clear signal before re-entering the building.
Fire Safety Plan for the Disabled
When there is a fire alarm in one of the college’s buildings disabled persons who are unable to walk down steps should assemble at one of the Disabled Persons Fire Emergency Assembly Areas (DPFEAA).
These areas are located on every floor of Hunter’s four buildings in the immediate vicinity of each building’s elevators. They are near the two stairwells closest to the elevators. The areas are identified by wall signs that identify the area as a Disabled Persons Fire Emergency Assembly Area.
During a fire alarm, fire wardens, fire searchers and security personnel have been directed to communicate the number, the location and the status of all disabled persons via Fire Warden Phones or through security personnel to Hunter College’s Fire Command Station. The public safety person at the Fire Command Station will notify members of the New York City Fire Department of the status of all disabled persons in the building as soon as the firefighters arrive on the campus.
When Public Safety Offices Will Relocate Disabled Persons if, for any reason, a disabled person is in imminent danger due to fire, smoke or similar circumstances on campus and members of the Fire Department are not present to relocate the disabled person, Public Safety Officers and other members of the College Fire Brigade will assume the responsibility of relocating that person to a safe location.
Public Safety Officers and members of the Fire Brigade operating under the direction of the Fire Safety Director will take command and make immediate arrangements to have the appropriate disabled person(s) moved to a safe location if necessary.
Note: The Public Safety Officer in charge of the evacuation process will determine the number of carriers needed to relocate a disabled person. Factors to be considered when making these assignments will be the weight of the disabled person, the weight of the wheelchair, the width of the staircase and any other factors that are deemed necessary to successfully carry out these functions without accidents.
This Fire Safety Plan for the Disabled is established to provide for the safety of the disabled members of the Hunter College community and disabled visitors to the college in the event of a fire or other life-threatening emergency. The plan will be implemented in any situation in which there may be a need to relocate disabled persons to a safe location.
The Fire Safety Plan for the Disabled identifies the New York City Fire Department as the agency having the primary responsibility for relocating any disabled person from an endangered floor to a safe location. However, if the Fire Department or other New York City emergency agency response is not exercised in a timely fashion and the situation requires immediate removal of disabled persons, Public Safety and Security Personnel will transport such individual or individuals to a safe location.
The Fire Safety Plan for the Disabled is a part of the Hunter College Fire Safety Plan. All faculty, staff and students are advised to read and be fully familiar with the entire Fire Safety Plan.
- Orientation to the Fire Safety Plan, including the relocation procedures, will be provided for disabled faculty, students and staff yearly under the auspices of the 504 Committee.
- Orientation for new disabled students will be included in the orientation program for entering freshmen.
- Instructions regarding the Fire Safety Plan and Relocation Procedures will be included in the regularly conducted fire drills.
Disabled Person Precautions
- Remain calm. Your safety and the security of others depend on the absence of panic.
- Before entering any stairwell, touch the door leading into the stairwell. If the door is warm or hot, do not open or enter the stairwell. Proceed to the next stairwell.
- If you cannot reach a stairwell near an elevator and you are in an office or classroom and have access to a phone, call Security at 772-4444. Disabled persons and persons who are trapped are the only persons who should call Public Safety during a fire emergency.
- If you are in an area with a door and cannot reach an exit near the elevators, seal the crack around the door with rags or clothing.
- Public Safety and Security has a chart indicating all the special rooms in the library designed for use by the disabled. These rooms will be checked during a fire emergency.
What Emergency Personnel Will Do
- The person who searches the floor will report your location to the fire command station. The fire command station will inform the Fire Department of your location.
- If you are in need of relocation and the Fire Department is not available to relocate you, a member of the Public Safety and Security Department will relocate you to a safe location.
- If necessary, you will be relocated to a safe floor or taken out of the building.
Locating Disabled Persons
- Public Safety maintains class schedules for disabled students and work schedules for disabled faculty and staff. These schedules will be used to assist emergency personnel to locate disabled persons in an emergency.
- Students are responsible for reporting their class schedules, their work schedules and schedule changes to the Coordinator for Disabled Student Services (Room 1100 Hunter East).
- Disabled faculty and staff are responsible for reporting their work schedules and schedule changes to the director of personnel (Room 1502A Hunter East).
Special Instructions for the handling of Disabled Persons
Person Who Is Visually Impaired
A disabled person who is visually impaired and has to be relocated, but is able to walk downstairs, will be personally escorted to a safe location by a Public Safety Officer, a Fire Warden, a Fire Searcher, or a member of the college Fire Brigade.
Person Who Has a Hearing Impairment
A person who has a hearing impairment will be alerted to a fire alarm by a Public Safety Officer, a Fire Warden, a Fire Searcher, or a member of the College Fire Brigade. Those disabled persons will be escorted to a safe location if necessary.
Special Caution on Lifting and Carrying Disabled Persons
Before lifting any disabled person, carriers will, if possible, ask the disabled person how they should be lifted. Disabled persons know better than anyone else how they should be lifted or carried in order to avoid any unnecessary injuries to the disabled person.
Hunter North-Special Instructions
- In Hunter North, go to the area near the Fire Tower. The entrance to the Fire Tower is located at the north end of the west corridor (the corridor parallel to Park Avenue).
- Do not enter the Fire Tower stairwell unless the major portion of the college community has completed its descent.
Responsibility for Implementation
The director of the Department of Public Safety is responsible for the implementation of the Fire Safety Plan.
The Fire Safety Plan for Disabled Persons will be distributed to all faculty, students and staff who have identified themselves as disabled. The Fire Safety Plan for the Disabled will be distributed with the Hunter College Fire Safety Plan.
If you have any questions regarding the various parameters used to evaluate the necessity of evacuation, please consult with the fire safety director at Ext. 4521.