Fire Safety Enforcement
These fire- and life-safety standards are intended to assist you with basic starting points in decorating your living area. Variations of personal likes and needs are endless and cannot all be covered in written standards. Your Resident Assistant (RA), Assistant Residence Director (ARD), or Residence Director (RD) can provide you with answers to specific questions that may not have been covered here. If you have questions or concerns about what may or may not be appropriate or allowable, please ASK FIRST. Your residence hall staff may be very helpful in providing or obtaining the correct information for you before any unnecessary time or expense has been generated. Enforcement of the fire- and life-safety standards is everyone’s responsibility. Your residence hall staff and other University health and safety officials will be involved in observing and monitoring all standards. Periodic inspections of student rooms help promote fire- and life- safety awareness, as well as identifying any noncompliance of safety standards. Housing & Dining Services works in conjunction with the Poudre Fire Authority in evaluating fire- and life-safety issues. The Poudre Fire Authority (Fort Collins Fire Department) and Colorado State University Police Department may also be involved when more difficult interpretations are required. Your cooperation in changing or removing any unsuitable materials or life threatening conditions is appreciated. When a fire alarm is activated all residents, guests, and staff are to evacuate the building immediately. NO EXCEPTIONS!
Fire Safety in Student Rooms
Most residence hall fires are caused by candles, open-flame cooking equipment, or overtaxed electrical systems. Toxic gases in smoke, usually caused by burning plastic, can render a person unconscious in a few seconds. To make your room fire-safe, you must follow the guidelines: Smoking is not allowed in any of the residence halls.
- Door Decorations Minimize posters and pictures on your door. These items are combustible. The doors act as a barrier in the event of a fire, and combustible materials attached to the door could get hot enough to ignite and spread fire into your room.
- Ceiling Decorations NO ceiling attachments
- Wall Decorations Posters and wall hangings are acceptable. Cloth wall hangings, however, must be treated with fire retardant and cannot cover more than 20% of wall space in the room as determined by HDS staff.
- Halogen Lamp Halogen lamps ARE PROHIBITED.
- Candles and Open Flames Due to fire safety and the Poudre Fire Authority’s adoption of the 2006 International Fire Code, candles (including unburned or decorative) and any items with an open flame or exposed heating coils are Not Allowed in residence hall rooms. Incense burning is also not permitted.
- Flammable Liquids Kerosene, butane fuel or torches, gasoline, lighter fluid, and other flammable liquids are NOT permitted in the residence halls.
- Appliances The misuse and illegal use of electrical appliances create serious hazards in residence halls. Only safe, relatively low-wattage appliances are permitted in your room. These include hair dryers, shavers, hot curlers, study lamps, radios, televisions, DVD and CD players, electric blankets, thermostatically controlled coffee makers, popcorn poppers, small microwave ovens, and compact refrigerators. Do not cook with open flames or coils (no toasters, toaster ovens, or electric coil cook tops) and do not leave food in an appliance unattended. Fires have even been caused by popcorn burning in a microwave! Additionally, swamp coolers, window air conditioners, and similar appliances are prohibited due to the excessive electrical draw on room/building circuits and issues of proper venting that creates a hazard.
- Electrical Fixtures Electrical light fixtures are not to be modified in any way. If additional outlets are needed, special multiple-outlet boxes with built-in breakers can be purchased at a hardware store. Each power strip used must be plugged into a wall outlet – do not plug power strips into other power strips. Appliances such as microwaves and refrigerators must be plugged directly into a wall outlet, not an extension cord or power strip.
- Holiday Decorations Party and holiday decorations have contributed to fire damage and loss of life in residence halls around the country. Therefore, only artificial trees are permitted in student rooms or lounges. Holiday lights cannot block access to the room by the doorway or the windows. They cannot be hung from the ceiling. Flameproof materials are available at local retailers.
- Social Gatherings in Private Rooms: Must be contained entirely within the room and comply with maximum occupancy limits and Quiet and Courtesy Hour guidelines.
In emergencies, panic can be your worst enemy. To reduce panic, plan ahead. Before an emergency arises, make sure you know the location of exits and your meeting area (check with your RA). In a fire situation:
- Don’t panic; stay as calm as possible. You will need to think clearly to make the right decisions.
- Feel the door knob with the back of your hand or palm to test for heat.
- If the door is cool, brace yourself against it, and open it slowly to check for flames and/or smoke.
- If there is smoke in the air, stay low and move quickly in a crouched position or crawl to the nearest exit.
- The most breathable air is always near the floor.
- If one exit is blocked, try the next nearest exit.
- Alert others by shouting or knocking on doors as you make your way to the stairs.
- Always escape via stairs – never use elevators.
- Once you evacuate, report to your meeting area
- Follow directions of fire and police personnel, and never re-enter the building until authorized.
Failure to evacuate a building is taken very seriously by the Department of Housing & Dining Services and could result in disciplinary action. There are fire evacuation diagrams and fire extinguishers located on every floor as well as in the main office of each residence hall. Please take time to familiarize yourself with the locations of fire exits, fire extinguishers, and pull-alarm stations in your residence hall. Tampering with fire extinguishers can leave you and others unprotected in case of a fire. Please remember, false alarms could reduce the response of residents when a fire occurs. If hall residents can’t trust the legitimacy of the fire alarm, they may find themselves trapped by fire in a real emergency. Abuse of fire equipment, false alarms, and arson are serious crimes. Violators are subject to fines, University disciplinary procedures, and criminal prosecution.
If You are Trapped During a Fire
If the door to your room is hot to the touch and/or smoke is seeping in around it, don’t open it. Remain calm! The walls, ceilings, floors, and doors of your room are designed with fire safety rated materials which allow for some fire resistance and therefore time to summon help. Pack the space under the door with wet towels, sheets, or clothing to keep the smoke out. Open the window (if you are on the first floor, you may be able to escape safely). Let people know that you are trapped. Dial 911 if possible, wave a towel, sheet, etc. out your window, and yell. Stay low on the floor near the window. Placing a wet handkerchief or towel over your face and head is helpful in smoke-filled rooms. Remember that few people burn to death in fires. Most people die from smoke or poisonous gas inhalation. Often, this results from panic caused by lack of knowledge. So, plan ahead and be prepared! Knowing your escape route and the location of your meeting area, as well as following the Fire Safety guidelines, is your best defense.