Building Evacuations and Fire Drills


Fire drills help building occupants prepare to respond to a variety of building emergencies. Fire codes require regularly scheduled drills in most large buildings at least annually.  

EH&S is responsible for scheduling fire drills for the UW Seattle campus and major research stations, and we can assist at other locations. Drills help building occupants prepare to respond to a variety of building emergencies. Fire codes require regularly scheduled drills in most large buildings at least annually.  

If you have a preference for the time of year for your building’s fire drill, please contact EH&S so that we may add it to our planning schedule.

Emergency preparedness

Occupants should be prepared for a number of anticipated building emergencies some of which will require immediate or delayed evacuation. For more information see the Building Emergency Procedures and Resources page.

Evacuation drills

Drills are generally unannounced so they are realistic and educational. EH&S will usually schedule fire drills for the Seattle campus about three weeks in advance by coordinating with the building coordinator, evacuation director and key administrators so that a date and time may be identified for the drill that avoids unnecessary disruption to operations. For research buildings, advance notification may be extended to a key person for each lab so that the drill does not create a safety hazard or disrupt critical and expensive lab operations. However, other personnel should not be informed.


Except for University housing, drills are scheduled during normal business hours, usually between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

For drills scheduled on the Seattle campus, contact Scott Nelson at or 206.221.7055.

Drill reports

Evacuation directors are responsible for critiquing their drill with support from EH&S. Observations about the drill should be shared with evacuation wardens and key personnel to improve future response and performance. The evacuation director should complete a Fire Drill Report form.

Unintentional alarms, such as malicious activation of fire alarm pull stations or burned food setting off smoke detectors, do not count towards the required scheduled drills.


Evacuation route maps

Most buildings are provided with Evacuation Route Maps located in a conspicuous location in a public hallway. The maps help indicated the location of exits and evacuation assembly points. EH&S develops and maintains these maps for the UW Seattle campus. For assistance call Diana Zumba or 206.616.5530.

Assembly points

A number of outdoor assembly points have been identified for the campus. A specific assembly point should be designated for your building as indicated on the evacuation route map posted in your building and in your Fire Safety Evacuation Plan.

Campus mass assembly areas are also available if the local assembly point is unsafe or unavailable.

Evacuation Directors and Wardens

Responsibilities for evacuation directors and evacuation wardens  are available on this page and also outlined in the EH&S Fire Safety and Evacuation Plan.

Training resources for evacuation directors and wardens are listed in the Training section of this page.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Your Fire Safety Evacuation Plan (FSEP) should provide information on how to alert building occupants of an emergency. Contact your evacuation director or building coordinator and request a copy of your plan.  

If your building does not already have a FSEP, you can find a template on the Building Emergency Procedures and Resources page.

Smaller buildings without fire alarm systems are not required to conduct evacuation drills. However, if you wish to conduct an evacuation drill you can simulate an alarm.  

Not always; it depends on the type of emergency. Sometimes it is better to stay inside the building, including finding shelter to escape an active shooter situation.

The Building Emergency Procedures and Resources page contains information and direction for anticipated building emergencies.

More Information


designated safe area away from the building for evacuees to gather and be accounted for.

this plan is to document how to notify occupants of a building emergency, establish evacuation procedures and routes, provide support for persons with disabilities, and account for occupants.


Building and Fire Safety Contact

(206) 685-0341