Thomas Jefferson University

Internal Disaster Fire Plan

Internal Disaster Plan for Fire


The purposes of this plan are to:

  1. prevent occurrence entirely or reduce the effects of the incident;
  2. rescue entrapped persons;
  3. prevent injury to patients, visitors and employees;
  4. prevent additional damage to property; and
  5. satisfy all applicable regulatory agencies.

University Policies & Procedures
Internal Disaster Plan 119.40
Attachment 2


A major aspect of this plan is for the development of measures that will prevent a disaster caused by fire. The following activities are necessary requirements for successfully preventing the initiation of a fire and to alleviate the effects of its damage.

  1. Annual fire safety training for all employees, with concentrated efforts in areas having high risks.
  2. New employee orientation covering fire safety procedures.
  3. Annual intensive training for employees who are assigned to the Emergency Response Team.
  4. Annual safety seminar for contractors.
  5. Annual familiarization tour of the facilities for local fire companies.
  6. Annual safety audits to be conducted in all buildings.
  7. Frequent testing of all fire alarm systems with immediate correction procedures for deficiencies.
  8. Fire drills in all buildings covering all shifts.
  9. Annual review of fire safety procedures.
  10. Scheduled preventive maintenance for all essential equipment.
  11. Quarterly meetings of the Jefferson Safety Steering Committee and its subcommittees.


Response to fire incidents will be handled by the Philadelphia Fire Department and The Emergency Response Team.

Security: Security will call the Philadelphia Fire Department and give the street address and floor number where the incident is occurring. They will also notify the Emergency Response Team and Facilities Services to assure that everyone is aware of the alarm. Security will meet and direct the Philadelphia Fire Department to the fire location. They will also maintain communications at the fire and direct those not involved in the emergency to evacuate the area. They are authorized to stop others from entering the building in jeopardy.

Facilities Services Control Room:  Upon receipt of an alarm, Control Room personnel will dispatch via mobile radio all Emergency Response personnel assigned to the Emergency Response Team to the fire location. They will also notify Security to assure that everyone has received the alarm.

Emergency Response Team: Employees from the Facilities Services, Security, and Environmental Health and Safety Departments staff the Emergency Response Team. They shall immediately upon notification of a fire alarm proceed to the area of the alarm. They should obtain fire extinguishers as they approach the area in jeopardy.

The Emergency Response Team is directed by the University Fire Marshal, Director of Environmental Health and Safety, Director of Facilities Services or the senior team member present.

At the conclusion of any significant fire, everyone who had direct responsibilities in any aspect of the event will identify any:

  1. facility malfunction
  2. segment of the plan or procedure that may require a revision
  3. employee who performed exceptionally well during the emergency for the purpose of personal recognition

University Buildings - Discovery of a Fire

Fire: The Hazard

Fire contains potentially deadly components. Because of the varying degrees of occupancies within University buildings, it is important that employees and students are aware of the hazards that may exist in their individual areas.

The potential for a fire is much greater in a laboratory where Class I flammable liquids are used than in a library reading room. Because of this fact, a scientist who works in a laboratory must be more cognizant of dangers from fire than the student studying for an exam in the library. However, everyone needs to be aware of the procedures required once a fire is discovered.

Fire: The Defense

Unlike Hospital buildings where employees must assist visitors in a fire, employees in University buildings normally do not have that responsibility. However, the R.A.C.E. concept works equally well in any building and the same defense should be employed.

R Rescue or Remove anyone who may be in immediate danger.

A Alarm.  Sound the building's fire alarm to alert everyone that a fire has been discovered. Dial 811 on a Jefferson phone to initiate a full response by the Emergency Response Team.

C Confine or Contain the fire by closing doors, especially the door of the room involved.

E Evacuate.  Extinguish the fire, if possible, by using the appropriate fire extinguisher if you are familiar with its use. Extinguishment must not be attempted until the first three (3) have been completed.

Fire: The Reaction

Whenever a fire alarm is activated, it is the responsibility of everyone in the building to follow the specific procedures for fire evacuation from that building. In University buildings, evacuation must be vertical. Each building has its own individual identity as pertains to the fire alarm; learn to recognize these.

Total evacuation is necessary in the, Bluemle Life Sciences Building, Clinical Office Building, Jefferson Alumni Hall, Medical Office Building, and Scott Building and Dorrance Hamilton Building.

The following buildings have had procedures developed to allow occupants to enter the nearest fire exit stairway and remain in the stairway during the alarm period.

  • Barringer Residence
  • College/Curtis Buildings (Philadelphia Fire Towers only, all other exits require evacuation to the outside)
  • Edison Building (South Fire Tower only, North stairway must evacuate to the street)
  • Martin Residence (North fire exit only, South stairway must evacuate to the street)
  • Orlowitz Residence

It is the responsibility of every employee and student to enter the nearest approved fire exit stairway every time a fire alarm is transmitted and to direct visitors and guests to the nearest exit.