Fire Safety

View the ‌Annual Campus Crime & Fire Safety Report 2018

Frank Novak
University Fire Marshal & Emergency Management Trainer
Tel: 203-396-8211

Building Fire Safety Systems

All University buildings are equipped with fire safety systems. In addition, all on-campus dorms have sprinkler systems, pull stations, horn/strobe audible alarms, smoke and heat detectors and fire extinguishers.

Fire Alarms

Every time any building fire alarm sounds, you must immediately evacuate the building, regardless of what may have caused the alarm.

Activated Fire Alarms, Notification to the Department of Public Safety

For all on-campus buildings, whenever a fire alarm system is activated, a signal is received at the Public Safety Dispatch Center. Public Safety Officers are immediately dispatched to respond and quickly determine the cause of the alarm. If it is determined there is no smoke or fire, the local fire department is not called. However, if an entire residence facility is in full alarm, the fire department is called to respond.

Residence Hall Fire Drills

Fire drills are conducted each semester in each residence facility. The local fire department is invited, and frequently participates in these drills. All rooms are searched to insure full evacuation. Anyone who does not promptly evacuate is referred to the Dean of Students for disciplinary action.

False Fire Alarms

Causing a false fire alarm is not only against University policy and an inconvenience to everyone in the building, it is also a crime. The University takes this very seriously, and will act swiftly and severely with anyone who causes a false fire alarm. Those found responsible for causing a false fire alarm are charged by the local police department with Criminal Mischief, are processed by the court system, and are referred to the Dean of Students for disciplinary action.

Tampering with Fire Safety Equipment

Tampering with any fire safety equipment, whether it is a pull station, smoke or heat detector, sprinkler head, horn/strobe unit or fire extinguisher, is also a crime and against University policy. Your life is too valuable to have someone tamper with fire safety equipment in your residence facility; don't allow yourself to be put in jeopardy.

Escaping a Fire

If there is a fire in your room, get out immediately and close the door. Once out, call Public Safety at 7911. If there is a fire in your building, feel your door before opening it; if it feels hot, do not open it. Seal the cracks around it with sheets or clothes to prevent smoke from entering. If the outside air is clean, open the window and wave a sheet to attract rescuers. Use the phone to call Public Safety. If the door is cool, open it, leave and close it behind you. Proceed to the nearest exit. If there is smoke in the hallway, stay low where the air is freshest. A wet cloth over your will also help you to breathe. Never use elevators during a fire. Know more than one way out of the building. Remember, leave the building immediately. Don't try to save your possessions; it could cost you your life.

Keep Stairwells and Hallways Clear

All corridors, stairwells and public areas must be kept free of obstructions. Be sure that no furniture or University or personal belongings are left in the hallways.

Fire Doors Must Remain Closed

Hallway, stairwell and residence room doors are considered fire doors and are there to protect you from smoke and flame. These doors are “fire rated” to provide such protection. However, they are of no value if they are propped open, allowing heat, smoke or flames to travel down the hallway or into another area. Be sure that all fire doors are always closed.

Prohibited in Seton, Merton and Roncalli Halls

All open flame devices, including candles, incense and oil-burning lamps, are prohibited. Also prohibited are hot plates, toaster ovens, electric frying pans, heating coils, electric blankets, and halogen floor lamps. All appliances must be UL listed. Cooking is not permitted in students' rooms; kitchenettes are provided on each floor for this purpose.


Decorations that pose a fire hazard and anything hung from the ceiling is prohibited. Draperies and tapestries must be rated flame resistant (NFPA 701). Doorways and all egresses must be kept free and clear at all times. Excessive decorations, and decorations that are deemed to pose a potential fire hazard (type of material, flammability) are prohibited.

Holiday Decorations

Because they are highly combustible, natural Christmas trees and wreaths are prohibited. All holiday lighting must be UL listed and approved. Holiday decorations that are considered excessive or a potential fire safety hazard are prohibited.

Wall Hangings

The standard of not more than 20% of the available wall space used for wall hangings must be adhered to. Anything that is highly combustible or flammable is prohibited.

Extension Cords 

The only extension cords allowed are UL listed surge protected, with built-in circuit breakers. Extension cords must never be overloaded or placed across the room threshold, under rugs or anywhere they can be stepped on.


The only appliances allowed in the residence halls are coffee makers, popcorn poppers and hot pots. Open heating devices are not allowed.


All hallways and stairwells must be kept free and clear and allow for the smooth flow of occupants at all times. Property may not be stored or placed in these areas. Any items found in these areas will be confiscated.

Prohibited Items May be Confiscated

Items that are prohibited from the residence halls and deemed to be a fire hazard may be confiscated by the Residential Life or Public Safety staffs.

Fireworks and Fuel

The possession, use or sale of fireworks is illegal and against University policy. Any fuel, including but not limited to kerosene, gasoline, propane and charcoal lighter fluid is strictly prohibited in any University residence hall or apartment.

National Fire Prevention Association Facts

  • In 1998, there were an estimated 1,380 structure fires in school, college and university dormitories and fraternity and sorority housing. These fires resulted in 87 injuries and $5.8 million in direct property damage. From 1994 to 1998, there were 16 fire-related deaths on campuses.
  • The leading cause of fire in these types of occupancies was incendiary or suspicious. The 2nd and 3rd leading causes of these on and off campus housing fires were cooking and smoking, respectively. 
  • An annual average of 141 structure fires occurred in fraternity and sorority houses per year between 1994 and 1998, resulting in 17 injuries and $2.8 million in direct property damage. 
  • Smoke or fire alarms were present in 93% of all dormitory fires in 1998, and sprinklers were present in 35% of these fires. On average, direct property damage per fire is 41% lower in dormitory fires where sprinklers are present, compared to those where sprinklers are not present.

Fire Safety: It's everyone's responsibility.