Campus fire safety is a serious concern. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, over 1,700 fires a year occur in residential housing, causing $2.8 million in damage every year. Tragic fires at Ohio University, Ohio State, Seton Hall, Chapel Hill, Bloomsburg, and other universities and colleges have brought an increased awareness to the importance of fire safety in student housing.
Keeping students safe is a primary goal of residential life. All of the large residence halls 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.
In order to ensure the safety of our residents, Resdiential Life conducts a Fire Safety Inspection for all new and returning students soon after they arrive on campus. The Department of Public Safety conducts also two unannounced fire drills during the academic year - one in each term.
All of the large residence halls sprinkler systems 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 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.
- Do not hang anything from a sprinkler apparatus.
- Only two walls of any room may be draped. Ceilings may not be covered with tapestries. Other wall hangings and posters may be prohibited if a fire hazard is created.
- Appliances that have exposed heating elements, such as toasters, hot plates, electric frying pans or grills, and irons without automatic shutoffs may not be used in student rooms.
- Only small, dorm-sized, Energy Star-rated refrigerators and microwaves are permitted.
- Use of fire, or lighting a fire without an authorized fire permit, inside or outside of buildings, other than smoking in authorized outdoor spaces, is prohibited.
- Tampering with fire safety equipment is prohibited and subject to fines. Fire- safety equipment includes fire alarms, extinguishers, and hydrants, smoke detectors, smoke detector batteries, carbon monoxide detectors, and sprinklers.
- Several College residence halls and lounges have working fireplaces. Fires in fireplaces should never be unattended and there should always be a fire extinguisher present in the vicinity when there is any fire in the fireplace. The use of chemical fire starters 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.
- String lights are not permitted.
Do not tamper with smoke detectors or fire alarm equipment; they could save your life.
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.