Fire Safety

The University of Akron emphasizes the importance of fire safety, particularly among its resident students. However, because the possibility for residence hall fires exists, The University of Akron takes a number of precautions to protect the approximately 2,300 students who currently live in ten residence halls.

Reporting Fires and Evacuation

All fires should be reported immediately to the City of Akron Fire Department, University of Akron Police Department (911 or 330-972-2911) or residence hall staff. Upon receipt of a fire report, The University of Akron Police Department immediately will dispatch officers and Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety personnel to investigate fire reports on campus and route calls to the City of Akron Fire Department as necessary.

Upon receiving notice of a fire by way of an announcement or activation of the fire alarm system, occupants immediately should evacuate the building using the closest available exit. Elevators should not be used. Once out of the building, individuals should assemble at their pre-designated meeting point to await further instructions.

Each floor has a clearly marked location where students who require physical assistance to evacuate residence halls should go to obtain evacuation assistance. Students must call University Police at 330-972-2911 to secure assistance during an evacuation. This number also is posted on each residence hall floor.


All residence halls are equipped with a fire alarm system. All alarm systems function and undergo rigorous testing and documentation each year. Fire safety specialists activate the alarm systems annually and inspect and clean the system components on an annual basis.

Fire extinguishers (ABC type) are in all residence halls and spaced in accordance with the Ohio Fire Code.

All residence hall rooms have flame-retardant mattresses and window shades. Public areas have carpets and drapery that meet maximum flammability standards.

Campus police can unlock all student room and building doors in an emergency to maximize evacuation and rescue. In addition, the University’s regional campus and center buildings are equipped with "Knox Security Key Boxes." These high security boxes contain building master keys for use by the firefighters who come into a residence hall. The boxes are opened by a key that is on each fire truck. The sub master keys in these "Knox Boxes" enable firefighters to quickly unlock building doors in order to maximize evacuation and rescue or to fight an active fire.

 Four locations, owned by the University but not operated by Residence Life and Housing, have fire safety systems in place, but do not have suppression systems.  These locations include:  478 Orchard Street; Hower House; Tau Kappa Epsilon Housing; and Phi Kappa Psi Housing.  Further information concerning each residence hall and housing facility fire safety system is available on the chart contained in Appendix C of this report.


The University of Akron restricts use of any item that produces an open flame or heating surface in residence hall student rooms. Candles, incense, and hot plates are among the restricted items. The full list of prohibited items is available in the Residence Life Handbook, which is at:  Fire safety information is contained in Section 6.

 All residence halls are non-smoking, including vaping; this includes all student rooms.


All resident students receive a fire inspection checklist during move-in, which helps students identify fire safety risks and recommends safe practices. Fire safety information also is provided through floor meetings to all resident students. Additional safety information can be found at the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (EOHS) Web site:

 The University of Akron conducts fire drills once each semester for its residence halls and as required by Ohio’s Fire Code for all other campus buildings. During the 2019 calendar year, the University conducted 27 fire drills among its residence halls. The University also conducted drills for academic support buildings as required by law. EOHS also provides on-site fire training in the residence halls upon request.

Each floor has a clearly marked location where students who require physical assistance to evacuate residence halls should go to obtain evacuation assistance. Students must call University Police at 330-972-2911 to secure assistance during an evacuation. This number is also posted on each residence hall floor.

Emergency Action Plan placards, which detail emergency guidelines for different types of possible emergencies, including fire, are posted throughout each residence hall and provided to each resident’s room.

 Residence hall video display boards provide safety messaging throughout each academic term.

Fire Safety Recommendations and Tips Smoking and Safety

  • Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in North America.
  • Smoking in bed or when you are drowsy could be deadly.
  • Provide smokers with large, deep non-tip ashtrays and soak butts with water before discarding.
  • Before going to bed or leaving home after someone has been smoking, check under and around cushions and upholstered furniture for smoldering cigarettes.

Cooking Safety

  • Never leave cooking unattended and turn pot handles inward on the stove where you can't bump them.
  • Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles and wear clothes with short, rolled-up or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook.
  • If grease catches fire in a pan, slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and turn off the heat. Leave the lid on until cool. NEVER throw water on steaming or burning grease.

Cool a Burn

  • Run cool water over a burn for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Never put butter or any grease on a burn. Never use ice.
  • If the burned skin blisters or is charred, see a doctor immediately.

Space Heaters

  • Keep portable heaters and space heaters at least 3 feet from anything that can burn.
  • Keep children and pets away from heaters, and never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to bed. 

Use Electricity Safely

  • Do not overload extension cords or run them under rugs.
  • Replace any electrical cord that is cracked or frayed.
  • If an electrical appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately, then have it serviced before using it again or discard.
  • Don't tamper with your fuse box or use improper-size fuses.

When Not to Fight a Fire

  • If the fire is spreading beyond the spot where it started.
  • If you can't fight the fire with your back to an escape exit.
  • If the fire can block your only escape.

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

The following are general statements for the operation of a fire extinguisher; however,    

all extinguishers are different. Users should be trained on how to use a fire extinguisher prior to use to ensure that the correct type of extinguisher is used and that it is used properly.

  1. Pull the pin.
  2. Aim the extinguisher nozzle at the base of the flames.
  3. Squeeze the trigger while holding the extinguisher upright.
  4. Sweep the extinguisher from side to side to cover the area of the fire.

Off-Campus Fire Safety Tips

  • All rental properties should be equipped with a smoke detector in every room used for sleeping and on every level of your home, including the basement.
  • Test detectors every month, following the manufacturer's directions, and replace batteries once a year, or whenever a detector "chirps" to signal low battery power.
  • Never "borrow" a smoke detector battery for another use—a disabled detector can't save your life.
  • Replace detectors that are more than 10 years old. 

Future Fire Safety Initiatives

The University of Akron continually strives to improve campus fire safety. All new building construction and renovations are completed in accordance with applicable fire codes and the University is exploring opportunities to further expand its Network Fire Alarm Mass Notification System.