Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to leave the building when the fire alarm sounds?
It is University Policy (Policy 1.4 - Policy on Emergency Response and Preparedness) that upon the activation of a Fire Alarm in any building, all occupants must immediately leave the building, via their closest exit, but elevators must not be used.
Can the corridor be used for temporary storage?
It is University Policy (Policy 1.32 Building Corridor Policy) that no means of egress may be obstructed, blocked or reduced by any object, article or equipment not included in the original design of the building. The Ontario Fire Code also requires that all means of egress not be blocked or obstructed in any way.
Should you require to temporarily store an item in the hallway, approval must be received by Western Fire Safety and Emergency Management.
My door has an automatic closer on it and I have always propped it open. Why should I keep it closed?
Automatic closers on doors are intended to provide protection against the spread of fire and smoke throughout a building. Doors, while not an airtight seal, provide significant protection from the hazardous gases, smoke and high heat which are the products of combustion. Should a fire break out in your area, the door provides blockage of these hazards and can significantly reduce the amount of damage to your personal items and the rest of the building. Propping doors opens voids their intended fire-stopping ability. The Fire Code contains legislation regarding Fire Doors, Fire Separtations and other smoke and flame control measures.
How do I know if the fire alarm is a test?
There is no way to determine the difference between a test and an actual alarm. For this reason you should always assume an alarm is the real thing. When the alarm sounds you should always evacuate promptly and safely through the closest exit. Once outside the building you should contact your Building Emergency Team Members or Emergency Responders (Campus Community Police or Fire Safety and Emergency Management Staff) for further instructions.
***If the annual verification and testing of the Fire Alarm bells is being conducted the building affected will have signage posted at least 24 hours in advance.
What is the difference between a smoke alarm, smoke detector and heat detector?
Smoke Alarm - A smoke alarm is a Fire Protection and Life Safety device which, when smoke is present, delivers a local audible warning to alert occupants of a potential fire or smoke in the area.
Smoke Detector - A smoke detector works similarly to a smoke alarm but instead of sounding locally, the device sends a signal to the main Fire Alarm Control Panel that it has detected smoke in the area. When the Main Fire Alarm Control Panel receives this signal it sends out a general evacuation alert so the building occupants can safely evacuate.
Heat Detector - Heat detectors are divided into two groups; rate-of-rise and fixed temperature. Rate-of-rise heat detectors work such that, when the temperature in the room rises a predetermined number of degrees and time, the device sends a signal to the monitoring station because fire is present. Fixed temperature devices work so that, when the air temperature in a room rises to a predetermined temperature, it sends a signal to the Main Fire Alarm Control Panel and intiates the evacuation tones so all occupants can evacuate the building in a safe manner.
Can I use the fire hose in the cabinets or a fire extinguisher to put out a fire?
Fire creates extremely dangerous conditions that can quickly change a safe environment into an extremely hazardous one. For this reason Western's Fire Safety and Emergency Management Staff do not encourage occupants to extinguish a fire by using a fire hose. On the discovery of fire, we encourage the prompt and efficient evacuation of the building.
Anyone who has received Fire Extinguisher training from Western Fire Safety and Emergency Management, and is confident they can put the fire out, may utilize a Fire Extinguisher to attempt suppression of the fire. This practice is only recommeded for those people who are trained and are not in the presence of any immediate hazards
The Fire Hose in the cabinets are recommended for the use of Professional Firefighters only. The water supply for these hoses is supplemented by a Fire Truck when it arrives on scene through an internal piping system in the building. It is not recommeded that anyone utilize the Fire Hose in the Fire Hose cabinets for suppression efforts. Again, if the alarm is sounding evacuate the building promptly and safely through the closest exit.
What is the penalty for falsely activating the fire alarm system?
Activating a false alarm is a serious offence. Not only does it tie-up resources but it puts everyone in a dangerous situation while Fire Trucks race to the scene and people evacuate the building. The penalty for falsely activating the Fire Alarm System is a Criminal Offence punishable by the Criminal Code of Canada. Fines and a possible Jail Sentence as well as restitution for all other events that occur as a result of the incident are all possible punishments as a result of these actions.
If you have any other questions or require any type of assitance relating to Fire Safety and Emergency Management please contact us.