Knowing how to respond to a fire emergency is as important as preventing a fire. The following are recommended fire emergency procedures and a brief overview of the fire protection systems/equipment in UCSF. It is recommended that you become familiar with your department’s Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for specific information regarding emergency numbers, evacuation routes, assembly areas, etc.

Fire Emergency

If you encounter a fire in your workplace remember R.A.C.E.

  • Remove - Remove, or assist, anyone in the immediate danger from the fire to a safe area.
  • Announce
    • Alert others by activating the nearest fire alarm.
    •  Call 9-911 or 476-6911: remain calm and identify yourself when reporting the fire. Give the location and nature of the fire emergency. Answer the dispatcher’s questions as directly and completely as possible. Do not hang up until the dispatcher terminates the call.
  • Contain
    • Close all doors that you can safely reach to contain the fire.
    •  Remove any door wedges or other items keeping fire doors open as you evacuate the area (fire doors should not be propped open in the first place)
  • Evacuate -
    • Leave the building as safely and quickly as possible.
    • Walk to the nearest exit.
    • Use the stairs, do not use elevators.
    • Keep clear of all emergency vehicles and wait for instructions.
  • Extinguish - Only attempt to extinguish a fire after you have activated the fire alarm and called 9-911. Follow the guidance below to use a fire extinguisher.

Using a Fire Extinguisher

Attempting to extinguish a fire should only be done after the fire alarm has been activated, 9-911 has been called, the fire is no larger than a wastebasket, and you know how to use a fire extinguisher. Always make sure you have a safe exit behind you before you use a fire extinguisher.
When using a fire extinguisher remember P.A.S.S.

  • Pull - Hold the extinguisher with a relaxed right hand; pull the pin with your left hand.
  • Aim - Aim the hose/nozzle at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze - Squeeze the handle.
  • Sweep - Sweep from side to side.

Make sure to use the all of the extinguisher agent; if the extinguisher is emptied and the fire is not completely out, evacuate immediately. Remember that you are not required to use a fire extinguisher, if there’s any doubt, leave the fire extinguisher and evacuate the building.
Questions? Please contact EH&S at 476-1300 or the fire Marshal at
UCSF EH&S Office of the Fire Marshal Rev. 2016

Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are located throughout UCSF owned buildings so that the travel distance to the fire extinguisher is no more than 75 feet. It is important to be familiar with the location of the nearest fire extinguisher within the work place. Although Facilities Management inspects fire extinguishers monthly, it is good practice to check that fire extinguishers are not missing, blocked, or damaged.
Fire extinguishers are classified for the type of fire they are designed to extinguish. The majority of fire extinguishers in UCSF are Class ABC: they will extinguish any fire involving ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids, and energized electrical equipment.

Fire Sprinklers

Fire sprinklers are effective in extinguishing small fires and prevent the spread of larger fires until fire fighters arrive. For this reason, it is important that the spray pattern of fire sprinklers is unobstructed. Maintain an 18 inch wall to wall clearance below sprinkler heads. In un-sprinkler areas, a 24 inch clearance between the ceiling and the top of any storage must be maintained.
Fire sprinklers are set off by the heat from a fire. In each sprinkler head there is either a fusible link or a frangible bulb that breaks from heat produced by a fire. To prevent breaking these bulb/links, do not hang anything on sprinkler heads.

Fire Alarm

Fire alarm systems are designed to alert building occupants of emergency conditions in the building. Basic components are smoke and heat detectors, sprinkler system, and manual pull stations. When any of these devices are activated, an alarm will sound to alert building occupants. Simultaneously an alarm will be activated at the UCSF Police Department which in turn will notify the San Francisco Fire Department.
It is critical that manual pull stations and speaker/strobes remain unobstructed as they are essential in notifying building occupants of a fire and the need to evacuate. If you notice they have been knocked off or are broken, please report them to Facilities Maintenance at 415-476-2021.


EH&S offers fire safety training via UC Learning. Department fire extinguisher training is also available. Contact the Campus Fire Marshall at for more information.