Fire Hazards and Violations

  • Hazardous electrical items - Hotplates, toaster ovens, toasters, electric heaters (unless provided by the University), any item with a heating coil (i.e. sandwich and grill makers and non-UL approved appliances) are all strictly prohibited. These items have heated exposed surfaces which have caused fires in the past. Appliances which can be used in individual rooms, but cannot be left plugged in unattended include curling irons, coffee makers, irons, and hot pots. A violation for these items occurs when an appliance is left plugged in and unattended.
  • Overloaded electrical receptacles or extension cords - An individual room having multiple plugs leading to the same outlet causing more than 15 amps of power to be drawn is dangerous and should be avoided. This situation is usually caused by too many plugs in one outlet. Power strips, splitters, or cube taps are acceptable, but only if they have a fuse or circuit breaker. Power strips may not be plugged into a normal extension cord. The power strip cord must be of construction-grade quality, and it must have a ground plug (a third prong). A power strip may not be plugged into another power strip or splitting device. Extension cords may not be connected in a manner that allows too many appliances to be plugged into the same outlet causing more than 15 amps of power to be drawn. No electrical cords of any sort, other than phone cords, speaker wires, and cable wires, are to be run underneath a rug. 
  • Microwaves and refrigerators - Microwaves and refrigerators require a construction-grade extension cord (generally the same size or larger than the units own cord) or needs to be plugged directly into an outlet or a fused power strip; they cannot be plugged into a splitter unless the splitter has a fuse. If an adaptor is used for a power strip or extension cord, the ground lead must be connected. Refrigerators no larger than 5.0 cubic feet and 35 inches in height are allowed. Microwaves with a power consumption of 1000 watts (i.e. approximately a 600 watt power rated unit) or less are allowed.
  • Flammable materials - Flammable items such as the following are not allowed in the halls: stain, flammable cleaning solvents, butane, propane torches, gasoline, camping or cooking fuels, oil lamps, oil candles, and kerosene lamps. Candles, wax tarts, incense, and incense paraphernalia are not allowed for any reason. Lit candles, tarts, and incense have caused serious room fires in the past. No exceptions will be made for cut wicks or removed wicks.  
  • Excessive combustible materials on wall or door - No more than 50% of a single wall surface can be covered. If you use wall posters or hangings, they should be used sparingly, covering no more than one-half of the surface on each wall (this does not include furniture against the wall). This precaution eliminates excess combustible material which could cause fires to spread. 
  • Bed too close to ceiling - A clearance of 30 inches from the ceiling to the top of the mattress is required to allow adequate breathing space in case of fire or smoke that may enter the room. Any loft or stilt bed that does not comply must be fixed immediately and lowered to meet clearance guidelines. 
  • Items overhead - The room overhead area must be kept clean and clear at all times. Items cannot be hung from wall to wall or suspended from the ceiling, ceiling pipes running horizontally, electrical conduit, lights, smoke detectors, etc. This includes Christmas lights on pipes and anything hanging overhead. All wall hangings and decorations must completely touch the wall. This precaution prevents the possibility of materials falling down on a person during a fire. 
  • Heater clearance, 6 inches - A 6 inch-8inch air space between the electric heater unit and furniture is required. While it seems unlikely, a number of room fires have started due to items placed too close to the heater unit. Halls with electric heat are Stoke, Hubbard, Babcock, Christensen, and Williamson.
  • Smoke detector tampered with - Do not touch the smoke detector under any circumstance. If you suspect it to be malfunctioning, talk to your R.A. immediately. There is a $100 fine for covering, defacing, or tampering in any way with this device.
  • Egress (exit) obstruction - All pathways to room doors and windows must be kept clear. This policy is most often in violation when a resident has to push an item to the side in order to exit a room door or window. Examples of this would be furniture preventing the room door from opening a full 90 degrees, items hanging down to enclose a sleeping space, etc.
  • Halogen-type bulbs - Any style lamp with a halogen-type bulb cannot be used in the residence halls. The intense heat generated by such lamps can and have caused fires.
  • Other - Other violations can range from lounge furniture in rooms to pets. For exact policy explanations in this situtation, please see your Hall Director or call Housing Facilities and Operation at 603-862-4469.