Fire Safety

All of the large dormitories have sprinklers and fire alarm systems that communicate directly to the Department of Public Safety. Some small residential houses on campus have local smoke alarm systems that do not communicate directly with the Department of Public Safety. Some of these smaller houses do not have sprinkler systems. The Department of Public Safety conducts two fire drills during the academic year. One drill is conducted in each residence hall during the fall term and one in the spring term.

All of the large dorms have sprinkler systems that are tested monthly. All of the fire alarm systems are tested and cleaned annually. College technicians respond to every reported alarm or system trouble and will test or repair to insure the system is 100% functional. Smoke detector batteries are changed annually. Exit signs, emergency lights and fire extinguishers are tested annually. Custodians, night watchman and Public Safety officers are all involved in regular checks of fire safety equipment in all buildings on campus.

To help prevent fires, please observe the following guidelines:

• Keep room entries, exits and hallways clear and free of potential obstructions, such as boxes, bicycles and mattresses.

• Do not overload outlets – plug one appliance into an outlet at a time.

• Avoid using extension cords whenever possible.

• The use of hot plates, toasters or cooking appliances in your dorm room is prohibited.

• Do not hang anything from a sprinkler apparatus.

• Do not build or place anything over the room radiator that will interfere with the free flow of air around the radiator.

• Always leave magnifying mirrors face down so they will not magnify sunlight.

• The use of candles, halogen lamps, and portable heaters is prohibited.

• Avoid hanging lights and paper together in your room. Do not hang lights or streamers on the side of doors facing corridors.

• No Smoking Allowed.

• For office spaces that are permitted to have a Christmas tree, make sure it is properly treated and keep it away from heat sources. Tree lights must be turned off before you leave your office. Christmas trees are not permitted in student rooms or suites.


In the event of fire:

• If you smell smoke or detect a fire, activate the nearest alarm and call 911 immediately from a safe location.

• Before opening any door, use the back of your hand to see if it is hot. Also check to see if the doorknob is hot. If either is hot, leave the door closed and stuff towels or clothes in the cracks and open a window. Try another exit if one is available.

• If the door is not hot, open it slowly and be prepared to close it quickly if necessary.

• In a smoke filled area, keep low to the floor to escape the smoke.

• If you see or smell smoke in a hall or stairway, use another exit.

• Exit the building cautiously. Carry a towel or blanket to protect you from flames or smoke.

• If the exit is blocked, return to your room; close the door, open a window and call for help.

• Do not use elevators in cases of fire.

• Know all the exits and evacuation plans for your building.

Remember: Do not tamper with smoke detectors or fire alarm equipment…they could save your life.

Middlebury College has many types of fire systems on campus that are maintained and tested by Facilities Services.

Fire Systems Descriptions:

The list of fire systems by building is located in Appendix C of this handbook.  Facilities Services personnel and Public Safety are all involved in regular checks of fire safety equipment in all buildings on campus.  Below, you will find the descriptions of the fire systems on campus.

Addressable: More advanced than the conventional zone model. Has the capability to give clear descriptions of where the fire is located. Each device will have its own address and the panel knows the status of each device.

Conventional Zone: Older style system used in small buildings. With this system you cannot tell which device has been activated within a zone. You are given a brief zone description and the fire could exist anywhere in that zone.

Unsupervised: Battery operated smoke detectors not connected to a fire panel. This type would be seen in small houses.