Spotlight on Fire Safety in the Residence Halls
- Creation of a safe environment is the responsibility of every community member. To avoid a crisis, consider the following procedures:
Sleep with your bedroom doors CLOSED and locked at night. A closed door will help slow the spread of fire, smoke and heat. If you discover or suspect a fire, pull the alarm and begin evacuation. Knock on other students doors on your way out of the building.
- When you hear the alarm, take a coat, shoes and a towel and prepare to evacuate. Do not stop for personal belongings. NEVER HIDE IN CLOSETS, UNDER BEDS OR IN SHOWERS TO AVOID EVACUATION.
- Touch the surface of the door before opening it. If it feels hot, do not open it. DON’T PANIC. STOP AND THINK BEFORE YOU START. If the knob is hot, brace yourself against the door and open it slightly (fire can create enough pressure to push open a door if it is not held firmly). If heat or heavy smoke is present in the hall, close the door and stay in the room.
- If you cannot leave your room, seal cracks around doors and vents, using wet towels if possible.
- If the door feels cool, open it just a crack to check for smoke. If there is none, leave the building immediately. Remember to crawl and keep your head down if there is smoke.
- If the nearest exit is blocked by smoke, heat or fire, go to an alternate exit.
- After exiting, move at least 50 feet away from the building, staying out of the fire lanes. RA’s and Public Safety officers will be on the scene to provide direction. If this is not the case, go immediately to the closest phone and call Public Safety at 399.
- STAY OUT OF THE BUILDING until Public Safety or the Fire Department has issued an all clear signal and you are given permission to return.
- You may not disregard a fire alarm or fail to evacuate a building in which a fire alarm is sounding, regardless of its nature (drill or actual alert).
- Tampering with fire safety equipment (e.g. alarms, extinguishers, smoke detectors, sprinklers and emergency exit signs) is an exceptionally dangerous practice and represents a serious breach of community safety standards.
- Failure to evacuate and tampering with fire safety equipment are violations of the “Student Code of Conduct”.
- Fire drills are intended to familiarize you with the sound of the fire alarm, the location of emergency exits and the procedures for evacuating the building. All individuals are expected to leave the building during all alarms.
- During the year, monthly unannounced fire drills will be scheduled.
- Periodically during these monthly drills, student rooms will be randomly checked to insure compliance with evacuation requirements and to check fire safety equipment.
- Be sure that guests are registered with Public Safety so they can be accounted for in the event of a fire.
Avoid Fire Hazards
- Electrical Overload: Overloaded circuits, worn out cords and plugs and high voltage appliances can cause fires. Always use UL approved items and avoid the use of octopus plugs.
- Electrical Appliances & Food Preparation: Check the Student Handbook for a summary of appliances approved for use in residence halls. Never leave approved appliances unattended and unplug them after each use.
- Open Flames: Candles (whether functional or decorative), incense and flammable liquids are prohibited in the residence halls.
- Trash: Trash should not be allowed to accumulate because it may cause a fire or block your exit in the event of an emergency.
- Obstacles: Leaving bikes or furniture in doorways, corridors or stairwells creates a fire safety hazard and is defined as a blocked means of exit.
- Propping of Fire Doors: Fire doors should be kept closed at all times. This prevents the stairways from acting as a chimney and spreading smoke and fire through the building. PROPPING OR BLOCKING FIRE DOORS is dangerous and a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
Crime Prevention and Hall Safety
As students you must take an active role in the security of your residence halls. This is your home – treat it as if it is your home. Don’t let people do things in the residence halls that you wouldn’t want them to do at your own home.
- You should report all incidents involving vandalism, theft, damage or persons in the residence hall that are not escorted or are suspicious in nature.
- When leaving your residence hall room, whether it is to visit a next-door neighbor or to use the restroom, always lock the door and take the key. Lock your door, even if you only plan on being gone a few minutes.
- Avoid keeping high value items and large amounts of cash in your residence. For valued items you do keep on hand, keep them out of sight and well hidden. The same procedure applies to your checkbook and your unused check supply as well.
- Engrave items of value and be sure to maintain a record of serial numbers of such items as personal computers, TVs radios, stereos, answering machines, cameras, etc. A copy of this record should also be maintained at another offsite location. You should engrave your driver’s license number and State on items. Driver’s license numbers are easier for police to track
- Don’t let strangers in the building or allow them to “tailgate” or follow you through after you open the door.
- Do not lend your room key, residence hall key or prop open doors. The residence hall is like your home; nobody should enter either one without you wanting them there.
- Entrance doors to the residence halls should never be propped open. The locks are designed to allow only residents of the hall to have access. Propping doors open will allow non-residents to enter, jeopardizing your and everyone else’s safety.
- All visitors, student and non-student, are required at all times to be escorted while in a residence hall by the person they are visiting.
- All suspicious person(s) need to be reported immediately to your RA or Public Safety.
- All crimes need to be reported immediately to your RA, Res. Life Professional Staff members or Public Safety.
- Do not leave notes on your door stating that you are not there. That is an invitation for some unwanted person to enter your room.
- Keep your shades drawn when changing clothes or retiring for the night.