Safety Policies

SY28 Emergency Evacuations and Fire Drills - Residence Halls

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Matthew Moritz, 863-3756,

Policy Steward: 

Senior Director of Environmental Health and Safety



This policy provides the procedures for the execution of emergency evacuation and fire drills in Pennsylvania State University Residence Halls. Fire drills provide an orderly, effective, and safe evacuation of residence halls in the event of a fire. To ensure effective drills, every participant must realize his or her own responsibility and assist in conducting the drills in an orderly manner.


International Fire Code, 2009 Edition.


A residence hall shall be evacuated immediately upon the sounding of a fire alarm signal. The evacuation shall be under the supervision of those members designated as being responsible for the evacuation.

Scheduled fire drills shall be conducted at least once in every calendar month when classes are in session. All occupants shall participate.


Coordinators (Residence Life staff) are responsible for the following:

  • Establish, coordinate, post and inform all occupants of the fire drill evacuation plan for each residence hall under his/her jurisdiction.
  • Schedule fire drills and notify Police, Housing, and the Physical Plant Service Desk and/or appropriate Maintenance and Operations Departments when drills will be held in each residence hall. Drills are to be held at different times and days each month.
  • Complete the Summary Report (reference 2) Drill Documentation Report and submit electronic version to Office of Residence Life. copies as indicated.
  • Assign personnel required for implementing the fire drill evacuation plan, i.e. Checkers, Trailers, and Command Post (Control Point) personnel.

Trailers and Fire Marshals (Alternates Required) are responsible for the following:

  • Check assigned rooms to ensure that all occupants have heard the alarm and are evacuating the building.
  • Report all pertinent information to the Checker at assigned exits.
  • Trailers and Fire Marshals are generally appointed by geographic location within a corridor at farthest point from assigned exits.

Checkers (Alternates Required) are responsible for checking the following:

  • Pertinent information concerning locked doors, etc. reported by Trailers, Fire Marshals or occupants.
  • Report information concerning occupants accounted and not accounted for, rooms locked, etc. to the Command Post.
  • Report specific information from the Command Post back to the occupants at their exit.
  • The checker is generally the first person to arrive at the exit door.

Command Post (Control Point) Personnel (Alternates Required) have the following responsibilities:

  • To take a position at assigned Command Post outside of the residence hall.
  • Assemble information obtained from Checkers.
  • Report all information received directly to authorized emergency personnel responding at the residence hall.
  • Inform the reporting Checkers (1) whether there is an actual emergency, or (2) if a fire drill is in progress.
  • Coordinate decision with Police Services about the movement of occupants to the Emergency Staging Area in the event of an emergency.

Police and Public Safety and Campus Police have the following responsibilities:

Fire Drills
  • Police personnel shall be cognizant of the dates and times of all drills.
Fire or other Emergency
  • An officer at the scene will check in at the assigned Command Post.
  • Coordinate decision with Command Post staff about the movement of occupants to the Emergency Staging Area.
  • Open the respective area, if locked, and immediately inform Department of Housing personnel that this has been done.
  • Proceed with other assigned duties.

Occupants of Residence Halls have the following responsibilities:

  • At the sound of the fire alarm, occupants shall immediately evacuate the building by the nearest exit(s).
  • Move a safe distance from the building, to the building designated meeting site.
  • Do not re-enter the building until the re-call signal is given until instructed to do so by a designated public safety official. The silencing of alarms does not mean the emergency is over.


For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Director of Environmental Health and Safety.

Most Recent Changes:

  • January 13, 2023 - Editorial change to update Policy Steward.

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • June 17, 2014 - Policy updated to reflect minor content changes throughout the policy, added specific reference standard in REFERENCES section and clarified responsibilities in RESPONSIBILITIES section. Added policy steward/ further information references, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
  • June 21, 2006 - Revision History added.
  • April 15, 1993 - Moved from SY01 on August 3, 1998.
  • May 29 , 1987 - Major revisions to REFERENCES, RESPONSIBILITIES, and OCCUPANTS OF RESIDENCE HALL sections.
  • March 22, 1976 - New policy.

Date Approved: 

March 24, 2017

Date Published: 

March 24, 2017

Effective Date: 

March 24, 2017