Fire Safety Basics


We want to ensure you are ready in case of emergency. In addition to participating in our regular fire drills, we encourage you to review these crucial safety guides. You may also download our fire safety video.

R.A.C.E. and P.A.S.S.

With a good understanding of the R.A.C.E. and P.A.S.S. procedures and knowledge of your building, you will be ready for fire alarms and emergencies. These fire safety basics are taught during new hire orientation and reviewed periodically during building fire drills:

In Case of Fire: R.A.C.E.


  • Within the bounds of your personal safety, remove anyone in immediate danger


  • Activate the nearest fire alarm pull station. The pull stations are located by the staircase or the EXIT.


  • Confine the fire by closing all doors and, if possible, windows to contain it at its point of origin.


  • Minor fires within the bounds of your personal safety are easily extinguished with the appropriate fire extinguisher.
  • If the fire has grown too big:
    1. Confine it.
    2. Activate the fire alarm.
    3. Evacuate.

Use a Fire Extinguisher: P.A.S.S.

  • Pull pin
    • Pull the pin on the handle of the fire extinguisher. This pin prevents the inadvertent activation of the discharge lever. The extinguisher will not work unless you pull the pin.
  • Aim hose
    • Aim the hose at the base or leading edge of the fire. Keep your EXIT at your back so you can back out if necessary.
  • Squeeze handle
    • Squeeze the levers together. The lower lever is the carrying handle. The top lever is the discharge lever.
  • Sweep from side to side
    • Sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base or leading edge of the fire.

Watch the P.A.S.S. Safety video.

Fire Drills

New York State Education Law and the New York City Fire Code require that fire drills be conducted in all campus buildings to familiarize occupants with response procedures in an emergency.


When do I evacuate?

Anyone who lives or works in a high-rise building should understand when it is time to evacuate as part of your R.A.C.E./P.A.S.S. procedures.

Evacuate your floor when a large fire beyond the capability of a fire extinguisher is discovered, or when it is determined that the floor you occupy is the reported fire floor or floor above. Evacuation is primarily via your closest exit but you should know all your exits in case an alternative route is needed. If possible, you should evacuate via a stairwell that is distant from the fire location.

Fire Response Teams (FRT) respond to all fire alarms and will make announcements if the building has a PA system. If your building does not have a PA system or if a fire alarm announcement is not forthcoming, the decision to evacuate must be based on conditions encountered.

If in doubt, evacuate and call Public Safety at 212-305-7979 from a safe location.

For CUIMC dormitory residences: The entire building must evacuate during a fire alarm.‚Äč

What is your evacuation plan?

If the fire alarm or some other emergency required a building evacuation, what would you do? The time to develop an evacuation plan is now, before an event happens.

A good evacuation plan will have the following:

  1. Location of the closest emergency exit
  2. Location of alternative exits
  3. Designated meeting locations (primary and secondary)
    • Permanent, specific, and identifiable location that faculty, staff, and students in your work area are familiar with, such as a building, statue, or other landmark.
    • Remote from the evacuated building. Proximity to building might not be safe and access to front of building should be kept clear for emergency responders.
    • Identifying a secondary location might be prudent. Extreme weather may warrant an indoor location and the magnitude of the emergency (major gas leak, terrorism, etc.) may warrant a location further away.
  4. A physical headcount
    Do not rely on electronic communication. In the past, at major events, electronic communication has been compromised either by the event itself or by the authorities for safety reasons. If you need to leave after meeting at your pre-determined location, inform more than one person from your office or work area.

Fires and emergencies can happen. For the safety of your group, prepare a good evacuation plan including an agreed upon meeting location.

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