"Fire Safety" is a practice of personal and public safety. The main goal is fire prevention, taking extra but necessary steps to ensure the safety of RIT faculty, staff, students, and visitors while fire prone processes, such as metal working and even cooking, are carried out.
A large part of what the Environmental Health & Safety does in the fire safety area is to regulate fire sources and to regularly inspect and maintain the emergency systems in place in the event of a fire. This consists of:
- Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC) annual inspections
- Requiring hot-work permits for open flame or high sparking applications (flame torches or welding operations)
- Quarterly Fire Alarm Tests
- Monthly Fire Extinguisher Inspections
- Proper Flammable Material Storage Inspections
On an annual basis, RIT is inspected by The New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control. The OFPC has been given the authority to inspect public and private facilities, including colleges and universities, to identify violations and non-compliances related to the New York State Fire Safety Code. They are empowered to issue certificates of compliance, notices of violations and orders to comply as part of the inspection process. OFPC may also impose fines for violations that are not corrected by established abatement dates, and in some situations, they may order a building closure where there is an imminent threat posed to the occupants.
Quarterly Fire Alarm Tests
Every building on campus; whether classrooms, dormitories, offices, or recreation; has independent fire alarm systems that tie into a control system located at Public Safety Dispatch. These systems need to be tested regularly to ensure they function properly in the event of an emergency. The EH&S department coordinates fire drills with Public Safety, so that an officer can be present on the scene to assist in safety procedures. Drills are to be treated as actual alarms with full evacuation of all occupants. Although drills are intended to be a surprise, the EH&S department schedules them with building managers and campus coordinators to avoid times where special events or activities may be taking place. Each building is required by the New York State Fire Code to have evacuation drills performed quarterly with one of the drills performed during the hours of darkness.
In an effort to maintain an environment that will not compromise the protection of life or property at RIT, the EH&S Department has developed a Hot-Works Permit Program.
Hot Work is any work using open flames or sources of heat that could ignite materials in the work area. Engineering activities, academic, research, and maintenance, often must utilize cutting, welding, brazing, heat materials, operate boilers, and conduct other hot work techniques. These procedures have the potential to create unnecessary alarms or actual fires.
A Hot-Work Permit is required for any operation involving open flames or producing heat and/or sparks and must be obtained prior to the commencement of work by the company or RIT employee performing the work. A Hot-Work Permit can be obtained at the RIT EH&S offices located in Grace Watson Hall (Building 25). An EH&S representative will assist with completing the permit and will provide a signed copy of the permit indicating the time frame for which the work is allowed.
Monthly Fire Extinguisher Inspections
RIT is required to inspect all university fire extinguishers on a monthly basis to ensure that the devices will work properly if needed, minimizing injury and property damage from fire. The extinguisher must be operable and free of dents, leaks, and other signs of damage. Pressure gauge arrows must be in the green "charged" zone, hoses must be in good condition, and the safety pin must be secured. The date and initials of the inspector must be noted monthly on an extinguisher service tag. The RIT EH&S department has developed a Quick Check inspection guidance for your assistance when inspecting fire extinguishers.
Fire Extinguisher Use and Training
Certain groups of employees who have the potential of responding to or discovering a fire while still in it's incipient stage or are required by nature or requirements of their job, must be trained in proper selection and use of portable fire extinguishers.
Training requirements fall under OSHA 1910.157 which states: "Where the employer has provided extinguishers for employee use in the workplace, the employer shall also provide an educational program to familiarize the employees with general principles of fire extinguisher use and the hazards involved with incipient stage of firefighting…The employer shall provide this training at least annually."
Fire Safety provides this training utilizing both classroom instruction and hands on use of fire extinguishers with a training simulator.
RIT Housing Fire Safety
Residential and apartment dwellers should take additional precautions to help ensure the safety of the community.