Fire Safety

Fire Safety

Fire Safety is the shared responsibility of each and every member of The Graduate Center community. Your knowledge and awareness is the best weapon in helping to maintain a safe, fire-free environment on campus. Please follow the instructions listed in this pamphlet to protect yourself and others.

Fire Safety Guide

The following is a list of fire safety guidelines.

Fire Alarm System

The building is equipped with a Class E fire alarm system. This system is comprised of smoke and heat detectors, fire alarm pull boxes and a standpipe and sprinkler system. Typically, alarm bells will sound on the fire floor and the floor above. The system is also able to transmit building wide alarms when warranted. In addition, the system is equipped with a communications system, which allows for public address announcements and two-way communication via warden phones.

Fire Exits/Fire Stairs

Stairs Location Serves Floors Re-entry
"S" Elevator Lobbies C – 9 All Floors Except 1st
"T" Elevator Lobbies C – 9 All Floors Except 1st
"B" Northeast Corner Y – 8 8th, 4th, & Y Floors
"C" Sortheast Corner C - 8 All Floors Except 1st
"E" North Side C – 1 All Floors
"X" South Side Z - C All Floors
"R" Mid-Building Z – X All Floors

Fire Alarm Pull Boxes, Warden Phones, and Fire Extinguishers

FireAlarmBox-(1).jpgFire alarm pull boxes, which are bright red in color, are located adjacent to all fire exits. Lifting the cover and pulling down on the handle activates the alarm. This will send a signal to the Fire Command Station located in the Main Lobby. Warden phones are also located in the vicinity of fire exits. Fire extinguishers are located in the stairwell on each floor landing.

Fire Warden Responsibilities

Fire Wardens are designated for each floor. Fire Wardens will be made knowledgeable about the building and will receive training on the evacuation procedure. In the absence of available Fire Wardens, Security and Public Safety officers will carry out these duties.

The Fire Warden:

  • Will ascertain the location of the fire.
  • Notify the Fire Department. Call 911.
  • Will sound the building alarm (located at each fire exit).
  • Direct all persons to evacuate the floor via the stairway(s) furthest away from the emergency. Elevators are NOT to be used.
  • Encourage persons to leave quietly and in an orderly manner.
  • Insure that all disabled persons are assisted in reaching the nearest smoke free stairway.
  • Search all rooms, including restrooms, to insure that all persons are aware of the evacuation. Be especially watchful of persons who may have visual or hearing impairments.
  • Communicate with the Fire Command Station via warden phone and inform of floor conditions.
  • Inform the Fire Command Station of the location of any disabled persons on fire stair landings.
  • If evacuated to the street, keep the front entrance clear to expedite Fire Department response. Prohibit re-entry of the area until allowed by proper authority.

Faculty Responsibilities

Faculty must become familiar with fire alarm locations and fire exits.

During fire drills and actual emergency evacuations classes that are in progress will evacuate.

Faculty members who are teaching classes will assist in the evacuation of students and will:

  • Direct students to the nearest fire exit away from the emergency.
  • Instruct students to leave promptly and quietly.
  • Insure that disabled students are given necessary assistance in evacuating the classroom and if necessary, moved to the nearest smoke free stairway.
  • Insure that all students have left the classroom before leaving themselves.
  • Close, but not lock, the classroom door when leaving.
  • Prohibit the use of elevators.
  • Follow the instructions of Fire Wardens, Security and Public Safety officers.

Instructions for Building Occupants

  • Report any condition which creates a fire hazard (trash in the corridors or stairwells, missing fire extinguishers, blocked fire exits, etc.) to Security & Public Safety.
  • Know the location of fire alarms and know how to activate them.
  • Know your escape route in advance. Also be prepared to use an alternate exit in case your primary route is obstructed. Plan how you would escape in case of a fire. Know your escape routes well enough to be able to make your way in the dark or in dense smoke.
  • Assume that all alarms are real and absent public address instructions, evacuate via the nearest smoke free fire stair.



Complete evacuation of the building is not always necessary. Congestion in the stairways can often interfere with the Fire Department's response and cause more injury than the fire itself. Evacuation to two floors below the fire floor is sufficient for most fires. Fire Wardens should be guided by their knowledge of the existing conditions. Those above the fire floor who are unable to evacuate to below the fire floor should await further instructions from Fire Department personnel.

If You Discover a Fire

Pull the nearest fire alarm box on the floor and call 911 and Security at x7777 if possible.

Be prepared to give the following information:

  • Specific condition (smoke, fire, etc.)
  • Specific location (floor, room)
  • Your name and location

Notify those in the immediate area of the danger.

Assist in removing any disabled person from the immediate area.

Follow the directions of Fire Wardens and Public Safety officers.

If You Hear the Fire Alarm Sound

Be aware that whenever the fire alarm sounds it may signal a very real emergency situation.

Listen for instructions from:

  • Professors
  • Fire Wardens
  • Security & Public Safety Officers
  • Fire Safety Director (via public address announcements)
  • Absent public address instructions, evacuate via the nearest smoke free fire stair.

Remain calm and proceed to evacuate the area in an orderly manner. Do not rush, push or panic. Rely on planning and knowledge.

Assist disabled persons to evacuate the area. Be particularly aware of persons with sight or hearing disabilities.

Do not go back to retrieve belongings.

If there is smoke, stay low, it will be easier to breathe.


Before opening any door, touch the door with the back of your hand. Do not open a door that is warm or hot.

Close doors behind you to prevent fire spread, but make sure that you can reopen them if you need to retreat.

If trapped, open windows at the top to let heat and smoke out, open at the bottom to breathe.

Special Instructions for Persons with Disabilities

Persons with disabilities should become familiar with the emergency procedures established for The Graduate Center.

Know the location of all fire exits and stairwells.

Taking into consideration the nature of your disability, plan how you would respond to an emergency. This should be done for every floor that you enter since the layout is different on some floors.

Discuss your plans with your EO, APO, Professors and Fire Warden(s) assigned to your department or program.

Bomb Threats

If you find a suspicious object or receive a telephone threat, notify Security & Public Safety at x7777 immediately. If the Director of Security & Public Safety or his designee determines that there is a potential danger, he will sound the alarm. Evacuation procedures will be similar to those for fire emergencies. DO NOT HANDLE ANY SUSPICIOUS OBJECT OR PACKAGE.

If you receive a telephone threat, remain calm and try to obtain as much information as possible from the caller. Specifically try to ascertain the following:

  • The location of the device.
  • The time, if any, the device is scheduled to go off.
  • The appearance or type of container used for the device.
  • The reason for placing the device in the building.
  • The type of explosive used in the device.
  • Any additional information that may be available.

The person receiving the call should note the following items:

  • Male or female voice.
  • Time of call.
  • Mood of caller (excited, nervous, calm, despondent, etc.)
  • Background noises that may be present at the location of the caller.
  • Approximate age of the caller.
  • If the caller is specific about the device, its location, the purpose of placing the device, etc.
  • Any other peculiarities that may be helpful in identifying the source of the call or its purpose.