Fire Prevention Services

Emergency 911 FPS 512-495-3637

Fight or Flight

Don’t Forget to Call

Before you fight a fire or flee a building, be sure to call authorities to notify them of the fire.

From a campus phone:

  • Call 9-1-1 to notify the university police, or…
  • Call 9-9-1-1 to notify the Austin Fire Department

From a cell phone or off-campus phone:

  • Call 9-1-1 to notify the Austin Fire Department

In the event of a fire, we are all confronted with the decision of whether to fight the flames with an extinguisher or evacuate the building immediately. This is probably the most important decision you will face when a fire breaks out.

When you are not trained in portable extinguisher use, the answer is easy: you should evacuate, and never attempt to fight a fire if you do not have extinguisher training. If you are trained with extinguishers, however, there are many things to consider when deciding whether to fight or take flight.

Questions to Fight By

Ask yourself these questions when determining whether to fight a fire with a portable extinguisher or evacuate the building.

Is the fire small enough to be controlled by a portable extinguisher?

The time to use a portable extinguisher is during the early stages of a fire. Once a fire starts to spread, your best option is to evacuate the building.

Am I safe from toxic smoke and gases?

Remember that all fires produce carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless toxic gas. Many fires will produce other toxic gases in addition to carbon monoxide. If the fire is producing large amounts of smoke, or you suspect the fire involves a hazardous material, your best option is to evacuate the building

Do I have an escape route?

Before attempting to extinguish a fire, always ensure you have a reliable escape route. If you are in a room or confined area, position yourself between the fire and the exit door. In other words, when you are facing the fire the exit door should be at your back, ensuring you are not trapped if the fire is not quickly extinguished.

Do I have the right extinguisher?

Make sure the extinguisher’s label indicates it is rated for use in fighting the type of fuel that is burning, and check if the extinguisher is fully charged. If the extinguisher is not fully charged, or is not the proper type, your best option is to evacuate the building. You can find information about extinguisher ratings in Know Your Fire Extinguisher ABCs.

What do my instincts tell me?

If you do not feel comfortable trying to extinguish the fire, do not attempt to. Evacuate the building and let the fire department do their job. Remember: firefighters have equipment, training, and experience that you do not possess.

Fight the Fire

If you decide to attempt to extinguish the fire, take the following actions:

If your suppression efforts are unsuccessful…

After the Fire is Out…

Take Flight

If you do not attempt to extinguish the fire, your only course of action is to evacuate the building. During evacuation you should take the following actions: