COVID-19 Updates: Fall Semester

Campus fire safety is a serious concern.  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), from 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 4,100 structure fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and other related properties. These fires caused annual averages of 35 civilian injuries and $14 million in direct property damage.  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. For the complete list of fire safety systems in the residence halls, see the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report located at:

In order to ensure the safety of our residents, Residential Life conducts a Fire Safety Inspection for all new and returning students soon after they arrive on campus. The Department of Public Safety conducts 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.

Fire Safety Regulations are found in the Housing Regulations section of the College Handbook.

In the event of a fire, or if you smell smoke:

  1. Pull the alarm (if a fire alarm box can be safely reached). If that is not possible, call 911.
  2. Evacuate the building and go to your building’s muster point.
  3. Do not re-enter the building until told to do so by the appropriate authority (Fire, Police, Department of Public Safety, Environmental Health and Safety, or Facilities Services).

Refer to Middlebury College’s Emergency Response page for guidelines on evacuations ( and other emergencies (