Emergency Procedures, Haverford Emergency Response Team & Fire

Emergency Procedures

In the event of an emergency, the campus community will be notified through a variety of mechanisms including an audible alert system (siren and voice), the Web, e-mail, voice mail, and even personal contact. The College has an Emergency Procedures Plan in place to address quickly and effectively any situation that might arise. This plan is reviewed and updated regularly by the President’s Senior Staff.

Students, faculty and staff are also reminded to be aware of suspicious behavior and circumstances such as unauthorized people in restricted areas, abandoned parcels, bags, vehicles or other items. Anyone wishing to report suspicious activity should contact Campus Safety at (610) 896-1111.

Haverford Emergency Response Team (HERT)

Haverford Emergency Response Team (HERT) is the crisis management team at Haverford College, which is charged to develop, recommend, and implement crisis response plans that manage the preparation for, response to, and recovery from critical incidents that impact Haverford College, members of the campus community, or College property.


When the building fire alarm system activates, occupants are required to leave the building immediately.  A representative from Campus Safety will advise you when it is safe to return to the building.

The College is required by state law to keep fire alarm systems in operation at all times, anyone who tampers with the system is subverting the law, putting other students in danger, and is violating College policy. These actions may result in the loss of College housing.

  1. If you discover a fire or smoke condition, notify the Department of Campus Safety by telephone (610-896-1111) from a safe area within the building or by campus emergency phone.  Give the Dispatcher your name, location and nature of the fire.  If the building fire alarm system is not sounding, activate the nearest fire alarm pull stations located within 5 feet of an exit door.
  2. Upon activation of a smoke detector or notification of a fire, all occupants should exit the building at once.  Feel the door to your room before opening it.  If the door feels hot or smoke is seeping in, do not open it.  Seal off the cracks in the door with a coat or blankets and open outside windows for ventilation.  Call Campus Safety and explain your situation, giving your name and location.  Never jump from windows, especially above the second floor.  Signal your location by waving a towel or bed sheet out of your window.
  3. If the door feels cool, open it slowly.  Be prepared to slam the door if the hall is full of smoke or heat.  If the hall is clear, proceed to the nearest stairs and exit the building. Should you encounter heavy smoke while exiting the building, turn back and find a room that provides a safe area of refuge.  Contact Campus Safety immediately.  Become familiar with two escape routes from the building.
  4. If you get caught in smoke or heat, crawl on the floor and take short breaths through your nose until you reach an area of safe refuge.
  5. Remember to assist any physically challenged persons in your area to safety in the event of an emergency.
  6. Once you have left the building, do not return for any reason.  Someone from Campus Safety will notify you when it is safe to return to the building.


Cause of Fires

Fire can exist wherever there are combustible materials and some means of bringing them to kindling temperature.  Too often, fires start because we allow these conditions to exist through ignorance or inaction.  Some of the most common causes of fires at college fires include candles, careless smokers, over-burdened electrical outlets, cooking in dorm rooms, halogen lamps, exposed light bulbs, cigarettes, overloaded extension cords and smoking in bed.  At Haverford College, the burning of candles, use of halogen lamps and large electrical appliances are prohibited in College housing.

Cigarettes can easily fall into cracks in furniture or smolder at the bottom of a wastebasket and go completely undetected until a dangerous fire has started.  Often the signs of such a fire do not appear until the room or apartment is vacant or, in the most tragic cases, until the occupants are asleep.

Fire Prevention

Effective fire prevention occurs only when individuals are aware of the principal causes of fires and take certain simple steps to eliminate them.

For residents’ safety, individual rooms are equipped with electrically-powered, individual single-station smoke detectors with 9 volt battery backup.  If a detector is chirping, it needs a new battery. Batteries are available from Campus Safety at anytime. All public spaces in residence halls are equipped with smoke detectors and manual-pull stations, both of which set off the building alarms.  These directly alert Campus Safety of the emergency.  If the alarm in a student’s room is triggered, the building alarms will not activate until either the student uses the pull-station or the smoke from the student’s room activates a smoke alarm in the public halls. Haverford College has recently completed a project that installed automatic sprinklers in every dormitory. Fire sprinklers provide the highest level of life safety protection available.

Fire Safety

Fire safety is a major concern of the Campus Safety Department and affects all members of the Haverford community.  Each residence hall is equipped with automatic smoke detection systems that report to the Campus Safety Office.   In addition, each student’s room is equipped with a single station smoke detector and there are fire sprinkler systems in all residence halls.  Fire Exit Drills are conducted in each residence hall so that students become familiar with proper building evacuation procedures.  The Campus Safety Department employs student Campus Safety Dorm Monitors.  The Campus Safety Dorm Monitors conduct weekly inspections of residence halls to check for any fire, safety, or security hazards.

Office of the Dean of the College