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Fire Safety

Fire Safety Guidelines and Requirements for Residence Halls
(Please Note: This information represents the most current fire safety guidelines for URI residence halls and supersedes all other URI generated documentation pertaining to residence hall fire safety with the exception of the URI Student Handbook.)

Why You Should Care
With so many things to think about, why should students pay much attention to fire and life safety policies and procedures?  The answer is clear: it can be a matter of life and death. Proper fire prevention measures and the knowledge of life safety procedures within residential communities save lives.  Since 1973, there have been more than 45 residence hall fires across the United States including the tragic Seton Hall fire of  January 2000 that killed three students and  injured 62.   With so many people living in such close proximity within our halls, every resident plays an important role in preventing fires and responding appropriately to life safety emergencies.  Every resident assumes the responsibility of complying with fire safety policies, procedures, and guidelines as put forth in the University of Rhode Island Student Handbook and the Housing Rental Agreement.  Violations of University fire safety related policies and procedures - including the defacement of hallway exit signs, falsely activating fire alarms, discharging fire extinguishers, and activating fire suppression/sprinkler systems - are treated with the highest priority and may result in removal from residence halls.

Your Fire Safety Checklist

  • Report campus emergencies immediately to the Campus Police at 874-2121.
  • Always know two escape paths from your room in the event that one is blocked.
  • A fire evacuation plan has been placed on or near the inside of your room/apt. door.   Learn the plan and do not remove or cover the evacuation plan from your room. If the evacuation plan is missing from your room/apt., please notify your Resident Advisor or Site Manager.
  • Smoking in all URI residence halls and student rooms is prohibited.
  • Fire suppression systems, or sprinklers, have been installed in all traditional residence halls at URI.  Sprinkler heads protrude from the walls and ceilings of common areas and student bedrooms in all residence halls.  A sprinkler head is designed to discharge a large volume of water in a short period of time and can cause extensive damage to residential unit.  Do not hang any items from sprinkler heads and do not tamper with, or attempt to modify, fire suppression systems and sprinkler heads.  The accidental or intentional discharge of a fire suppression system will result in financial restitution and Campus Police, URI student conduct, and State Fire Marshal investigation.
  • Smoke/fire detectors have been installed in all residence halls at URI.  Detectors are located on ceilings and walls, and trigger building fire alarms that are designed to save lives. The covering of, or tampering with, any fire detector in any residence hall location so as to render this equipment inoperable is strictly prohibited and will result in financial restitution and Campus Police, URI student conduct, and State Fire Marshal investigation.
  • If you smell smoke or see fire in your building, pull the closest fire alarm box and immediately evacuate the building; do not attempt to fight the fire.
  • If the fire alarm sounds in your building, do the following:
    • grab your key and/or ID card
    • feel your room door before opening it; if it is not hot, leave immediately; if it is hot, stay in your room, phone for help, and wait for a fire fighter
    • assuming your door is not hot and smoke has not filled the hallway, proceed to the nearest exit and immediately leave the building; do not attempt to fight the fire!
    • once outside, move away from the building and wait for further instructions; check around for your roommate to make sure s/he is safe
    • never, never ignore a fire alarm; failure to vacate a building during a fire alarm is a violation of the University’s student conduct code
    • do not use the building elevator
  • In the case of a catastrophic event or disaster on or near the URI campus, students are instructed to: a) immediately contact and advise family members of their status and well being; and b) check the URI voice mail system for further instructions.

Fire Safety Equipment & Inspection…
Fire alarm systems – the most  important  component of  the fire safety  program - along
with all other fire safety equipment, are properly tested and maintained in compliance with all governing codes.  Fire drills and evacuation assessments are conducted in each residence at least two per semester.  All other equipment is inspected and maintained according to governing codes.  HRL and Department of Public Safety Fire/Life Safety Division personnel randomly inspect student rooms each semester.  Students are given no less than 24-hour notice of these random inspections.  Residents who are found in violation of fire safety guidelines are given one day to make corrections without penalty. Candles will be confiscated and discarded immediately.  The University takes seriously any deliberate defacement, tampering, or theft of fire safety equipment including fire extinguishers and exit signs.  Students found responsible for such behavior may face removal from residence halls as a recommended judicial sanction.

URI Fire Safety Guidelines and Regulations
Selections (edited) from the URI 2012-2014 Student Handbook

  • 6.1 Fire Alarm.   Every resident must immediately vacate a building when a  fire alarm sounds.
  • 6.5 Combustible Materials.   All gas and charcoal grills, fluids, charcoal, and gas containers are not permitted in residences/residential buildings or balconies.  Gasoline operated machinery, such as motorcycles or mopeds, and any other combustible items including combustible engines (regardless of their state of dismantlement), non-electric lanterns, and large combustible decorations including live Christmas trees or any part of them, are not permitted in residential units.  Candles and incense are prohibited from all campus residences.  The burning of any and all substances is prohibited.  Violation of this policy can result in the confiscation of such materials by Campus Police or through administrative search.
  • 6.6 Smoking. Smoking is prohibited in all public and private areas within University owned or operated residence halls, houses, and apartments.  Smoking is prohibited within 20 feet of all University controlled residences.
  • 6.7 Emergency Exits.  Stairways, corridors, and doors are emergency exits, and objects of any type cannot be kept in these areas at any time.  Objects of any type, including bicycles, left in these areas will be confiscated at owner’s risk and expense.
  • 6.8  Posting.  The posting of any paper, cardboard, poster, or other flammable material is prohibited in all common areas in residential buildings, except as otherwise designated by appropriate university officials.  Posting in individual residence halls can be done only with the approval of the Residence Hall Director.  Memo boards and/or pads on residence hall room doors are also prohibited.
  • 6.10 Appliances.  Refer to the Housing Rental Agreement for the most current regulations on appliances in residence halls.  Do not wrap electrical cords around/between bed frames and/or posts. All halogen lights are prohibited.  Improper extension cords and improper adapters are not allowed.  This includes two-wire cords, extension cords, and non-surged protected cords of any kind.  All appliances must be plugged directly into the outlet or an approved surge protected power strip.
  • 7.7  Window, Wall and Carpet Coverings.  Regulation window coverings have been provided in all residence hall rooms and all common areas.  These may not be replaced except by HRL.  All carpets, flags, and tapestries provided by students must have a “fire spread” rating below 25 and a “low smoke generation”.  A certificate from the manufacturer, adhering to the above, must be available to  HRL on request.  Nothing can be attached, taped, or tacked to the ceiling or the electrical or fire alarm conduit on the wall or ceiling.

Selections (edited) from the Housing and Residential Life Website and Housing Agreement

  • 12.  Room Decoration and Maintenance.  Each resident by completing an on-line room application and receiving a corresponding room assignment assumes responsibility for the care and use of their room and its furnishings.  Residents may not dismantle, refinish, paint, dye, or alter in any way the walls, floors, ceilings, windows, drapes, doors, furnishings, or other fixtures in a room or common area without specific permission from HRL.  Further, repair or renovations of a room by any external sources is not permitted without the express approval of HRL.  Residents may not post any paper, cardboard, poster, or other flammable material on any hallway surface.  Memo boards or note pads may not be posted on the hall side of room doors.  In addition, moderation should be used when decorating inside the room.  Items may not be hung from the ceiling, or cover light fixtures.  Tapestries or large wall hangings must be flame retardant and not cover more than 50% of total wall area within each room.  Live Christmas trees and non-UL rated lights are prohibited.  Candles and incense are prohibited from all campus residences.  Residents may not hang, drape, or display a banner from, on, or out of balconies or windows at any time except for the purpose of official University business with prior approval from the University.
  • 15.  Smoking. Smoking is prohibited in all University owned and operated residences.  This includes all resident rooms and common areas.  Smoking is prohibited within 20 feet of all University residences and buildings 
  • 17. Items Allowed in Rooms. The following items are allowed in HRL resident rooms:  an electric clock, razor, low watt hair dryer, curling iron, stereo, television, video equipment, fan, computer, UL listed iron with auto shut-off switch, non-halogen lamp, refrigerator not to exceed 5.0 cubic feet total capacity and a microwave.  Drapes or blinds have been provided for each student room and may not be replaced by the student without consent of the University.  Carpets may be furnished by the resident and must have a fire spread rating below 25 and be classified as low smoke generation. A certificate from the manufacturer, adhering to these standards, must be available to the University upon request.
  • Fire Safety.  Residents are expected to notify the Department of Public Safety of any potential fire and/or safety hazards and promptly report a fire of any type.  All residents are responsible for reading and observing all University fire safety guidelines as posted in the University Handbook, the URI Public Safety web site , and the URI Housing and Residential Life web site .  All residents are expected to observe all established and communicated fire safety procedures including the participation in fire alarm or evacuation drills.  Students must leave the buildings during a fire drill or be subject to disciplinary action.  Fire extinguishers, alarm systems and conduit, detectors, sprinkler heads, strobes, devices, door closure hinges, and exit signs shall not be tampered with or tested by unauthorized persons, nor should anything cover, be attached to, or hung from fire safety equipment.  Students are expected to help prevent false alarms and should report any tampering with fire safety equipment to their Residence Hall Director.  Residents are financially responsible for charges assessed as a result of tampering with fire safety equipment, are subject to disciplinary charges, and can be arrested under Rhode Island law.
  • Prohibited Items in Residence Halls.  The following are prohibited items in HRL resident rooms: air conditioners; personally owned space heaters; quartz halogen lights; non-surge-protected extension cords; hot plates, hot pots, and coffee makers with exposed heating elements/plates; electric frying pans; electric woks; stoves; toaster ovens; grills(gas, charcoal, or electric); or any other cooking appliances.  In addition, The Department of Housing and Residential Life prohibits home-made bed lofts, water beds, outside antennas, firearms, ammunition, explosives, fireworks, dangerous weapons, hazardous chemicals, gasoline, and motorized vehicles or their parts.  Pets are not allowed with the exception of fish in aquariums less than 20 gallons. 

URI Campus Fire Safety Resources…
University Police and Security Department – Campus Emergencies 874-2121
The URI Police and Security Department is a community policing organization. This full time policing agency investigates and prosecutes crimes occurring within its jurisdiction.  The Police and Security Department oversees the Village Watch security programs focused within the residential sector of campus.   The department is located on Briar Lane just east of the Kingston Post Office.  

Department of Public Safety Fire/Life Safety Division
The   Department of Public Safety Fire/Life Safety Division  oversees  all campus fire  safety and  code requirements at URI.  This award winning department performs regular fire in inspections and random room inspection in all campus facilities; serves as the University’s primary risk management agency; provides training programs and presentations to faculty, staff and students; and provides direct liaison activities with the Kingston Fire Department.  The Department of Public Safety Fire/Life Safety Division is located at 177 Plains Road in the western sector of campus.