Skip to main content

Fire Prevention and Protection

Campus buildings are equipped with safety features designed to provide early notification of a fire and safe egress travel out of the building. The features below play a role in protecting building occupants while allowing for safe evacuation of the building.

  • fire alarm systems (Initiators, Notification devices)
  • fire sprinkler systems
  • emergency lighting
  • fire doors

Other Life Safety Equipment such as fire extinguishers and generators may also be part of a building’s safety features, ensuring occupant safety.


The purpose of this section is to provide information regarding fire protection systems. This information includes what different components do and requirements to ensure proper function. Other information includes reporting fire safety concerns and training requests. Important information that we would like you to take from this reading includes the following:

  • Not to block or tamper with fire equipment
  • Be familiar with the Emergency Response Plans for the unique buildings you frequent
  • Identify fire safety features and know what they do
  • Basic knowledge of fire extinguisher types and their uses
  • Know how to report a fire safety issues and who to involve
  • Fire Doors

A fire door serves as a barrier to limit the spread of fire and restrict the movement of smoke. Unless held open by the automatic systems, fire doors should always remain closed. Fire doors are normally located in stairwells, corridors, and other areas required by Fire Code. The door, door frame, locking mechanism, and closure are rated between 20 minutes and three hours. A fire door rating indicates how long the door assembly can withstand heat.

Keep Fire Doors Closed

Know which doors are fire doors and keep them closed to protect building occupants and exit paths from fire and smoke. Never prop a fire door open with a non-approved closure device such as:

  • door stops
  • block of wood
  • potted plant

or fire doors with approved closure devices, make sure that nothing around the door can impede the closure. Doors to offices, laboratories, and classrooms help act as smoke barriers regardless of their fire rating. Keep these doors closed whenever possible.

Unobstructed Pathways

Fire doors should be easily seen; the path to and through the door should be clear. Do not tamper with fire doors or block them with any items.


Never alter a fire door or assembly in any way. Simple alterations such as changing a lock or installing a window can lessen the fire rating of the door. Fire doors have a strict process when it comes to modifications, if repairs or changes need to be made please contact Environmental, Health, and Safety.

  • Extinguishers

It is essential that all employees be familiar with the proper use of portable fire extinguishers and know when and when not to use them. Remember that fire extinguishers are designed to fight only very small fires. Most average size extinguishers have enough water, dry chemical, or gas for about 15 seconds of firefighting. The rating and the type of extinguisher determines the type of fire it can extinguish. In most public areas on campus, the extinguishers provided are of the type suitable to fight Class A, B, and C fires.

Extinguisher type

Using an Extinguisher

Campus personnel who are trained in extinguisher use might attempt to mitigate a situation in certain circumstances. If you would decide to attempt to put out any fire, the following prerequisites should be met, before any fighting occurs:

  • The fire department has been notified.
  • All personnel within the area have been notified.
  • The fire is very small (less than the size of a basketball).
  • You have been trained in the use of the fire extinguisher.
  • You have notified someone of your intent and where the fire is.

While fighting a fire you should leave the area if any of the following things happen:

  • The fire is not extinguished in the first 15-20 seconds
  • The fire gets bigger
  • The smoke increases

Saving property at the cost of life or health is never a good trade.


Fire extinguisher training and/or hands on demonstrations can be requested by contacting Environmental Health and Safety at 8-5162. Additionally, you may go to Fire Extinguisher for interactive Basic Awareness Training The ABC'S OF PORTABLE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS SELECTION, USE AND MAINTENANCE.

  • Sprinkler/Suppression Systems


The university is committed to following fire safety practices:

  • To meet codes set by both the state fire codes and other national standard organizations.
  • Install and maintain fire and life safety systems. Ensuring secure structures that meet fire and building codes for workers and visitors
  • Develop and communicate internally ISU policies applicable to all campus personnel

Fire Suppression

Fire Suppression systems are governed by the codes under the NFPA and are used in buildings throughout the ISU campus. Suppression systems use a combination of dry chemicals and/or wet agents to suppress fires. These systems have become a necessity as they protect life and help control damage and loss to equipment.

Common Means of Suppression

  • fire sprinkler systems (wet, dry, pre-action, and deluge)
  • gaseous agents
  • Wet and dry chemical
  • water
  • Notification Devices

Fire alarm systems provide a rapid means of notifying building occupants of a fire emergency. These systems must always be kept in operating condition. Tampering with or vandalism of these systems may result in serious injury or possible loss of life during an actual fire emergency.

For questions or concerns involving Fire Alarm equipment please contact Environmental Health and Safety at (8-5162).

Notification Appliances

Notification appliances are devices used to notify occupants of an emergency in the building. These devices usually acquire the attention of occupants by audible (buzzer or alarm) and visual (flashing light) means.

  • Alarm and speaker
  • Notification light
  • Speaker

To assure that all occupants are notified, these devices should be free to perform their task without any interference. including any issues caused by:

  • Blockage of the flashing emergency lights
  • Blockage of the audible devices
  • Covering of any emergency equipment
  • Tampering with equipment
  • Modifications of any kind

Initiating Devices

What is an initiating device?
An initiating device is a unit that triggers an alarm system. A few of these devices are commonly known as fire pull stations, smoke detectors, and heat detectors.

  • Pull station
  • Heat detector

These devices should be unobstructed and easy to access. Keep in mind, obstructing these devices can be an issue for different reasons. For a fire pull station, we want the occupants to see the device if a manual triggering of the alarms is needed. For detectors, we want to make sure that smoke or heat isn’t being blocked from reaching the detector.

Pull Stations

An Initiating device that all occupants should recognize are pull stations. Pull stations are a manual device that are on the path of egress, typically near an exit or stairwell door. Initiating the pull station will activate the building alarm system and alert the University Police Department.

  • Compliance Issues
Compliance issues are usually created by changes in occupant methods or a change in procedures that directly affect the building occupancy classification, or the safety of others within the building. Code issues that pertain to the structural elements of a building are addressed by both Environmental Health and Safety and Facilities Planning. consult with these departments before making changes in the use of spaces or adding any new operations.
  • Report a Concern
In the event of any issue regarding fire systems, notification, or extinguishers please contact Adam Streenz at (309) 438-5162.