Thomas Jefferson University

Fire Evacuation Procedures

  1. If you discover a fire or smoke, follow R.A.C.E. Procedures.
  2. The Security Officer stationed in the Security Command Center will immediately notify the Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD) by dialing 9-9-1-1 when an alarm is transmitted.
  3. WHEN THE FIRE ALARM SOUNDS, follow R.A.C.E. Procedures. and listen to the fire alarm announcements
  4. DO NOT USE THE ELEVATORS.  see note on special procedures
  5. Feel the door leading from your office to the corridor before opening it.  If it is hot or smoke is seeping in, do not open the door.  If you become trapped in your office and cannot reach the fire exit, keep the door closed and seal off any cracks. Use the telephone in your office to call the PFD by dialing 9-9-1-1, or security at 811, and give the name and address of the building, as well as your floor and the office number.
  6. If the door feels cool, open cautiously.  Be braced to slam it shut of you feel heat pressure against the door.  If the corridor is clear, proceed with the building evacuation instructions.
  7. PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED:  A responsible person or persons who work in the same area as the disabled should be assigned to assist in the event of fire.  The disabled are to be taken to the fire exit and remain on the landing until assisted by the PFD.
  8. If caught in smoke or heat, stay low where the air is better.  Take short breaths through your nose until you reach an area of refuge.


Be sure the fire exit doors are kept closed at all times so smoke cannot enter the stairway.

These exits are not to be used for any type of storage.
  They must remain clear and well lighted at all times.  If at anytime, you observe fire exit doors being tied or propped open, please report it to the Department of Environmental Health & Safety.

Evacuation: Hospital Buildings

In buildings where immediate building evacuation is not required, patient, visitor, employee, and staff evacuation shall be initiated only when a danger due to fire or smoke has been identified or code red confirmed has been announced in their area.

If evacuation is required, it shall be conducted per the following guidelines:

  • Horizontal Evacuation - Horizontal evacuation is preferred over vertical evacuation.  Patients will be moved to an adjacent safe smoke compartment on the same floor, away from the Fire Scene.
  • Vertical Evacuation - Only if necessary and as directed, patients will be moved to another floor - typically a floor below the Fire Scene.  If evacuation to a lower floor becomes necessary, use of the elevators will be coordinated with the PFD based on the location of the fire and the amount of smoke in the area of the elevators.
  • Complete Patient Evacuation - Should the emergency condition be of a severity such that the building is endangered, and cannot continue to be occupied, a complete evacuation shall be initiated.  Directions given to evacuate the building by the PFD Incident Commander shall be carried out in an orderly fashion to ensure that the patient care is not compromised due to the evacuation. Patient receiving locations shall be coordinated with the Hospital Incident Command structure.

General Patient Evacuation Guidelines

  • Patients are to be evacuated horizontally by stretcher, wheelchair, or other method of transportation to an adjacent smoke compartment.  Patients in immediate danger (due to smoke or fire) shall be removed first.
  • Ambulatory patients should be accompanied or directed to an adjacent smoke compartment. 
  • Non-Ambulatory patients should be moved using wheelchairs or stretchers when available to an adjacent smoke compartment.  
  • Critical patients, who will require the most resources to move, can be kept in their closed patient room until they can be safely moved. These patients may be the last to be evacuated, if they are not being directly affected by fire or smoke.
  • Patient evacuations shall be coordinated with nursing to ensure patient needs are met at the location to which they are being relocated.