Fire Safety

Our residence halls include smoke detectors and sprinkler heads in student rooms, smoke detectors and sprinkler heads in every common area, and extinguishers in common areas of the halls.

Our alarm systems (and residents) will generally be tested with monthly drills, but everyone should assume any and every fire alarm is real. You should familiarize yourself with the locations of pull stations, extinguishers, and areas of rescue assistance (if applicable) in your hall.

To help minimize the risk of fire, residents are expected to comply with prohibitions of smoking, candles, incense, and various appliances that are disallowed, especially toaster ovens, hot plates, grills, and George Foreman grills as well as others (see What should I bring? for more information).

Rooms are entered monthly by the Public Safety staff for inspection of fire safety equipment and code compliance. 

In Case of Fire

If there is a fire in your room, first, activate the nearest pull station and call 911. Report the fire’s location to emergency personnel in the lobby as you leave the hall.

It may be possible to extinguish a very small fire in a microwave or trashcan by smothering it with a pan lid or non-flammable substance like baking soda or water (do not use water on an electrical or stovetop fire). If there is an extinguisher nearby, use it only if you have been trained to do so. 

Every fire, even if extinguished easily, must be reported to Public Safety.

If the fire is too big to put out with a single extinguisher or if you have any doubts about your ability to put it out, leave your room, closing the door behind you. Activate the nearest pull station and call 911. Report the fire’s location to emergency personnel in the lobby as you leave the hall.

Fire Extinguisher Training is available on Public Safety's page. 


In the event of any general fire alarm, evacuation is required. Always evacuate for every fire alarm.  Failing to evacuate or hiding is very dangerous, as a fire may not always be evident.  In addition, staff will check all rooms after a fire alarm has ended to assure compliance.  Failing to evacuate may result in criminal and judicial charges and only forces your neighbors to stand outside even longer.

  • When a general alarm sounds, quickly get a coat, shoes, and your keys and ID. 
  • Don't worry about grabbing other belongings, your safety is the priority. 
  • Look through the viewer of your room door to check the hall for smoke or fire. 
  • Feel your room door with the back of your hand. 
  • If the door is cool and you do not see any smoke or fire in the area, exit your room, lock your door, and leave the building using the nearest stairwell. 
  • Never use elevators in a fire alarm. 
  • Proceed directly outside. 
  • Lock your door. 
  • There is no guest check-out conducted during fire alarms; guests and hosts undergo a re-check upon re-entry following the alarm.

If you are unable to evacuate your room because of smoke or fire in the hallway, follow these steps.

  • Close your room door. 
  • Call 911 and report your location. 
  • Follow any instructions from the dispatcher. 
  • Otherwise, stay in the room and low to the ground, where air is fresher. 
  • Block the gap under your door and vents with wet towels or other cloth. 
  • Open your room drapes or blinds. 
  • If you are on the ground floor, evacuate through the window. 
  • If you are on any other floor, hang an item like a sheet or towel from your window to draw attention to yourself and wait for further assistance from the fire department.
  • In Campus Rec Center Hall, you should evacuate to the nearest area of rescue assistance, typically marked on a stairwell landing. You should familiarize yourself with these locations in advance.

Resetting Smoke Detectors

If your room smoke detector sounds and there is no evidence of smoke or fire, notify the front desk of your hall for assistance in resetting the detector. Sometimes detectors can be activated by nearby steam, hairspray, or other airborne substances.