Fire Safety Policy
The following regulations are intended to prevent injuries to members of the University community and physical damage to facilities. Rooms are inspected periodically, at random times, to assure compliance with University regulations.
Because of the seriousness of the regulations that cover fire safety and the use of exterior elevated surfaces of campus buildings, the University takes disciplinary action on the first offense. Such actions may include the imposition of a fine by the Housing Department.
The University has the right, moreover, to require students who violate these safety rules to vacate their accommodations with no financial credit for the remainder of the semester. For clarification of any safety violation, students should consult the Housing Inspection Office.
The New Jersey Hotels and Multiple Dwelling Act, and University policy, prohibit cooking in dormitory rooms. Since they are used only to cook food, student-owned microwaves are not permitted anywhere in dormitories. Microwaves found there are confiscated, and fines are levied. (See item #1 of the Fire Safety Policy for further information concerning electrical appliances.) Any suggestions for the placement of additional items on the authorized list should be submitted to the Undergraduate Residence Committee.
FIRE SAFETY POLICY
- No heat-producing electrical appliances are permitted in University dormitories, inclusive of student rooms, except for certain authorized items. The only exceptions to this rule are locked, limited-access kitchens, locked cabinets in open kitchens, and the private kitchens in some suites. Appliances found elsewhere in the dormitories, including those found in open dormitory kitchens, are confiscated, and fines are levied. Possession of appliances in sealed cartons will incur a warning on the first inspection. Their continued presence during subsequent inspections will incur a $100 fine. (This fine can be incurred whether it is the original cited appliance or another appliance in a sealed carton.) Authorized heat-producing appliances may not be left on while unattended or used in any hazardous manner. Authorized items are irons, electric blankets, hair dryers, hair curlers, and clothes steamers. Also certain coffee makers, kettles, hot air corn poppers and iced tea makers are authorized. A complete list of authorized appliances with model numbers is listed at http://www.princeton.edu/us/housing/inspections/fire_safety/authorized/. Please be sure not only to get the correct manufacturer, but also to get the correct model.
- Halogen lamps found in dormitories will be considered an unauthorized heat-producing appliance and will be treated as any other unauthorized heat-producing appliance. Halogen lamps will be confiscated and a fine of $50 per lamp assessed for the first violation; $100 per lamp for the second violation. No warning is issued before fines are levied.
- Unauthorized space heaters are not permitted. They will be confiscated and a fine of $50 per heater assessed for the first violation; $100 per heater for the second violation. No warning is issued before fines are levied.
- Intentional activation of a fire alarm when there is no fire emergency is prohibited.
- Fire extinguishers are not to be removed from their proper locations or discharged unless there is a true fire emergency. Anyone found tampering with a fire extinguisher is subject to disciplinary action and fined $100 per extinguisher or per student, whichever is greater. Building Services maintains and services portable fire extinguishers. Students are asked to report vandalism and/or discharged fire extinguishers to Customer Service at 8-8000.
- Smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, and carbon monoxide detectors must not be covered or blocked. Tampering with any component of the smoke detection system, sprinkler system, and/or carbon monoxide detector is prohibited. Absolutely nothing may be attached to wiring, smoke detectors, sprinkler system components, and/or carbon monoxide detectors. Students will be charged for repair and/or replacement of any detection device.
- Flammable holiday decorations such as live trees, wreaths made from pine boughs, and untreated bunting are not permitted in University housing units. Inspectors will dispose of flammable decorations found in the dormitories. A fine of $25 is assessed for every live tree, wreath, bunting or garland found in a dormitory. The student is expected to remove a tree as soon as possible, and no later than the start of the next business day. Failure to do so will result in the tree being removed and the expense for doing so will be billed to the student.
- Room entry doors, fire doors and any door with a closing and latching mechanism must not be propped open or disabled. Students are charged for repair and replacement of closing mechanisms, latch/lockset mechanisms and/or other door mechanisms or parts including the door.
- Nothing is allowed to block, even partially, any means of egress. Waterbottles, clothing, furniture, or any other items may not be placed in hallways and/or stairwells. All items must be kept in the room or in storage. Egress doors must be able to open fully with nothing blocking the swing of the door. Major items such as furniture or boxes blocking the doors will be immediately subject to fines. Lesser items, such as clothing or paper, will receive a warning and an explanation before any fine is issued.
- Tampering with safety seals on any egress door is prohibited.
- Alcohol lamps, oil lamps, fireworks, flammable or combustible materials such as gasoline, kerosene, propane, lighter fluid, charcoal products, or similar substances are not permitted in any student housing unit. Grills are prohibited as is grilling without the permission of the University. Candles/incense are not permitted in any undergraduate housing unit. These items will be confiscated and disposed of immediately on the first violation. If a candle cannot be easily removed from its holder/ container/receptacle, all parts will be confiscated and disposed of.
- Exterior elevated areas (fire escapes, roofs, parapets, etc.) of dormitories are designed to be used as a second means of egress in an emergency. No items may be placed in these areas at any time under any circumstances. No items, including antennae, wires, lights, banners, etc. may be placed on or affixed to the exterior of any building.
- Safety signs, evacuation signs, and markings are not to be altered, defaced, destroyed, covered, or removed.
- Only University electrical wiring is allowed in dormitory rooms with the following exceptions: UL listed, fused power strips with cords of 12 feet or less may be used. Power strips may not be used in series to gain greater length, and ceiling fixtures may not be installed. Electrical cords must not be routed unsafely (under carpets, in pathways, through doorways, taped down, etc.). Spliced, taped, or frayed cords must not be used. Non-breaker multi-outlet devices such as adapters, cubes, etc., are prohibited. Dimmer switches may not be installed.
- Nothing may be affixed to any window or egress door (room entry door, bedroom door, hallway door, etc.).
- Tapestries or other wall coverings must be hung vertically and must be at least 18 inches from any heat source (electrical outlets and/or switches, lights, etc.). Nothing may be hung from the ceiling. Tapestries, posters, fabric items, and lights may not be draped from walls but must be installed fast to them. Unframed paper, tapestries, fabric items, plastic, or other easily ignitable materials may not be hung near operating fireplaces. At least six inches of space must be left between wall hangings.
- Excessively disorderly conditions and the storage of excessive amounts of paper, trash, or recyclables are prohibited. Trash and recycling containers should only be placed in hallways for disposal. Trash and recycling containers must not be kept in hallways or stairwells.
- Refrigerators or freezers that do not conform to University standards may not be kept in the dormitories and will be removed. Students are permitted either one refrigerator or one freezer. No student may have both. Students should consult the Housing Inspection Office for information regarding appropriate specifications.
- No paneling or partitions are to be installed by students.
- No motorized vehicles (motorbikes, mopeds, motorcycles, and scooters) may be stored or parked in or near a dormitory. Students wishing to park their vehicles should contact the Parking Office.
- Hazardous conditions not anticipated by specific reference in the Fire Safety Policy are prohibited. Such conditions are specifically identified, and an opportunity is provided to correct them before any fine is assessed, unless they present a clear and present danger, in which case immediate appropriate action will be taken and a fine imposed accordingly.
Fire Safety violations listed above result in the following fines:
- Regulations 1, 2, and 3
Electrical appliances, space heaters, and torchiere halogen lamps: $50 fine per appliance/heater/lamp for the first violation. $100 fine per appliance/heater/lamp for the second violation. No
warning is issued before fines are levied.
Misuse of authorized appliances (irons, electric blankets, hair dryers, hair curlers, clothes steamers, and designated models of kettles, popcorn poppers and coffee makers): A warning is issued on the first offense. Subsequent violations result in confiscation and a fine.
- Regulation 4
$100 fine. No warning is issued before fines.
- Regulation 5
$100 fine per extinguisher or per student, whichever is greater.
- Regulation 6
$50 fine. No warning is issued before fines and possible disciplinary action by the dean’s office.
- Regulations 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, and 13
$25 fine. No warning is issued before fines.
- Regulation 11
Unlit candle first offense incurs a $50 fine and possible disciplinary action by the dean's office. Lit candle first offense incurs a $100 fine and disciplinary action by the dean's office. Fireworks first offense incurs a $50 fine and disciplinary action by the dean's office. Flammable liquids first offense incurs a $50 fine and possible disciplinary action by the dean's office.
- Regulations 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21. If it is still not corrected, or if a fourth violation occurs anywhere in the same suite, an additional fine of $100 is assessed.
A warning is issued to all occupants of the room or suite when the violation is first identified. If the violation is not corrected, or if a second violation of the same regulation occurs anywhere in the same suite, a fine of $25 is assessed. If it is still not corrected, or if a third violation occurs anywhere in the same suite, an additional fine of $50 is assessed.
The total amount of fine(s) incurred by a room will be charged to each occupant. If an occupant accepts sole responsibility for a fine, that occupant would only be fined the single fine amount (not the multiplied amount).
If violations persist after the above fines are assessed, other penalties follow, including additional fines, termination of the housing contract with no financial credit, denial of permission to reside in University housing in future years, and University discipline through the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students.
After every fire safety inspection, the inspection results will be electronically transmitted to every occupant.
In order to ensure that students are complying with the University's Fire Code, the Housing Department conducts periodic inspections of dormitory rooms. These are necessary to guarantee safe living conditions for the many students that the University houses. The procedures that the inspectors follow when doing inspections are listed below.
This set of procedures is intended to cause the least amount of inconvenience to students, while still giving the inspectors a chance to do their jobs effectively. In the same way that students may expect the inspectors to be courteous and reasonable, so are the students expected to treat the inspectors in the same, professional manner. The inspectors are open to discussion about why a certain situation is unsafe and in conflict with the Fire Code, but are not the proper authorities with whom to dispute a fine. If students have additional questions about the Fire Code or a particular fine, they should contact the Inspection Manager, Kenneth Paulaski.
- Inspections shall be conducted no earlier than 10:00 a.m.
- Inspectors shall follow this procedure:
- Announce their presence by knocking loudly on the entrance door and saying: "Fire Safety Inspection; may I come in?"
- If there is no response, insert the key in the door. Knock again after opening the door just enough to identify themselves again. If there is no response, they should enter the room.
- If there are closed bedroom doors, they should knock and ask to come in before inspecting them. They may enter if there is no response.
- If in any instance there is an answer and the occupant asks them to wait, they should wait for the occupant to open the door. They may suggest to the occupant that he/she stay covered up in bed, and enter if the occupant clearly agrees to this.
- If the occupant refuses them entrance completely, they should inform the occupant thusly: "I must report your refusal to the Dean's Office."
- If the student is not home, inspectors should take care to leave the room as they found it. If the door was locked, they should relock it. If the door was unlocked, it will be locked, and the situation noted on the inspection report.
- While inspecting the students' rooms, inspectors should be courteous to the students and respectful of their belongings.
- If there are any infractions, inspectors may explain to the student how and why the situation is in violation of policy, and suggest possible remedies. Explanation must be given if requested.
- If the student believes that the situation is not in violation of the code, the inspector should listen and consider the student's explanation. The student should then be invited to call the number on the form if they have additional questions. Inspectors are neither obliged nor encouraged to engage the student in debate over the violation.
- The inspector shall leave the student a notice of confiscation or notice of inspection.
The Housing Department recognizes that difficulties with the fire inspection process may occur. Below is the description of the appeals process that should be followed if students feel they have a serious concern to address.
- Students who wish to submit a procedures-related appeal or dispute a fine over a particular interpretation of policy must go to the Housing Department in the Macmillan Building to submit an appeals form. Students have five business days to submit an appeal. Forms may be obtained from the Housing Department in person or at this link: Appeals Form
Fines of a purely factual nature cannot be appealed. (Factual fines are those given to students for such infractions as possession of an unauthorized appliance, storing fireworks or combustible liquids, or covering/blocking smoke detectors and/or sprinkler system.
- Appealable fines will not be charged to a student's account until five business days have passed and no appeal has been made, or the appeal has been processed by the Appeals Committee (The Committee).
- The Inspection Manager will respond in writing to each appeal made in the appropriate space on the appeals form, and attempt to resolve the issue if possible. The student will receive two copies of the appeal in campus mail, and if the student is still not satisfied with the action of the Inspection manager, the student may resubmit the appropriate copy to the Housing Department for review by the Committee. Students will have a period of two weeks to respond if not satisfied with the Inspection Manager's decision.
- The Appeals Committee shall consist of the following members, each of whom having one vote: the Associate Director of Housing, the Assistant Dean of Student Life responsible for housing, two members elected by and of the Undergraduate Residence Committee, and one of the graduate housing representatives elected from the Graduate Student Union. The Committee shall meet twice a month to review appeals. The Committee shall require a simple majority vote in reaching its decisions.
- The Committee may request individual interviews with the student and fire inspectors involved with a particular case to facilitate its decision. Failure to appear before the Committee if so requested will entail forfeiture of the appeal.
- Within a month of receiving the appeal, the Committee will make its decision to uphold, reduce, or waive the fine. The Director of Housing reserves the right to review and give final approval of the decision.
- The student will subsequently be apprised of the outcome of his/her appeal. The decision letter sent to the student will be considered final and binding.
Inspection Appeal Form
SECOND MEANS OF EGRESS
A number of rooms on the upper floors of several dormitory buildings have been provided with a second means of egress that is designed to be used as an emergency exit.
This second means of egress takes two forms:
- Emergency doors between suites on the same floor leading to a fire door in the adjoining suite and
- An emergency door connecting to a suite on the same floor that has a fire escape.
The route to be followed during an emergency is marked by a special symbol over those doors or windows that are part of the escape route. The symbol is a large green "e"; it must not be painted over or covered. The following is a list of additional regulations that govern emergency exit doors.
- No furniture or impediments may be placed on either side of any emergency doors at any time.
- The protective glass doorknob cover is a security device and may be broken or removed by students only in a true emergency situation.
- Residents are charged $100 for the replacement or reinstallation of knob covers that are broken or removed unless the University Department of Public Safety verifies that an emergency situation existed that justified such breakage. Tampering with or removing any University installed seals or breaking glass enclosures is prohibited.
- The glass doorknob cover that protects the second means of egress can be removed if all students affected by its removal approve. To have the cover removed, students must call the Housing Inspection Office. The charge for this service is $50, which absorbs the cost of the cover's removal and its reinstallation when the current occupants vacate the premises.
- No locks, slide bolts, hooks and eyes, chains, or other devices may be installed on any emergency door (including individual bedroom doors and those from which the glass cover has been removed) within suites that give access to any emergency door or fire escape serving that suite. The occupants of the suite are charged for the removal of any illegally installed impediments.
FIRE EVACUATION DRILLS
State law makes it necessary for us to institute regular, unannounced fire drills. Whether drills are conducted during the day or night, full cooperation in quickly and safely evacuating the buildings is expected. Since everyone's ultimate concern is life safety, noncompliance or failure to cooperate in any way will lead to disciplinary action.
Any student who fails to leave the building when a fire alarm sounds is fined $50 and is referred to the Office of the Dean of Student Life for University disciplinary action. Any student who again fails to leave the building during a subsequent drill may be required to vacate his or her dormitory accommodations permanently, with no financial credit given for the unelapsed term of the housing contract, or may have other appropriate disciplinary action taken against him or her.
Before a fire:
- Students should know the location of all fire extinguishers in their area.
- Students should know the location and route for their first and second means of egress.
- Students should keep fire doors closed.
Whether you sense a fire or the building fire alarm system is activated, put the evacuation plan into action.
Never ignore a fire alarm!
If a student suspects a fire or if the alarm sounds:
- Your first action should be to grab your room keys. Be sure to alert any other occupants of the room.
- Roll out of bed and crawl to the door. Stay low to avoid smoke and super heated gases that may have entered your room.
- Feel the doorknob or higher on the door with the back of your hand. If it feels hot, do not open it-the fire may be on the other side of the door. If it is not hot, open slowly.
If trapped on upper floors put a wet cloth under closed door to help prevent the spread of smoke. If you have a phone in your room dial 911 and tell the operator the following: Dorm name, room number, and that you are trapped in the room and need to be rescued. Stay on the phone until the fire department arrives at your room.
- Hang from the window by your hands and drop to the ground to shorten the height of the fall if you must escape through an upper-story window and there is no adjoining roof or fire escape. If you must break a window to crawl out, use a chair, a drawer, or a similar object. Throw a blanket over the windowsill to help protect you from broken glass while crawling out.
- If the hallway is clear of smoke, walk to the nearest fire exit and evacuate the building. Close your door behind you. Leave the fire fighting to the professionals.
- Pull the fire alarm on your way out of the building if the alarm horn is not already sounding.
- Call Public Safety at 911 from a safe place and report the nature and location of the fire.
- Do not attempt to extinguish a fire unless you are trained to do so.
- Do not return inside the building until instructed.