Fire Safety and Regulations

Fire Safety and Regulations

The following activities/items are prohibited on campus due to fire safety:

  • Playing with fire
  • Possession/lighting of fireworks, smoke bombs, explosives, or corrosive or flammable chemicals
  • Propane tanks of any size
  • Disposing of cigarettes negligently
  • Candles
  • Overloading electrical sockets
  • Medusa lamps (multi bulb lights)
  • Tampering with life safety devices:
    • Fire extinguishers
    • Smoke detectors
    • Fire alarms
    • Pull stations
    • Sprinklers (keep 18” clearance around sprinkler heads)
  • Possession and use of halogen lamps
  • Space heaters
  • Open flames, including pit fires, hibachis, chimeneas, and bonfires
  • Barbecue grills other than stationary, College provided are not permitted. Allow grills to cool down after use, discard ashes in provided containers.
  • Hoverboards, single wheel boards, Swagways, e-bikes or any similar device that is battery powered are prohibited in the residence halls due to the instability and potential fire hazards of the batteries and may not be stored or charged in any building on campus.
  • Approved appliances (microwaves and refrigerators) must be plugged into a wall outlet and may not be plugged into a power strip.

Evacuation Guidelines

In the event that a fire occurs in a building, the following guidelines will apply for all residence halls/houses:

  • Evacuate the building through the nearest available exit. Use the nearest stairway. Do not use elevators.
  • Sound the alarm to notify the residents of the residence hall. If there is no visible alarm in the building, warn the other occupants by knocking on doors and shouting as you exit the building.
  • Immediately place a call to the Fire Department by calling 9-1-1 and give them the location of the fire by building and floor.
  • Rooms should be closed, not locked.
  • Gather in your building’s identified gathering space. Spaces are announced to students during routine evacuation drills. If you are unsure of your designated gathering space, report to Wismer Lower.
  • Only use a fire extinguisher if the fire is very small and you know how to use it safely. If you cannot put the fire out, leave immediately. Make sure the Campus Safety Office (extension 3333) has been contacted — even if you think the fire is out.
  • Do NOT go back into the building until the fire department or a college official says it is safe to do so.
  • Students who do not evacuate the building when the fire alarm sounds may be subject to disciplinary action through the student conduct process.
  • If students are not permitted back in the building, instructions will be given to the students for temporary housing assignments.

If You Get Trapped:

  • Call 9-1-1 advise the dispatcher what building you are in and where you are located.
  • Keep the doors closed – If all exits from a floor are blocked, go back to your room, close the door, and seal cracks and vents if smoke comes in. If you are trapped in a room and there is no smoke outside, open the windows from the top to let out the heat and smoke and from the bottom to let in fresh air.
  • Signal for help – Hang an object at the window (a bed sheet, jacket, shirt) to attract the fire department’s attention. If there is a phone in the room, call the fire department and report that you are trapped. Be sure to give the name of your building and your room number. SOMETIMES IT IS SAFER TO STAY IN PLACE!
  • Stop, drop and roll – If you are on fire, stop, drop, and roll, wherever you are. Rolling smothers the fire.

If You Have Physical Limitations or Disabilities:

  • Ensure the Director of Disability and Access and the Executive Director of Campus Safety and Emergency Preparedness are aware of your limitations.
  • The staff will notify the fire department of residents with disabilities to help them find you.
  • Look for “areas of refuge,” like stair enclosures or the other side of corridor fire doors. Most elevators are designed to stop operating when the alarm is sounding and are not safe during fires. Sometimes it may be safer to stay in your room.
  • Follow the advice for being trapped.

Fire Sprinkler Information (for Residence Halls and throughout campus)

  • Besides prevention, fire sprinkler systems are the most effective way to avoid property loss, injuries, and fatalities that result from fires.
  • Studies have shown that 90-95% of all fires are extinguished or controlled by sprinkler systems in structures equipped with them.
  • Sprinkler systems are individually heat activated – at approximately 165°F; the liquid-filled glass bulb will shatter to open a sprinkler head, releasing water directly over the source of heat.
  • Only sprinkler head(s) in the area of the fire will discharge water, not the entire system.
  • Once activated, a sprinkler sprays about 20-25 gallons of water per minute in a uniform pattern throughout the room.
  • The water in the sprinkler pipes is often dark and has a foul odor when first released from the system.
  • An outside company regularly tests Ursinus College’s sprinkler systems.

Preventing False Sprinkler Activations

  • Never hang anything from the sprinklers (no clothes, decorations, etc).
  • Never perform pull-ups using the sprinkler pipes.
  • Never throw Frisbees, footballs, soccer balls, or other objects that could activate a sprinkler head if hit near fire sprinklers.
  • Do not store anything within 18 inches of the sprinkler heads – doing so will affect the spray projection.
  • Significant water damage to your room and personal property, as well as the property of your neighbors, may occur from a single false sprinkler activation.

Fines related to Fire Safety and Equipment

  • You are personally liable for any expenses associated with the damage and clean up from a sprinkler activation caused by your negligence.
  • Tampering with any life safety device such as a sprinkler head, smoke detector, heat detector, or fire extinguisher is a violation of PA State building codes.
  • At a minimum, students found to have intentionally tampered with life safety devices or equipment will face disciplinary action.
  • False Fire Alarm is classified as a misdemeanor of the first degree, and the maximum sentence is up to 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.