Fire Safety Overview


"Fire Safety" is a practice of personal and public safety. The main goal to ensure the safety of RIT students, faculty, staff, and visitors through fire prevention, utilizing the 3 “E’s” (Engineering, Education and Enforcement. These efforts include installation, inspection, testing and maintenance of fire detection and suppression equipment, providing educational programs on fire safety topics and enforcing federal, state,local regulations and RIT policies with regard to fire safety.

This goal is accomplished through activities such as, but not limited to:

  • 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)
  • Annual Fire alarm testing
  • Periodic Inspection, testing and maintenance of Fire Suppression systems (sprinklers, gaseous systems, in accordance with Nationally accepted standards (NFPA)
  • Monthly and periodic Fire Extinguisher Inspections, testing and maintenance
  • Proper Flammable Material Storage Inspections.
  • Monthly housing safety inspections in apartments
  • Periodic safety inspections of special interest areas and residence halls.
  • Routine lab safety inspections
  • Providing education to students, faculty and staff on fire safety topics
  • Enforcing NYS, and National Fire codes to ensure compliance, which is designed to limit risk and exposure to fire hazards.
  • Exercising periodic fire drills as required by the Fire Code of NYS and the NYS Education Law.
  • Collaboration and familiarization training with the local fire department responders.

OFPC Inspections

On an annual basis, RIT is inspected by The New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC). The OFPC has been given the authority to inspect public and private facilities, including colleges and universities, to identify violations related to the Fire Code of New York State. 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.

Applicable Regulations

19 NYCRR Part 500


Getting out, or evacuation, is the most common emergency action people will need to take. Whether it be due to a fire, hazardous material release or natural gas leak, knowing how to evacuate can save your life. Immediate evacuation is required upon the sounding of the fire alarm system.

Building Evacuation Basics. R.A.C.E.

R: Rescue/Remove anyone in immediate danger

A: Activate the Fire ALARM

C: Confine/Close doors and windows as you leave the area

E: Evacuate: Using your nearest exit to the meeting area away from the building.

  • Be familiar with the exits of the building/area you are in.
  • Always evacuate when notified; don't assume it's a false alarm.
  • Leave using the nearest available exit, which may NOT be the door you entered the building through.
  • Use the stairs, not the elevator, elevators will turn off, you may get trapped.
  • Help others evacuate if they need assistance and you can do so safely.
  • Notify Public Safety of the location of anyone who may need evacuation assistance.
  • Move at least 100 ft from the building or to a predetermined meeting area.
  • Do not re-enter the building until you are told it is safe to do so.
  • If you are in need of evacuation assistance either on a temporary or permanent basis Contact; Students contact Dr. Catherine Lewis 585-475-6988, Employees contact

If you are unable to evacuate, go to a stairwell or an identified area of refuge (marked by a blue sign). Contact Public Safety (585-475-3333 or text 585-205-8333).

Evacuation Procedures and Drills

Building-specific evacuation procedures are contained in Building Emergency Action Plans (EAP) and evacuation routes are posted in all buildings.

Report any emergency by contacting RIT Public Safety at 585-475-3333 or text to 585-205-8333.

Fire Drills

NYS Education Law 403B and the 2020 FCNYS both require unannounced fire drills in every building owned/operated by RIT. These drills are conducted throughout the year under varying conditions, and times of day. The EH&S department coordinates fire drills with Public Safety, facilities management services the University’s building managers where appropriate and Dean’s offices. Drills are to be treated as actual alarms with full evacuation of all occupants.

All building occupants are expected to evacuate the building using the nearest exit upon activation of the fire alarm. Evacuations is required regardless of whether the cause is known or unknown. Occupants are expected to move at least 100 ft away from the building to allow arriving emergency responders unrestricted access for personnel and arriving emergency vehicles. Occupants may not reenter the building until the all clear is given by Public Safety or the Fire Department.

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 the requirements of their job, must be trained in proper selection and use of portable fire extinguishers.

Fire Safety provides this training utilizing both classroom instruction and hands on use of fire extinguishers with a training simulator.

If you are in need of training contact Jody Nolan or Sarah Klein.

Portable Fire Extinguisher "Quick Checks"

New York State Fire Codes require Portable Fire Extinguishers be available and be in working order at all times. In order to verify that we are in compliance we have instituted a "Quick Check" inspection process, intended to give reasonable assurance that the fire extinguisher is fully charged and operable. We have enlisted the assistance of staff members to assist us in checking the extinguishers on a monthly basis, and then initialing the inspection tag that is attached to the extinguisher. The quick checks must be done every 30 days.

The following items are the "Quick Check" items for monthly extinguisher inspections: Is the extinguisher in the proper location?

  1. Is the extinguisher accessible and visible?
  2. Is the operating tag of the extinguisher facing out?
  3. Is the tamper seal of the extinguisher intact?
  4. Does the extinguisher feel full? Use your best judgment by lifting the extinguisher
  5. Is the shell of the extinguisher in good condition?
  6. Is the stored pressure of the extinguisher within the allowable range? (Arrow not reading recharge)
  7. Is the discharge nozzle free of clogging?

Notify Environmental Health and Safety immediately at if the answer is "no" to any of the questions.

Crowd Management

Events held on campus require special consideration to ensure the safety of the attendees should an emergency occur. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and the International Fire Code (IFC) mandate that RIT accomplish this through the use of crowd managers and emergency notifications.


  1. An audible announcement is required at events attended by more than 50 people and must be made not more than 10 minutes prior to the event start.
  2. The announcement shall include:
    1. The location of emergency exits;
    2. The requirement to evacuate should the fire alarm sound; and
    3. Any specific venue instructions.


  1. Requirements:
    1. Trained crowd managers are required when attendance reaches 500.
    2. One crowd manager is needed for every 250 attendees. The following table displays the crowd manager requirements for up to 2500 people. Beyond this, one crowd manager would continue to be added for every 250 person increase in attendance.


# of attendees

Crowd managers required

# of attendees

Crowd managers required

500 2 1501-1750 7
1000 4 1751-2000 8
1001-1250 5 2001-2250 9
1251-1500 6 2251-2500 10


  1. Duties:
    1. Conduct an inspection of the area of responsibility;
    2. Identify and address any egress barriers;
    3. Identify and mitigate any fire hazards;
    4. Direct and assist in the event of an evacuation/emergency; and
    5. Assist emergency response personnel when requested.
  2. Training:
    1. Complete approved training in accordance with International Fire Code 403.12.3.2:
    2. Upon successful completion a certificate is issued that is valid for 2 years. Please forward a copy to the RIT Environmental Health and Safety Department.