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Fire Safety Regulations

There will be one fire drill conducted by the college per semester in each house. Failure of individuals to evacuate a house may result in conduct action.

Students with any special needs in the case of an emergency should contact with either the Office of Residence Life or Office of Disability Services. False reporting, damage or misuse of fire safety equipment is strictly prohibited and will result in a referral to the College Conduct Board.

Student rooms will be inspected. A room will be re-inspected in the case of a violation. Violations include prohibited appliances; objects obstructing corridors, stairways or sprinkler systems; cords of any type across doorways or under rugs; frayed cords; open flames and potentially hazardous decorations; smoke alarms that have been tampered with; and objects draped or hung from the sprinkler pipes, curtain rods, doorways, or tacked up on the walls. Students are required to clear hallways and public areas of personal items and be in compliance with the college’s Health, Fire and Safety policy. Failure to comply will result in those items being discarded, and fees will be assessed to the student(s), residents of the corridor, or the entire house and possible disciplinary action.

Material used in the decoration of any college building or student room must be either flame proofed or inherently nonflammable. Trees and wreaths are examples of flammable materials and are not allowed.

Items that cannot be used for decorations include: branches, live or dry wreaths, dry plants of any type or any item made from highly combustible material.

A bulletin board and nametags are the only items allowed on the outside of the doors of student rooms. Other decorations in corridors, on walls or on student doors are forbidden. Students will be required to remove items from doors and/or walls adjacent to student rooms. Failure to comply with these policies may result in disciplinary actions or fees.

Candles, incense, scented lamps and open flames of any kind except for cigarette lighters and matches are prohibited in houses and student rooms. Kerosene, gasoline, other flammable liquids or flammable covers, paper shades and decorations on light fixtures are strictly forbidden. Halogen floor lamps are prohibited in student rooms and public spaces in the houses. In addition, LED strip lights are not permitted. Such items will be confiscated whether or not they are in use. Open-flame devices, such as candles, are extremely dangerous in a high-density, residential setting and are forbidden.

The college reserves the right to remove items in student rooms that violate safety regulations.

An exception may be granted to this policy for the purpose of allowing smudging, the private, religious or spiritual use of sage, sweet grass, or cedar smoke in accordance with their well-established manner of use within the Native American ceremonial traditions for the purpose of purification and prayer. Students must complete an Exception Request, available from the Director of Religious and Spiritual Life or designee. Upon approval, a student may privately generate a minimal amount of smoke using sage, sweet grass or cedar. Failure to observe the strict safety standards of this Exception Request Policy will result in revocation of the exception and sanctions already specified for violation of the Residential Life: Security & Safety Policies.

Radios/music players, clocks, speakers and/or speaker systems, amps and music accessories, television sets, lamps, hair dryers, humidifiers, electric blankets, computers, printers, DVD/BluRay players, and coffee pots that have UL approval, and lightweight refrigerators no larger than 3.5 cubic feet in capacity may be used in student rooms.

To ensure a safe and healthy environment, the following items are prohibited from all houses:

  • Lava lamps
  • Halogen lamps
  • LED strip lights
  • Rice cookers
  • Toaster ovens/toasters
  • Panini makers
  • Grills
  • Microwaves (Microfridges are permitted)
  • Deep Fryers
  • Hot plate
  • Space heaters
  • Immersion heaters
  • Electric woks
  • Any appliance with an exposed heating element
    • This includes coffee makers except 1 cup coffee makers like Keurigs
  • Air conditioners (except for approved units through ODS)
  • Refrigerators in excess of 3.5 cubic feet capacity
  • Instapots or similar appliances

Smith College reserves the right to remove items in student rooms that violate safety regulations.

Irons may be used only at the ironing boards. Ironing boards are provided in the houses. Curling irons and flat irons are permitted, but must be used in well-ventilated areas and unplugged and turned off after each use.

Permission to use ultraviolet and other sunlamps must be obtained from the Office of Disability Services.

Extension cords, no longer than six feet, must have the UL approval and must be in good condition. Cords that are not UL approved will be removed. Cords must not be run under rugs.

Any smoking, vaping, or juuling of any substance is not allowed in college-owned buildings (see Smith College Smoking Policy).

The following guidelines are issued to provide you with procedures that should be followed by everyone who either detects a fire or is responding to a fire alarm in a Smith College building.

Section A - Upon Discovering a Fire

  1. Go directly to the closest fire alarm pull station and activate the alarm. Activation of the alarm will alert other building residents to the presence of a fire and give them adequate time to evacuate safely. All houses have automatic fire alarm systems that go directly to Campus Safety. From there the alarm is relayed to the Northampton Fire Department.
  2. As a backup to Step 1, immediately go to the nearest safe telephone and dial 5555 or exit the building and call Campus Safety at (413) 585-5555 from a cell phone or mobile device. Should the building alarm fail to activate, or the alarm not be relayed by the system, calling 5555 alerts Campus Safety, who will dispatch the fire department. When calling to report a fire, stay calm, give the location of the fire, the type of problem and your name and phone extension. Always call in a fire; never assume that it has been done by the automatic system.
  3. Firefighting is not recommended. Evacuation is always the recommended course of action.

All fires must be reported to and inspected by Campus Safety who will notify the Northampton Fire Department even if extinguished by occupants.

Section B - Evacuation from Fire in a Residential House

  1. Assume every alarm means a fire; always evacuate the building when the alarm goes off.
  2. Evacuate the building by the most direct, clear path.
  3. As you evacuate the building, attempt to alert other occupants to the fire hazard. Yelling, banging on doors, etc. as you exit should alert other residents.
  4. If the season demands, and if feasible, take a warm coat and shoes.
  5. If feasible, take a towel or cloth to cover the mouth and nose in case of smoke.
  6. Close all windows and doors as you evacuate. Make sure all fire doors are closed
  7. Do not use elevators. Use only stairwells and fire escapes.
  8. Before opening any door, feel the closed door for excessive heat, or look through the safety window (if available) to the passage beyond. If the door is warm, or the passage is unsafe, use an alternative exit.
  9. Do not attempt to pass through smoke. If you encounter smoke, retreat and seek an alternative exit.
  10. If you are trapped in smoke, stay low and crawl toward exit. Breathable air should be near the floor.
  11. Once outside, clear the building by at least 100 feet, and move to an assembly point where the fire captain should take roll.
  12. If you believe someone is trapped in the building, notify the fire department or Campus Safety immediately.
  13. Never attempt to re-enter the building after evacuation.

Section C - Defend in Place

  1. Should you be unable to evacuate the building, or should your exit paths be blocked, remain calm and do the following:
    1. Do not attempt to go through fire or smoke.
    2. Go back to your room or another safe environment with a window, and, if possible, a telephone.
    3. Close the door and pack the frame with towels, clothes, etc. (preferably wet) to prevent smoke travel. Your major safety concern will probably be preventing smoke infiltration.
  2. If you have a phone, call Campus Safety and give them your name and location. If a phone is unavailable, open the window and yell. If you have a brightly colored cloth, wave it.
  3. Do not hide in the closet or under the bed.
  4. If the room gets smoky, stay close to the floor; fresh air should be there. Keep window open to allow fresh air in. If necessary, hang your head out of the window to get fresh air.
  5. Above all, stay calm and rational; panic will only increase your danger.

Section D - In Case You Catch Fire

  1. Should you catch fire, stop, drop to the floor and roll. Rolling smothers the flames.
  2. Never run if you are on fire. Running fans the flames to a greater intensity.
  3. If you see someone on fire, help them to stop, drop and roll. Wrap them in a blanket to smother the flames.

Updated July 2023