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Fire Procedures

Reporting an Emergency
Call the following numbers to report crimes in progress, life-threatening situations, personal injuries, traffic accidents, or suspicious activities:

NIH Bethesda (Main) Campus
From an office phone: 911
From a cell phone: 301-496-9911

Off-Campus in Bethesda/Rockville Area
From an office phone: 9-911
From a cell phone: 911

Note: Be sure to alert the building security guards of all incidents.

If you discover a fire

  1. Direct people away from the fire area and close the door to the room or area.
  2. Pull the fire alarm and, from a safe location, dial 911 (or 9-911 if off campus) and talk to the dispatcher.
  3. Notify the occupants on your floor area and vacate the floor using the stairway. Do not use elevators.
  4. If possible, as you leave the floor, inform the floor team coordinator of any details concerning the fire. If the floor team coordinator is not available, notify the occupant emergency coordinator outside of the building or area. He or she will provide information to the first responders.

At the sound of a fire alarm

  1. Proceed into the nearest safe stairwell or exit the building to the recommended assembly area. If available, follow the instructions of the Emergency Response Team or automated alert system.
  2. Walk, do not run! Shut all doors behind you and proceed along corridors and in stairwells in a quiet, orderly manner. Do not push or jostle.
  3. If you encounter heavy smoke, keep low or crawl. Use the wall to guide you to the nearest exit.
  4. If smoke is heavily concentrated in the exit, go to another exit.
  5. Open doors carefully, feeling for heat first. If too hot, find an alternate door.
  6. After exiting the building, go to the assembly area.
  7. Do not go back into the building for any reason until the fire department has permitted you to do so.

If unable to reach a safe exit

  1. Stay low to avoid breathing in smoke.
  2. Retreat into a closed office space.
  3. Close all doors and other openings.
  4. Place clothing, paper, or other soft material in gaps around closed doors.
  5. Douse clothing, paper, or other soft material around doors with any available non-flammable liquid.
  6. If a telephone is available, dial 911 (or 9-911 if off campus). Give the dispatcher your location and the number of people trapped in the room. Stay on the line, if advised by the dispatcher.
  7. If the office has a window and materials are available, make a large "HELP" sign. Include your suite and/or floor number. Place the sign in a window that faces the street.
  8. Do not break the windows, as this will draw smoke and gas into the room.
  9. Remain calm.

Last Updated February 05, 2014

Last Reviewed February 05, 2014