Fire Prevention Week

Tips for Home and your Residence Hall

Safety Tips For Home (Faculty, Staff and Commuters)

Smoke alarms save lives. 65% of home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms at all or no smoke alarms that work. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out.

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, both types of alarms or a combination alarm (photoelectric and ionization) should be installed in homes.
  • Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
  • Smoke rises; install smoke alarms following manufacturer's instructions high on a wall or on a ceiling. Save manufacturer's instructions for testing and maintenance.
  • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm "chirps," warning the battery is low, replace battery right away.
  • Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use ten year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are ten years old or sooner if they do not respond properly when tested.
  • Be sure the smoke alarm has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Alarms that are hard-wired (and include battery backup) must be installed by a qualified electrician.
  • If cooking fumes or steam sets off nuisance alarms, replace the alarm with an alarm that has a "hush" button. A "hush" button will reduce the alarm's sensitivity for a short period of time.
  • An ionization alarm with a hush button or photoelectric alarm should be used if the alarm is within 20 feet of a cooking appliance.
  • Smoke alarms that include a recordable voice announcement, in addition to the usual alarm sound, may be helpful in waking children through the use of a familiar voice.
  • Smoke alarms are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These alarms use strobe lights. Vibration equipment can be added to these alarms.
  • Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan.

Safety Tips For Your Residence Hall

  • Do not cover the Smoke Detector in your Residence Hall Room or tamper with the Fire Safety equipment in the Halls.
  • When the Fire Alarm in the building sounds, you need to evacuate. Do not assume it is "just another drill" or "someone pulling a prank." Every alarm needs to be taken seriously in order to protect your life and property.
  • To prepare for a fire situation, pick one spot in your room that you always put your room key and student ID. If it is always in the same spot, you can grab your keys and go.
  • When you are leaving your room, check the door for heat before you evacuate. Do not grab the door or the handle with the palm of your hand; use the back of your hand to feel for heat.
  • If there is smoke in the hallway, drop to the ground, count the number of doors you pass until you reach the stairwell, and proceed out of the building as quickly as possible. You want to count the doors in case you have to return to your room so that you can shelter in place.
  • If you cannot leave your room, or your exit is blocked by excessive smoke or fire, make sure you put something under your door to block smoke from entering your room. Call x5414 or x0, option 1 and let them know who you are, which building you are in, which room, and that you are trapped in your room due to smoke/fire. If smoke is filling your room, open your window and breathe the air at the window to prevent smoke inhalation.
  • When evacuating, close all doors behind you. This will help keep the fire contained until the Emergency Personnel can respond.
  • Do not try to put out a fire using a Fire Extinguisher. Most Fire Extinguishers are designed to handle fires the size of a trashcan fire or smaller. The primary use is to help you get out of the building and get you to safety.
  • If there is smoke/fire in the Residence Hall and the building's alarm is not activated, pull the nearest pull station and leave the building. Bang on doors and yell for people to get out, but do not stay behind to save people, leave that to the professionals.
  • Once you leave the building, go to your designated area as stated in the Student Handbook. Do not go to a friend's room or leave campus, the Residential Education staff will need to take a census of all students so that the Emergency Responders can be notified if there are people that are not accounted for.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets and do not burn candles, incense, etc in your room.
  • Do not store flammable materials in your room.
  • Keep in mind what the weather is like outside when you leave. You may need to be gone for an extended period, so remember to keep a warm, long jacket and warm shoes available so that you can leave the building but keep comfortable.
  • Most important of all, keep yourself safe and always follow safe practices regarding Fire Safety.

For more tips of Fire Safety/Prevention at home or in your Residence Halls, please review the following PDF Documents, go to, or stop by the Campus Safety Office on the 2nd Floor of the Kennedy Center.

Much of the information on this page was obtained from NFPA Public Education Division • 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169 or from

Revised 10/2010
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