Housing Fire Safety

Residence Hall and apartment dwellers should take additional precautions to help ensure the safety of the community.

Residence Halls Fire Safety

Residence Hall fire safety is one of the highest priorities on campus. Residence Halls are protected by automatic fire alarm systems with smoke and heat detectors,pull stations and automatic sprinkler systems, increasing the possibility for fire containment. Students are advised to review the escape routes (posted on the back of or adjacent to their room door) in advance of an emergency to identify their primary and secondary exit routes.

Rules and regulations have been established to minimize the likelihood of a fire event in residence halls. Possession or use of candles or other open flame devices (even if for religious purposes) are not permitted in RIT housing. Torchier or any style lamp(s) that use a halogen bulb 300 watts or more is prohibited. Torchier style lamps that use a compact fluorescent or incandescent bulb ARE permitted.The full list of rules and regulations are outlined in the RIT Housing Terms and should not be taken lightly.

Smoke Detectors & Sprinkler Systems In Residence Halls

Each residence hall room is equipped with a smoke detector connected to the building fire alarm system. Removal/tampering (including covering the smoke detectors) is a violation of NYS Fire Code, RIT Housing Terms and Conditions https://www.rit.edu/housing/2021-2022-terms-conditions#13-fire-safety-and-code-compliance and RIT Code of Conduct. Smoke detectors in rooms are inspected regularly by Facilities Management Services. Sprinkler systems have been installed for added safety in all residence hall facilities.

  • Sprinklers must never be painted.
  • Nothing may be hung from the sprinkler piping or sprinkler heads.
  • Sprinkler heads may never be obstructed or altered.
  • Nothing may be stored within 18 inches from the sprinkler head.
  • Frisbees, footballs, baseballs, etc., are not to be thrown in rooms, hallways, or other public areas.
  • Report any damages to the sprinkler system to RIT FMS immediately.
  • On or near the front door of each living space is a fire evacuation route poster. This poster is to remain in place at all times including but not limited to: check-in, Health and Safety Checks, and move-out.

In accordance with NYS Fire Code, RIT has an emergency action and evacuation plan. Federal, State, Local, and RIT Policies prohibit tampering with any fire safety equipment. This includes but is not limited to propping of fire-resistant doors; tampering with (includes covering) smoke detectors, sprinkler heads, fire alarm pull stations, emergency exit signs, and fire extinguishers. Activation of fire alarms in avoidable non-emergency situations may lead to fines, or sanctions issued by the RIT student conduct process.(e.g. cooking, vapes, etc.). In grossly negligent situations, fines and/or violations and subsequent citations may be issued by the local authority having jurisdiction (Town of Henrietta, or NYSOFPC.). Intentionally causing  a false alarm by the use of a pull station or any other action that intentionally activates the building fire alarm or sprinkler system endangers the safety and life of every building occupant and emergency responders. It also takes valuable emergency resources from the RIT community and the greater at large Henrietta Community. Intentionally activating the building fire alarm system is a crime under the NYS Penal Law Article 240. Any person identified as responsible for the intentional activation of a building fire alarm system may be subject to arrest under the NYS Penal Law Article 240, disciplinary action in accordance with the RIT Student Conduct Process, fines and or jail time. Likewise any person found responsible for intentionally igniting materials, regardless of the intent (such as prank), may be subject to arrest for Arson under the NYS Penal Law Article 150.

The offenses of tampering with or activation of fire alarm or fire suppression equipment may result in being arrested, assessed a fine, or judicial sanction following the RIT Student Conduct process. https://www.rit.edu/academicaffairs/policiesmanual/d180.

Electrical Hazards

Students rely on many electronics and electrical devices for school and entertainment. There may not be sufficient outlets available to power everything at the same time or to reach an outlet that is just a little further than the cord can reach. DO NOT use extension cords.  They are prohibited by housing terms and conditions, and NYS fire codes.  You may use plug strips that utilize a circuit breaker for over current protection. Only low power type devices can be plugged into the power strip, such as computer components, tv's and audio equipment, gaming systems. Refrigerators and small appliances may not be plugged in to the power strips.

Never overload electrical outlets by plugging too many electronics into it. Using surge protectors to increase the number of outlets where needed is OK and they provide protection of sensitive equipment as well. Daisy chaining multiple surge protected strips together is prohibited. Keep wires out in the open Not under carpets or throw rugs and be sure not to put pressure or tension on the cords (such as stretching a cord or pinching it). The plug strips should be secured to avoid tripping hazards.

Be sure tall floor lamps don't come in contact with bedding or combustible materials that may be tacked to the wall such as photos and Posters.

Furniture

Furniture should be placed in a manner that allows easy flow of traffic throughout your living space. Never place furniture so that it protrudes or blocks walkways, doorways, stairs, or windows, even if it is for a short time. Lofted or bunked beds can be a hazard. Be sure that there is at least 36 inches above the top mattress.

Cooking

 Unattended cooking in microwaves is  often the cause  of fires and/or avoidable fire alarm activations. If a fire occurs while you are heating something in the microwave, immediately unplug it. Leave the microwave door closed, activate the fire alarm system if it is not already sounding, evacuate the building. Once outside, contact RIT Public safety to report what occurred. You can prevent fires and/or avoidable fire alarms by watching the food while it's cooking to prevent it from burning. Following package directions to ensure proper cooking technique, such as adding water, removing metal lids, using appropriate microwave safe cooking utensils and dishes. ONLY RIT issued microwave/refrigerator  (Microfridge) combo is permitted in residence halls.

Apartment Fire Safety

Following their first year many students opt to rent apartments either on campus or in the community. Although RIT is not responsible for the condition of these residences, our concern for our students' safety does not change. With this in mind, we want to be sure that students who do choose to live off-campus are keenly aware of safety issues (fire safety, personal safety, and general hygiene) that must be considered when renting an apartment. Smoke detectors/fire alarm systems, fire escapes and escape plans, and fire extinguishers are all items that should be considered when renting an off campus apartment. On campus apartment living offers the same level of safety as residence hall living, such as automatic fire alarms tied to RIT Public Safety for immediate response, fire sprinkler systems in most apartments and fire extinguishers. In addition RIT apartments are in compliance with all regularly required maintenance of fire alarm systems, sprinkler systems, heating and electrical system maintenance. When seeking an apartment off campus in the community it is the renters responsibility  to ask the landlord questions with regard to maintenance of these utilities, in addition to who is responsible for maintaining batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Don't assume anything. 

Electrical Hazards

Regardless of where you live (in off campus or on campus apartments never overload electrical outlets by plugging too many electronics into it. Using surge protectors to increase the number of outlets where needed is OK and they provide protection of sensitive equipment as well. However, avoid chaining multiple  surge protectors together. Keep wires out in the open and be sure not to put pressure or tension on the cords (such as stretching a cord or pinching it). Electronics which generate large amounts of heat (such as space heaters and soldering irons) should be monitored at all times. (Space heaters are prohibited in RIT housing unless they are issued by RIT Housing)

Cooking

One of the luxuries of apartment living is the ability to cook your own meals using an array of small appliances and a stove/oven that were not available in residence hall living. The most important thing to remember is that you should never leave while you are cooking. Unattended stoves/ovens and microwaves are often causes of fires.In order to prevent a fire do the following:

  1. Cook only when you are alert, not sleepy or drowsy.Keep your cooking area clean and uncluttered.
  2. Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop.
  3. Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires.
  4. For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  5. Secure all loose clothing and hair so that it does not catch fire.Kkeep a fire extinguisher close.
  6. Ensure the oven/stovetop and small appliances such as air fryers, toaster ovens are kept clean and free of spills

If a fire occurs while you are cooking, smother the fire instead of using water. Baking soda can be used to put out a grease fire.

Furniture

Furniture should be placed in a manner that allows easy flow of traffic throughout your living space. Never place furniture so that it protrudes or blocks walkways, doorways, stairs, or windows, even if it is for a short time. Lofted or bunked beds can be a hazard. Be sure that there is at least 36 inches above the top mattress.

Apartment smoke and carbon monoxide Detectors

Every apartment should have a smoke detector, whether it is part of an alarm system or a stand alone battery powered unit. In off campus apartments battery powered smoke detectors should be inspected and tested to make sure they are in functioning order. Inquire with the potential landlord who is responsible for inspecting and testing the smoke detectors and battery replacement. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, make sure your landlord is made aware of your need for strobe lights to alert you to the fire alarm system. They are required to provide them. Don't take no for an answer!

If your building has an fire alarm system, learn to recognize the sound of the alarm. Know where the alarms are located in your building and how to operate them in an emergency. Don't ignore any fire alarm activation.

Fire Escapes and Escape Plan

In a fire, there is no time to stop and think. You need to know in advance the two quickest safe ways out of your apartment and your building. Every apartment should have at least two means of egress. The main door way is one, but when looking for an apartment, be sure that there is another way to exit, and that the routes are secure, safe, and intact.

It is critical that you make and practice escape plans. Designate an outdoor meeting location to ensure everyone gets out.

Practice. Rehearse your escape plan as a group. Make sure everyone knows the right thing to do when an emergency situation arises.

Fire Extinguishers

Keep a fire extinguisher in your apartment even if one is not provided. Periodically check to make sure it is charged by checking the gauge or following the instructions that are provided.