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burning candle
Candle use is prohibited at UTSA unless approved by the safety
office. At home, don't leave a burning candle or cigarette unattended.

Holiday tips: Fire safety at work and home

By J. Brian Moroney
UTSA Director of Environmental, Health, Safety and Risk Management

(Dec. 14, 2007)--As we enjoy the holidays with special events at work and gatherings of family and friends at home, it's a good time to think about fire safety -- an important idea year-round.

Here are some tips for fire safety at UTSA and away from the workplace.

For more information, call (210) 458-5250.

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How to Improve Fire Safety at UTSA

  1. Keep corridors and hallways clear of obstructions at all times. No item should ever be placed in an exit corridor without permission of the Office of Environmental, Health, Safety and Risk Management, (210) 458-5250. Unapproved items blocking exits will be removed.
  2. To ensure safe egress in case of fire or other emergency, never lock or block exit doors.
  3. Do not use extension cords -- these are for temporary, emergency use only. Surge-protected, multi-plug units are allowed, but plugging multiple units together (ganging) is prohibited. Contact the safety office if you have questions regarding use of extension cords.
  4. Never store an items in stairwells.
  5. Never obstruct fire alarm lights and exit signs.
  6. Never store anything within 18 inches of the ceiling in rooms with fire sprinklers.
  7. Never store combustible items within 18 inches of light fixtures, supply air vents or air-return vents.
  8. Never store combustible items such as paper, cardboard, wood or plastic in mechanical rooms or electrical closets or breaker rooms.
  9. Lighted candles are prohibited at UTSA work locations and in student residence facilities including apartments and dorm rooms. Candles may be used at special events only if the safety office approves use.
  10. Always keep clear access to electric panels, fire alarm pull stations, fire extinguishers, gas shut-off valves, safety showers and eyewash stations.
  11. Use only electric portable space heaters that are UL-listed or equivalent, do not have exposed heating elements, have automatic tip-over shut-off protection and are used according to manufacturer instructions.
  12. Smoking at UTSA is prohibited in all indoor locations, all university vehicles and within 20 feet of a building entrance.

How to Improve Fire Safety Away from Work

  1. Know at least two exit routes whether you are at home or in a store, restaurant, club or theater. The closest exit may not be the one you used to enter a room. Look for lighted exit signs.
  2. Make a fire escape plan at home and practice the escape routes at least twice a year. Studies have shown that children and teens often sleep through an activated smoke alarm, but will wake at the sound of a loud, familiar voice. Shout before you go out!
  3. Change your household smoke alarm batteries when daylight savings time begins or ends.
  4. Use only surge-protected, multi-plug units, but don't plug multiple units together.
  5. Check entranceways, stairs and hallways for proper lighting.
  6. The No. 1 cause of fires in the home is unattended burning candles and cigarettes. Don't leave or go to sleep with a burning candle or cigarette.
  7. Have a portable fire extinguisher easily accessible in high-hazard places such as the kitchen and garage. If you only have one, put it under or by your bed.

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