6-9 Fire and Fire Alarms

Policy Type: Local

Responsible Office: Chief of Police, Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department          

Initial Policy Approved: 6/15/2014

Current Revision Approved: 6/15/2014



The VCU Police Department will provide the university community with efficient and prompt response to fire calls in coordination with the primary local fire prevention and rescue agencies. This coordination will be maintained through a liaison with the local fire prevention and rescue agencies. VCUPD will immediately respond to all fire calls within the department's jurisdiction, whether an actual fire exists or not.


Accountability Statement

All employees are expected to fully comply with the guidelines and timelines set forth in this written directive. Failure to comply will result in appropriate corrective action. Responsibility rests with the division commander to ensure that any violations of policy are investigated and appropriate training, counseling and/or disciplinary action is initiated.


Notification of Richmond Fire Dept. (RFD)

  1. When a dispatcher or an officer receives a report of a fire alarm or fire in any university building, RFD will be immediately notified. If the call did not come from the VCU/VCUHS Control Center, RFD will be notified by Dispatch. Anytime Dispatch calls RFD they will advise VCU/VCUHS Control Center.
  2. If after the officer arrives on the scene and it is determined that the alarm or report of fire is false, the dispatcher will notify RFD and advise that we have units on the scene, and the alarm is false. This will not stop the RFD from responding, but it will allow them to respond with greater caution.
  3. On smoke reports and the smell of smoke, Dispatch will notify RFD and dispatch an officer to the scene. If the officer arrives and determines that the report is false, RFD will again be notified that the call is false, but will continue to respond to the call. VCU/VCUHS Control Center will be notified if the call did not come through them.
  4. On reports of the smell of gas, an officer will be sent to the scene to determine whether it is a gas leak or some other odor in the area that may smell like gas. If there is, in fact, a leak, the officer will notify Dispatch who in turn will call RFD and VCU/VCUHS Control Center.
  5. If an alarm goes off several times over the course of two to three hours, especially during exam time, and all previous alarms have been false, an officer will still respond and check the area. Dispatch will check with the commander-in-charge and see if RFD should be called to respond, if they have not already been called.
  6. Dispatch will always call VCU/VCUHS Control Center back with a disposition in the above instances.
  7. VCUPD will not reset any fire alarms or give an all clear until RFD arrives on the scene. Only RFD, the Fire & Safety OIC or a fire-safety officer can give an all clear or reset an alarm after clearing it through the RFD Battalion Chief.
  8. If a complaint of fire is reported to radio communications, but the complainant does not want RFD called, an officer will be dispatched to check the area and the control center will be notified. The control center will contact an electrician and fire safety to respond.
  9. If an officer discovers a fire or extinguishes a fire an incident report should be completed and sent to the Fire & Occupational Safety Office.


Fire Calls at Monroe Park Residence Halls

  1. VCUPD will provide the necessary traffic control at locations immediately surrounding the dorms during fire calls.
  2. The first officer to arrive on the scene of a fire call will provide traffic control for the appropriate dorm as outlined below, keeping in mind that all dorms evacuate into Monroe Park:
    1. Units responding to Johnson Hall will block traffic at Laurel and Franklin, and Laurel and Cathedral (Floyd).
    2. Units responding to Rhoads Hall and/or Brandt Hall will block traffic at Laurel and Franklin Streets.
    3. Units responding to the Gladdings Residence Center will block traffic at Belvidere and Main, and Pine and Cary Streets.
  3. Any additional units will either respond to the location of the fire or assist with traffic/crowd control at the discretion of the shift commander in charge.
  4. Fire alarm reset keys are maintained at each of the residence halls, and are in the possession of the Housing security guard on duty.


Assisting VCUHS Fire & Safety

  1. The first officer on the scene will respond to the location of the fire and report to the Fire & Safety OIC for assignment.
  2. The second unit will respond to the entrance of the building and report to the Fire & Safety officer with the two-way radio for assignment.
  3. If there is no Fire & Safety officer the patrol unit will direct RFD to the scene of the fire.
  4. After RFD arrives on the scene, the unit on the floor will assist with crowd control.
  5. The mobile patrol unit will assist in traffic control unless there are only two (2) east units, and then (a) and (b) will be followed.
  6. Any additional units responding will assist with traffic or crowd control by securing the area, by protecting property and people from further exposure, risk or damage.
  7. The shift commander will designate the officer who will take the offense report.


Fire Drills

  1. VCU/VCUHS Control Center will notify Dispatch when a fire drill is to take place to dispatch an officer to the scene.
  2. Police officers will respond as quickly and as safely as possible to all fire drills.
  3. When the police officers arrive on the scene, they will report immediately to the person in charge of the drill. No other action will be required.


Notifying Fire Safety Officers

If VCUPD needs the assistance of fire safety personnel after hours or on the weekends regarding a fire alarm, sprinkler system, arson investigation, or other fire issue, they can be paged through the Control Center.


Clery Compliance

  1. Daily Fire Logs
  2. Institutions with on-campus housing must report fires that occur in on-campus housing.
  3. VCUPD maintains a fire log that is accessible to the public via the web as well as on campus at VCUPD Headquarters and VCUHS that includes:
    1. Date that the fire was reported
    2. Nature, date, and time of the fire
    3. General location of the fire
  4. The Clery Act requires the publication of the Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report by October 1 annually.


Revision History

None - New policy