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Oakland emergency evacuation procedures: Key takeaways

If there is an emergency at work, it’s crucial that you’re prepared to evacuate the building swiftly and safely.

The Building and Administrative Service Center (BASC) team recently held in-person and virtual training sessions on roles and evacuation procedures in Oakland. Attending were Employee Safety Coordinators (ESCs) — staff volunteers who respond and provide leadership to colleagues during emergency drills and real situations — and other staff who signed up for the training.

The session covered:

  • Actions to take during an emergency evacuation
  • ESC evacuation responsibilities
  • What to do when a building alarm is activated
  • Where to find emergency exits and equipment

BASC is developing a formal training that all UCOP Oakland employees will be required to complete later this year through the UC Learning Center. In the meantime, you can download the emergency evacuation training slides and watch the training recording. (Box log in is required to access these materials.)

Following are some of the key takeaways from the training.

Employee Safety Coordinator (ESC) instructions/responsibilities

  • Uniforms: ESCs will wear orange hard hats and vests (located in their orange backpacks) to identify themselves to staff and emergency responders.
  • Initial response: When an alarm sounds, ESCs will immediately mobilize, put on their uniforms, begin canvassing the floors and direct occupants to the exits.
  • Colleague assistance: ESCs will identify people who need extra assistance, including those with disabilities. They will ensure these colleagues reach a safe refuge area (typically the fire exit vestibule) and notify first-floor responders.
  • Communicating all-clear: ESCs will let their group know when it’s safe to re-enter the building after receiving the all-clear.

Instructions for all employees

What to do if you hear a fire alarm

  • Treat all alarms as real
  • Do not use elevators
  • Follow signs to the nearest exit
  • Remain calm and follow ESC instructions

Evacuation – where to go

  • Franklin Building: Staff on all floors should proceed outdoors to the external assembly area on 12th (Refer to slide 9 for the specific location.)
  • Broadway Building, floors 1-7: Proceed outdoors to the external assembly area on 12th (Refer to slide 9 for the specific location.)
  • Broadway Building, floors 8-10: Relocate four floors down (8th floor to the 4th floor; 9th floor to the 5th, 10th floor to the 6th). Wait near the elevator bay for further instructions.

Evacuation – what to do

  • Know your designated emergency assembly area (see above).
  • When you’re coming down the stairs, stay to the right to allow emergency responders to pass.
  • Remain at your evacuation location until you receive an “all-clear” signal from a building engineer or ESCs.
  • Use the communication devices in the stairwells to notify emergency responders about those needing assistance.

How to use the fire extinguisher

  • Only use extinguishers for small fires — no larger than a deskside trashcan.
  • Follow the PASS method: Pull the pin; Aim low at the base of the flames; Squeeze the handle; Sweep the extinguisher from side to side.

Emergency exits

  • Familiarize yourself with the layout of your building, including the exit paths, stairways, and fire extinguishers. (See slides 12-13)
  • Never prop emergency exit doors open.
  • Ensure that all exit pathways remain clear at all times.


  • What do I do if I am not on my floor and an alarm goes off? Proceed to the nearest exit and follow evacuation procedures.
  • What do I do if I am on the elevator and the alarm goes off? Elevators will return to the lobby in an emergency. Proceed to the external assembly area on 12th
  • Do I need my badge to exit the building? No; emergency gates will open to let people out.

Key takeaways

  • Treat all alarms as real.
  • Know your exit paths and assembly points.
  • ESCs will sweep floors and direct staff toward emergency exits.
  • Wait for the all-clear signal before re-entering the building.

The BASC team is available to provide in-person training for teams and departments upon request. To request a training, submit a request through iRequest (select “other” request type). For questions about evacuation protocols or the ESC program, contact Darryl Brown, assistant director, Facilities Management.

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