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The Higher Education Opportunity Act was signed into law by President Bush on the 14th of August 2008.  This legislation contains several important campus safety components, including the core provisions of the original Campus Fire Safety Right-To-Know Act.  Blending the vital provisions of it into the larger Higher Education Act allowed this important legislation to make its way to the White House and ultimately to become law.

This new law requires colleges to report fire safety information to the U.S. department of Education.

The law requires specific reporting details:

  • the number of fires and cause of each;
  • the number of injuries and deaths related to a fire;
  • the value of property damage caused by the fire;
  • description of the fire protection equipment in each on-campus housing unit;
  • the number of regular mandatory supervised fire evacuation drills; polices or rules regarding fire safety education and training programs provided to students, faculty and staff.

Whenever there is a fire inside, or on the property outside, any University building or structure the incident must be reported to Tufts Campus Police at x66911, even if the fire is small or seemingly insignificant. This is because fire can find its way into hidden openings. Left undetected, the fire will burn for a considerable time, allowing fire, smoke and toxic gases to spread through walls, ceilings and void spaces. As a result, what first appeared to be a small fire has now begun to spread within hidden interior spaces. Therefore, never assume that a fire is out. Only the professional fire fighters can determine whether a fire has been properly extinguished.

If you discover a fire – CALL 911 immediately. If you are in a building and discover smoke or fire within the building, ACTIVATE the building fire alarm system by pulling a manual fire alarm station to warn the occupants.  The fire alarm manual pull stations are located near exit doors on each floor. Activation of the fire alarm will also initiate the response of the Tufts Police and the local fire department.

Only attempt to use a fire extinguisher if  the fire if it is very small, not more than 2 feet high.  Keep your escape route behind you. Once you expend the fire extinguisher, immediately exit the room and close the door as you exit. Proceed outdoors and await emergency first responders to inform them of the location and type of incident.

If you decide not to fight the fire, try to close the door to the fire area if it is safe to do so. This will help to prevent heat, smoke and toxic gases from entering the egress corridors. Then evacuate the building via the closest exit. Once outside, move away from the building. Do not go back into the building.