UM Fire Safety Policy

The Higher Education Opportunity Act enacted on August 14, 2008, requires institutions that maintain on-campus student housing facilities to publish an annual fire safety report that contains information about campus fire safety practices and standards of the institution. The following report details all information required by this act for the University of Montana.

The Residence Life Office on the Mountain Campus is responsible for the overall management and administration of nine residence halls on campus as well as University Villages and Lewis & Clark Village, which are apartment complexes. Although some Missoula College students live in University housing on the Mountain Campus, there are no on-campus housing facilities at Missoula College or at Bitterroot College.

A. Definitions

On-Campus Student Housing:  A student housing facility that is owned or controlled by the institution, or is located on property that is owned or controlled by the institution, and is within a reasonable contiguous area that makes up the campus.

Fire:  Any instance of open flame or other burning in a place not intended to contain the burning or in an uncontrolled manner

Back to Top

B. On-campus Fire Drills and Evacuation Policy

Building fires are one of the most common emergency scenarios for all universities. Individual or multiple buildings can be affected and can cause a loss of life if a campus is not well-prepared in evacuation procedures. Fires may be more likely in buildings that contain flammable liquids, oxidizers and large amounts of combustible material. Life safety inspections are performed on an annual basis at a minimum for all UM buildings to ensure means of egress, firefighting systems, exit lights and emergency lighting units, fire doors and proper material storage are maintained to reduce the possibility of loss of life during a fire emergency.

General Guidelines:

If a fire or smoke is observed, the individual making the observation should call 911 and pull the nearest fire alarm if applicable. Notify UMPD at ext. 4000. The building will then be evacuated and occupants will be directed to the established evacuation point.

Shut doors to assure containment, if possible. Immediately leave the building by means of the nearest available exit, alerting others to do the same. Individuals with disabilities may require guidance, communications or assistance to areas of rescue assistance.

Before opening a door, see if it is hot by placing the back of your hand against it. If it is hot remain in the room. If you are on a ground floor, carefully exit through a window, if possible. If on an upper floor, call 911 and give the operator your location. Block entrance of smoke and heat. Open window. Do not exit onto ledges. REMAIN CALM. Fire fighters will get to you as soon as possible. If the door is cool, open slightly and check for smoke in corridor. If smoke-free proceed to nearest available exit (exterior door or stairwell). Stay low, near the floor, to avoid smoke and heat. Close doors on your way out. If corridor is too smoky to reach stairway or exit, remain in room and follow the previous instructions.

General Procedures:

  • After receiving the alarm, UMPD will respond to the reported fire location to provide assistance to the arriving emergency vehicles.
  • Departmental Emergency Plan Coordinators will activate their building emergency action plan.
  • Emergency Management Team personnel will sweep their area of responsibility and direct individuals to the designated evacuation assembly area.
  • Follow the established guidelines for evacuation of people with disabilities.
  • Conduct critical shutdown operations where applicable for the affected building(s) if health and safety is not jeopardized.
  • UMPD will provide access control and traffic control in the affected areas and assist in evacuation activities.
  • In case of a Residence Hall fire, students in residence halls may be relocated by Residence Life to a designated shelter area.
  • Fire officials will determine if the building is safe to re-enter.

Smoking & Tobacco Use

In accordance with UM’s tobacco free campus policy, called Tobacco Free UM, students, employees and the public may not smoke or use tobacco products outside on campus property.  Additionally, all campus buildings are designated “No Smoking” in all areas, including residence halls and the rooms in which students reside. Smoking of any kind (including hookahs, e-cigarettes, and vape/vapor/vaporizer pens) and the use of all tobacco products (including chew, snuff, etc.) are not allowed in any campus buildings or residence halls.

More information about Tobacco Free UM is available at http://www.umt.edu/tobaccofreeum.

Back to Top

C. On-Campus Residence Hall Fire Safety Policies

(http://www.umt.edu/residencelife/rh/policies/default.php)

General Safety:

In case of a fire, call 911.  Fires are potentially a serious problem in all shared living space communities due to the high concentration of individuals living in each building.  Please use caution and common sense to avoid a disaster.

Prevention can save your life and the life of others.  Explore your community and familiarize yourself with all exits.  Keep exits and access areas clear of all debris and storage.  Residence Hall staff will conduct fire drills twice annually in order for all residents to evaluate proper evacuation routes in case of a fire emergency.  

Candles & Incense:

Candles and incense have been found to be a severe fire hazard and their use is prohibited in the residence halls.  Wickless candles are an acceptable alternative and provide fragrance without the flame.

Cooking:

Cooking appliances are not allowed in the residence halls except for coffee pots, microwaves, and popcorn poppers.  In residence hall kitchens, baking is allowed, but cooking meals that contain meat or cooking with oils is prohibited.  Appliances such as toasters, toaster ovens, hot plates, appliances with open elements, and George Foreman-type grills are not allowed.

Decorations:

All natural trees and branches to be used as ornamentation in residence halls or rooms must first be fireproofed and all decorations must be nonflammable.  Residents may not hang items from the ceiling or from sprinkler heads, or create holes in the walls.

Flammable Liquids:

Gasoline, kerosene, alcohol, cleaning fluids, etc., constitute a serious danger and are prohibited in residence halls, as are vehicles containing such fluids.

Halogen Lamps and Lights:

The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning about the dangers of halogen lamps and the excessive operating temperatures of 970 to 1200 degrees F that they produce.  Curtains, clothing, paper items, etc., burn quickly when they come into contact with 300W or 500W bulbs. Therefore, light bulbs greater than 150W, either incandescent or halogen, are not allowed.

Hoverboards, Swagways, IO Hawks, and Skywalkers

The use, possession, or storage of Hoverboards, Swagways, IO Hawks, Skywalkers, and similar devices is prohibited until safety standards for them can be developed and implemented.  Recent information has revealed that the batteries in these devices are dangerous and prone to explosion, creating safety and fire risks.  Until safety standards for these devices are improved, Residence Life has prohibited them from being in any of our residence halls or apartments.  

Back to Top

D. Description of On-Campus Student Housing Fire Safety Systems

Campus Student Housing Fire Safety Systems

Residence Halls
Facility *
Fire Alarm Monitoring On Site
(By UMPD)
Full Sprinkler System **
Smoke Detection
Fire Extinguisher Devices
Evacuation Plans & Placards
Number of Evacuation (Fire) Drills Each Calendar Year

Craig Hall

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

2

Elrod Hall

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

2

Knowles Hall

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

2

Pantzer Hall

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

2

Aber Hall

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

2

Duniway Hall

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

2

Jesse Hall

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

2

Miller Hall

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

2

Turner Hall

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

2


Lewis & Clark Apartments
Facility *
Fire Alarm Monitoring On Site
(By UMPD)
Full Sprinkler System **
Smoke Detection
Fire Extinguisher Devices
Evacuation Plans & Placards
Number of Evacuation (Fire) Drills Each Calendar Year

Lewis & Clark Apartments

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

0


University Villages
Facility *
Fire Alarm Monitoring On Site
(By UMPD)
Full Sprinkler System **
Smoke Detection
Fire Extinguisher Devices
Evacuation Plans & Placards
Number of Evacuation (Fire) Drills Each Calendar Year

University Villages

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

0

* Residence halls at the University of Montana do not have physical addresses.  Resident mail is addressed to the building name, and emergency responders are directed to the building name.

** “Full Sprinkler System” is defined as having sprinklers in both the common areas and individual sleeping rooms.

In addition to the safety equipment listed in the table above, all UM residence hall floor and wing doors are connected to the fire alarm system.  When the fire alarm is activated, the doors shut to help control the potential spread of fire and smoke.  Passenger elevators are also connected to the fire system so they do not operate when the alarm is activated.

Back to Top

E. On-Campus Residence Hall Fire Drills and Evacuation Policy

Fire drills are planned, supervised, and evaluated annually for the residence halls.  During floor meetings that are held the first week of each new semester, Resident Assistants explain fire safety policies and evacuation procedures to students living on the floor.  Evacuation maps are posted on every floor to inform students and guests of the locations of the nearest exits.  Fire drills are held in each residential building, once per semester to provide an opportunity for the residents and employees to practice an evacuation.

If a resident student, employee, or guest of the residence halls discovers a fire and the general fire alarm has not activated, activate the nearest pull station by lifting the plastic cover (a pre-alarm will sound) and pulling the handle down.  When the general fire alarm for the residence hall sounds, everyone must evacuate the building immediately via the closest emergency exit.  Residents must proceed in an orderly fashion by walking quickly to the nearest emergency egress routes and exit the building.  Elevators cannot be used as emergency egress routes. 

Students with disabilities who cannot leave the building via emergency egress routes should go to the nearest safe area of rescue and activate the area of rescue signal.  Emergency personnel will come to this area and assist with the evacuation. 

Once outside, people must move at least 25 feet from the building to allow room for emergency vehicles and personnel to work.  During inclement weather, students will be moved inside to other buildings during an emergency.  Do not re-enter the building until instructed to do so by a Residence Life staff member or on-scene emergency personnel. 

Back to Top

F. Fire Safety Education and Training Programs for Students and Employees

All UM Residence Life staff members attend a fire safety equipment walk-through with a departmental electrician and/or the Associate Director of Residence Life for Facilities.  The building walk-throughs educate staff members on the functionality of the sprinkler systems and fire alarm display panels. 

During floor meetings that are held the first week of each new semester, Resident Assistants explain fire safety policies and evacuation procedures to students living on the floor.  Evacuation maps are posted on every floor to inform students and guests of where the nearest exits are located.  Fire drills are held in each residential building, once per semester, to provide an opportunity for the residents and employees to practice an evacuation.

Back to Top

G. Fire Incident Reporting

If you discover smoke or fire, or hear the fire alarm, do the following:

  • Call UMPD at (406) 243-4000

  • Pull the fire alarm if it is not already sounding

  • Notify other people

  • Immediately leave the building by the nearest available exit

  • Before opening a door, see if it is hot by placing the palm of your hand against it.  If the door is hot, remain in the room.  If the door is cool, open the door slightly and check the corridor for smoke.  If the corridor is free of smoke, proceed to the nearest exit (exterior door or stairwell).  Stay low, near the floor, and close doors behind you.  If the corridor is too smoky, remain in the room. 

If you are on a ground floor, try exiting out a window.  If you are on an upper floor, call 911 and let the operator know your location.  Try blocking the entrance from smoke and heat.  Do not exit onto ledges.  Remain calm; emergency responders will assist you as quickly as possible.

Back to Top

H. Plans for Future Improvements in Fire Safety

The Residence Life Office is upgrading fire panels in all residence halls to provide specific information to emergency personnel on where a fire is originating.  These panels are also maintained and upgraded to meet fire code regulations.  The fire panel in Miller Hall was upgraded during the summer of 2015.

Residence Life completed an entire upgrade of the fire system in Aber Hall during the summer of 2016.  Fire panels in Turner Hall, Knowles Hall, and Lewis & Clark Village were also replaced during the summer of 2016.  Additional fire panels will be upgraded in the future as finances are available.

Residence Life has experienced several incidents of students hanging clothing items from sprinkler heads and inadvertently causing the sprinkler to activate.  Residence Life staff are currently working to add labels to sprinkler heads in the residence halls to inform students that they are not to hang items from the sprinklers.

Residence Life staff conduct an annual check of the fire extinguishers located on the individual floors of the residence halls.  Staff ensure that the extinguishers are charged and the inspection tags are attached.  The Associate Safety and Emergency Manager also conducts an annual walk-through of all residence hall buildings to check for any safety issues.  The most recent check was completed during the spring of 2016 and a report was provided to Residence Life for correction of any concerns.

Once a year, professionals from a local fire sprinkler company conduct a check of the fire sprinkler system to make sure the system is ready in case of fire. In conjunction with this check, the Residence Life electrician, who has fire safety certifications, also conducts smoke alarm checks twice a year in each of the individual rooms.  The fire systems in all of the residence halls are continually monitored so they are in good working order and proper detection is activated in the event there is a fire.

Back to Top