Fire & Life Safety takes a proactive approach to EVMS safety. The responsibilities of this office are numerous, but all end with the common goal of protecting students, faculty, employees, visitors and property of EVMS.

EVMS Fire & Life Safety is responsible for planning and administering the EVMS Fire Prevention and Life Safety inspection programs. This includes review of all new building construction and renovations to ensure compliance with EVMS fire protection standards and applicable state, local, and national fire and life safety standards.

Fire inspections are conducted every week. Our team walks through each building looking for fire and other safety hazards. In addition, fire exit drills are conducted in all EVMS buildings. The purpose of these drills is to assure that EVMS is as safe as possible, and if an emergency does occur everyone is familiar with what actions to take.

  • Learn your building’s evacuation plan and practice all drills as if they were the real thing.
  • When the smoke alarm or fire alarm sounds, get out of the building quickly and stay out.
  • Check your school’s rules before using electrical appliances in your room.
  • Get low and go under the smoke to escape to your safe exit.
  • Feel the door. If it is hot, use your second way out.
  • Use the stairs; never use an elevator during a fire.
  • Practice your escape plan. Always have two ways out.

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Fire Prevention

  • Look for housing with a sprinkler system when choosing a dorm or off-campus housing.
  • Make sure you can hear the building alarm system when you are in your apartment.
  • If you live in an apartment or house, make sure smoke alarms are installed in each sleeping room, outside every sleeping area and on each level of the apartment unit or house.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least monthly.
  • Never remove batteries or disable the alarm.


  • Make sure candles are in sturdy holders and put out after each use.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.
  • Keep candles away from draperies and linens.
  • Use flameless candles, which are both safe and attractive.


  • Cook only where it is permitted.
  • Keep your cooking area clean and uncluttered.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • If a fire starts in a microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the unit.


  • Stay Warm
  • Portable Space Heaters
  • Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices
  • Check to make sure the portable heater has a thermostat and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.
  • Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room.

Fireplaces and Woodstoves

  • Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually. Never burn trash, paper or green wood.
  • Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Store cooled ashes in a tightly sealed metal container outside the home.

Escape Planning

  • Get low and go under the smoke to escape to your safe exit.
  • Feel the door. If it is hot, use your second way out.
  • Use the stairs; never use an elevator during a fire.
  • Practice your escape plan. Always have two ways out.

Christmas Tree Safety

Winter Fire Safety

Outdoor fireplaces - Outdoor fireplaces, fire pits and chimineas are becoming increasingly popular. When used safely and within manufacturer’s guidelines, they can be very enjoyable. Please be aware of the following guidelines when using one of these devices:

  • They must not be used on apartment balconies.
  • They must be located at least 10 feet from any structure or combustible material
  • The fire must be constantly monitored until extinguished
  • Fire extinguishing equipment must be available.
  • A protective screen shall be in place to prevent scattering of sparks.
  • Only clean, dry firewood shall be used for fuel.

Please remember that if your device creates smoke or odors that are objectionable to others, it must be extinguished. 
Outdoor Cooking and Grills - Everyone enjoys the time we spend around our barbecues and grills with our families and friends.  They are a big part of our Summer.  To ensure that these times remain enjoyable, please observe the following tips:

  • No grills may be placed or used on apartment balconies.
  • Grills must be located at least 10 feet from any structure or combustible material.
  • NEVER use a grill inside a closed space. They produce large quantities of carbon monoxide, a poison invisible and odorless gas that can rapidly cause death or serious illness.
  • Make sure that your grill is level and steady.
  • Grills must be constantly monitored until extinguished and cold.
  • The safest means of lighting a grill are cake-formed chemicals or an electric starter.
  • Never add liquid fire starter to hot coals. Heat from the coals could cause the starter to ignite, resulting in serious burns.
  • Keep a hose or fire extinguisher close by.
  • Keep small children and pets away from your grill.

When finished cooking, soak the coals in water.  Dispose of them in a sealed metal container outside the home. Do not store them on a wooden deck.  Many fires start from ashes that are improperly disposed of. 

Fireworks - No fireworks that produce heat or require any ignition source are legal within the City of Norfolk. Please take advantage of the many public displays scheduled for the summer so that we can enjoy fireworks safely and without risk of fire or injury. 
Pool and Swimming Safety - There's nothing like a dip in the pool to cool off during the Summer months. To avoid injuries during this pleasant pastime, please review the following tips:

  • Place a fence around your pool or spa. The fence should be at least 5 feet high, and the gate through the fence should automatically latch. Never block the gate open. Lock the gate when not using the pool area.
  • Do not leave furniture or other items near the pool that a child can climb on to enter the pool.
  • Whenever children are near the water, ensure that an adult is present, watching carefully. Do not let distractions interfere with watching.
  • If you have non-swimmers in the home, enroll them in an approved swimming program taught by a qualified instructor.
  • Never swim alone. Even adults should ensure that someone knows they are in the pool.
  • Learn First Aid and CPR. Ensure anyone who has "pool duty" is qualified to provide aid if it becomes necessary.
  • Keep rescue equipment, such as a ring buoy and a rescue pole, near the pool. Also, have a cordless or cellular phone present when the pool is in use.
  • Post emergency numbers and CPR instructions near the pool.
  • Advise everyone, especially children, where the pump suctions are located and to remain clear of them. Small children becoming trapped by pool suctions under the water cause several drownings each year.
  • Use plastic instead of glassware in pool areas to prevent cuts. Broken glass in the pool can be almost invisible resulting in risk of cuts.

Consider purchasing a pool alarm to let you know if someone falls into the pool. Subsurface alarms are more effective than surface alarms and cause fewer false alarms.

Keep spas and hot tubs covered when not in use. This helps keep them clean and hot as well as reducing the chance that children can fall in. Completely remove covers before anyone enters the spa or tub.

We want everyone to enjoy a safe and happy summer season. A few precautions taken now can reduce the possibility of accidents or injuries, resulting in a better time for us all.


Halloween is a fun holiday but it is also an important time to practice fire safety. The occurrence of fire increases around Halloween due to arson and the use of candles as decorations. Follow these tips for a happy and fire-safe Halloween:

  • If you buy a costume, make sure the label says “Flame Resistant.” Flame Resistant means the costume will be hard to catch on fire and if it does, the fire will go out fast.
  • If you make a costume, try not to make one that is big and baggy so that the material doesn’t touch candles or other flames.  Use flame-resistant fabrics, such as polyester and nylon. These materials will resist burning if exposed to a flame.
  • Tell kids to stay away from candles and jack-o'-lanterns that may be on steps and porches. Their costumes could catch fire if they get too close.
  • Kids should never carry candles when they are trick-or-treating. Always use a flashlight, flameless candle, or light stick.
  • Tell kids to let you know right away if they see other kids playing with matches or lighters.
  • Don’t use candles for decorations. They’re dangerous, especially when left unattended.
  • Use only decorative lights tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Throw away damaged sets. Don't overload extension cords.
  • Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website for the latest on Halloween-related consumer product recalls.
  • If you have a Halloween party, check for cigarettes under furniture cushions and in areas where people were smoking before you go to bed.
  • Remove any materials around your home or property, such as garbage or excess vegetation, which an arsonist could use to start a fire.


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