Fire Emergency Procedures

In case of fire


Close the door as you leave the room.

Pull the nearest fire alarm (located at any exit).

Evacuate the building. DO NOT use elevators.

Proceed to an assembly area across the street and away from the building.

Report the fire.

 If you hear a fire alarm

  1. Evacuate the building via nearest exit and DO NOT use elevators
  2. Proceed to an assembly area across the street and away from the building
  3. Keep access ways and roadways clear
  4. Await instructions from Campus Security
  5. When the 'All Clear' signal is given, re-enter the building through the main entrance


  • It is mandatory for University buildings to be evacuated during any fire alarm.
  • Report all fires, no matter how small, to the University Emergency Report Centre, 36111.
  • Report the smell of smoke of undetermined origin to the University Emergency Report Centre, 36111.
  • Attempt to extinguish the fire only if you can do so safely.
  • Familiarize yourself with the location of fire exits and fire extinguishers in your area.

 Mobility impaired

If the fire alarm sounds and you are on the ground floor,

  • Exit the building by normal means

If the fire alarm sounds and you are above or below the ground floor,

  • Telephone the University Emergency Report Centre, 36111.
  • Tell the dispatcher that your fire alarm is sounding but you are mobility impaired and cannot leave your floor area. If you smell smoke, or are in immediate danger, inform the dispatcher.
  • Provide your exact location - Floor and Room Number.
  • Provide the phone number and extension you are calling from. It is IMPERATIVE that this number can receive return calls. Note that PAY telephones generally cannot receive incoming calls.

 Response time

Kingston Fire Department, Queens Security, and Environmental Health and Safety will all respond to the scene within 2-3 minutes of a fire alarm.

For information and assistance contact James Dick. 

 Availability of phones

It is reasonable to assume that if a building is occupied and open for business, telephones will be available in offices, etc. In cases, such as evening lectures where only the lecture theatre or classroom is open, you are encouraged to contact the University Emergency Report Centre beforehand, and provide them with pertinent information, such as location, duration of stay, etc.

Safety of Building Occupants

Provisions of the Code include:

  • Corridors, exits and stairs are the escape routes in a fire or life emergency. Storage in corridors, exits and stairs is strictly prohibited. This includes spill over from offices, laboratories, classrooms, and shipping and receiving areas, and includes "temporary" storage.
  • Doors in fire separations (Fire Doors) are generally self-closing. Blocking, propping, or wedging these doors in the open position at any time is prohibited.
  • Designated exit doors are to be readily opened from the inside at all times, and are not permitted to be locked, chained, blocked, or barred to prevent exiting at any time. The use of electromagnetic door locks is not recommended by Fire Prevention for exit doors, as electric door strikes will generally provide a more appropriate operation.
  • Penalties - "Every person who convenes any provision of the Fire Code and every Director or Officer of a corporation who knowingly concurs in such contravention is guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine of not more than $25,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than one year or both." - Ontario Fire Code
For information and assistance contact James Dick.

Residence Fire Safety

Queen’s residences are Fire Prevention's top priority. We provide fire safety seminars and brochures as requested for residences and fire alarm systems are tested on a diligent schedule. Any repairs to fire safety systems are carried out with urgent priority.

Residences on the Queen's Campus are well-equipped with automatic fire detection and warning devices. Each suite, and every sleeping room not classified as part of a suite, is protected by both a local smoke alarm (a self-contained unit that will sound its own alarm), and a heat detector connected to the building fire alarm system. In addition, the residence corridors and stairways are protected by smoke detectors, which are also part of the building fire alarm system.

The smoke alarm is designed to awaken you in the early stages of development, if a fire starts within your suite. The majority of smoke alarms in residences are battery-operated, and will sound an intermittent warning 'peep' when the battery voltage becomes low. If this happens, contact your residence Porter's office for a replacement battery. Don't leave the unit without power for any longer than absolutely necessary.

Heat detectors in suites provide others in the building with warning in case of fire. If a fire starts in your room when you're away, the heat detector will be activated before the fire spreads to the corridor, automatically sounding the alarm to evacuate the building.

Smoke detectors are installed in residence corridors and stair shafts to protect your means of egress - your exit route. Because most fire fatalities are the result of smoke, not heat, any build-up in the means of egress must be detected early, so that the corridors and stairs are still passable when the alarm sounds.

The fire alarm system is installed for your protection. It is mandatory to leave the building if the alarm is sounding.

In addition to the fire alarm system, there are other fire protection measures that are included in residences.

Sprinklers are installed in the basements of all residences, to provide below-grade fire suppression. This greatly aids firefighting, since emergency response personnel have to descend into the fire area, against the rising heat. Sprinklers will contain, and in most cases, completely extinguish a fire prior to the arrival of the Fire Department.

The corridor and exit system are critical for safe evacuation. For this reason, it's important to keep fire doors closed unless they are held open magnetically and automatically released by the fire alarm system. Try to remember - if you discover a fire in your room, make sure the door is closed as you leave. This will help to keep the corridor smoke-free for as long as possible. Also, don't store anything in the corridor. Storage can become deadly in the event of a real fire, causing people to trip as they try to escape. A few breaths of toxic smoke that it could cost someone could make the difference between survival and becoming a statistic.

Fire hoses in cabinets are for use by emergency response personnel. They can be effective in bringing a fire under control if used by a trained individual in a timely manner.

Fire extinguishers are installed in the corridors of residences (generally inside the fire hose cabinets). These can knock out a fire if used properly in the early stages of its development.

Please remember that all Fire Fighting Equipment is there to protect you. Its misuse and/or vandalism impacts your safety.

For information and assistance contact James Dick at 74977 or email

Your burning questions (FAQs)

Yes. It is University policy, and required that you leave the building when the fire alarm is ringing. The only exception to this is during a scheduled test, in which case, notices are posted at the building entrance at least 24 hours in advance. Always assume an alarm is the real thing and you'll greatly increase your chances in the event of an actual fire. Remember, fire alarm systems exist for your protection.

No. Storage in corridors is not permitted under any circumstances. Storage within the corridor and exiting system is strictly prohibited by the Ontario Fire Code, and any such storage reported to Fire Prevention will result in a Violation Notice being issued. In addition, Occupational Health & Safety Committees are obligated to report any storage found in corridors or exits.

Laboratory doors are generally self-closing (in buildings constructed under a relatively recent Building Code). This serves to protect all the occupants of the building, in that fire, smoke, and toxic gases from an incident within a lab cannot enter freely into the corridor system, provided that the door is closed. This keeps the means of egress safe and passable for all other occupants, allowing them to escape unharmed. By propping a lab door open, this safety feature is effectively defeated, and all occupants are put at risk. It is unrealistic to assume that in the event of a fire, you will have time to 'unprop' the door. Don't put your own convenience ahead of the safety of your colleagues... Don't prop that door.

As stated in the first answer, unless you have seen a posted testing notice, treat all fire alarms as if they are real. Drills are carried out as part of a legislative requirement, and evacuation times are kept on record. As with any other fire alarm, you are required to leave the building for a drill.

If you discover a fire, your first action should be to pull the alarm. All our alarms are centrally monitored, 911 is automatically notified, and security is dispatched whenever any alarm sounds. As soon as you activate an alarm, a signal is automatically sent to the Emergency Report Centre, 911 dispatch is notified immediately and provided with all required information, Campus Security vehicle and Environmental Health and Safety are dispatched to the scene. The familiarity with buildings that our own emergency response personnel posses, together with building master keys, allow us to significantly reduce the time needed to locate a fire or verify a false alarm. This minimizes loss in an actual fire, or minimizes lost time if no fire is present.

If, instead of pulling the alarm, you call 911 (9-911 on Campus), it will cause the following difficulties:

  • other occupants will not be warned of the fire (fire alarm not sounding)
  • the Fire Department will not be met by our response team, which they are expecting
  • lack of familiarity with the building will cause an undue delay in locating the problem area
  • lack of keys may dictate forced entry by the Fire Department into some areas

So remember, if you find a fire, pull the alarm. After leaving the building, give the Security supervisor any additional information. We can use any info you can provide.

Fire alarm systems are installed according to the requirements of the current Building Code at the time of construction. The Building Code takes a number of factors into consideration when determining the need for automatic fire detection. Smoke detectors are not required in office areas, since people in this type of occupancy are assumed to be alert and awake, and would therefore be able to actually smell smoke before it would be detected automatically. Based on this reasoning, smoke detection in offices would be redundant, and would merely add to maintenance requirements, while offering no benefit to life safety.

No. The Ontario Fire Code determines the requirements for the installation of fire extinguishers based on hazard. Computer equipment is not recognized as a significant hazard under this Code, and as such, no fire extinguishers are required. As a rule, computer equipment failure generates an acrid brown smoke, which is easily detected by people in the area, long before any flame is visible. Rather than using an extinguisher on this type of equipment (which could very well damage adjacent components), unplugging it will remove the source of ignition. Remember, if you smell smoke from your computer, the safest thing to do is simply unplug it!

No. This would decrease the existing level of fire safety, and would degrade the 'sprinklered' classification of the floor area. First, we should clarify the operation of 'wet sprinklers', which is commonly misunderstood. Each sprinkler head within a system like this is an independent unit, and is independently triggered based on the presence of heat at its own location. As such, the operation of one sprinkler head via excessive heat will not cause adjacent heads to discharge, and water flow is limited to the immediate vicinity of a fire. Effectively, this suppresses the damage due to fire, and most often provides complete extinguishment under low hazard conditions. The damage caused by a sprinkler discharge is logically minimal when compared to that of an unsuppressed fire of a magnitude that would otherwise trigger a sprinkler head. Also worth noting, is the fact that sprinkler head failure is very rare - the estimated failure rate for any given sprinkler head is one in three to four million. Putting this into perspective, this would translate to approximately two failures within the entire city of Kingston, in one year. Incidents of fires are hundreds of times more prevalent. Because of these statistics, the insurance industry supports full sprinkler installation in buildings, including computer server locations.

Pulling a false alarm is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. Activating the fire alarm as a 'prank' can result not only in expulsion from the University, but a criminal record as well. When the alarm is activated, the responding fire crew is unavailable for calls elsewhere; the extra delay for response in an emergency elsewhere could cost a life.

Contact your residence Don office. You can also submit a Maintenance Request Order (MRO) to our Facilities Control Centre (FCC), either online or at your front desk. Remember, if the battery is removed from your smoke alarm, you're not protected.

Fire alarm pull stations are installed at each exit from your floor area. It is actually impossible to leave your floor without passing one. This means that if you discover a fire, you can activate the alarm as you evacuate.