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Fire Safety

For More Information

Call Kevin Riordan
On-Campus: x-2841
External Number: 585-389-2841

For an emergency, call Campus Safety
On-Campus: x-2850
External Number: 585-389-2850

Fire Safety Statistics

Nazareth College is very committed to providing a safe and healthy living and studying environment. During the academic year 2013-2014, there have been no fires on-campus. Safety is our top priority.

Why is fire safety and prevention important?

Within Nazareth College, there is an entire interconnected community. We have learning facilities, living facilities, eating areas and social spaces. With so many people living in close proximity, it is of vital importance that everyone’s safety is maintained. One area of particular importance is fire prevention and fire safety. Fire is by far the most hazardous condition faced on a college campus. Here are some statistics that may surprise you:

  • During an average year, there are approximately 2000 fires on college and university properties across the nation. (This does not include off-campus apartments or Greek housing)
  • From these fires, there are an estimated 15 deaths of college students, staff, or faculty. Over 50% of these fatalities involved alcohol use (i.e. were legally drunk).

Based on these statistics, fire safety is something that is taken very seriously at Nazareth College. This is for the protection of each and every member of our Nazareth community.

How is Nazareth College protected from fire?

Nazareth College is protected by an advanced system of fire detection and extinguishing systems. These systems provide immediate notification of a fire or smoke situation. These systems are great but they are only effective if individuals use them properly and respect the alarm when activated.

On-Campus Fire Safety

What do I do if I hear a fire alarm in my building?

If the fire alarm is activated in your building, you will hear horns/speakers and see flashing strobes. When the fire alarm is activated, you must proceed to the NEAREST exit and evacuate the building. This evacuation must be immediate. Once you are outside, remain outside until you are advised to re-enter the building by Campus Safety. Just because the alarms have stopped does not mean that it is safe to return.

Remaining in your room during a fire alarm is not only unsafe but it is a crime. You can be prosecuted by the Town of Pittsford or sanctions can be applied through Nazareth College.

If you have information about why the fire alarm was activated (you caused it, you know what caused it, or you have witnessed something), remain outside and seek out a responding Campus Safety Officer. Inform them of what happened.

What do I do if I see smoke or fire?

First, and most importantly, if you see smoke or fire, activate the fire alarm using a pull station. This will alert others in the building that there is an emergency. Second, evacuate the building. Help others that may be in need of assistance due to limited mobility or another impairment. Third, remain outside until instructed to return by Campus Safety. If you have knowledge of the situation (where the fire was located or what may have caused the alarm), seek out a Campus Safety Officer to deliver the information.

When an alarm is activated, you should feel the door before exiting. If the door is hot or the hallway is filled with heavy smoke, remain inside your room. Keep the door closed but unlocked. Place wet towels (if available) at the bottom of the door to prevent smoke from entering the room. If you are on the first floor, remember that windows are a potential exit. If possible, contact Campus Safety and advise them of your location and specific needs. Go to the window and signal to the fire department that someone is in the room (possibly with a towel or bedsheet).

What are the most common causes of fire alarms?

While the overall number of fire alarms has been greatly reduced over the past few years, there still are specific actions that cause the majority of our alarms.

  • Cooking: Cooking is by far the most common cause of fire alarms. Most often, a person is cooking and either overheats the food, causing it to burn or runs out of water and the food starts to burn. Because of this possibility, all cooking must be attended. Any unattended cooking will be turned off and removed.
    • When cooking on the stovetop, start the item on a low heat and then slowly increase the heat.
    • When cooking in a microwave, start with the minimum amount of time (for microwave popcorn this is only two minutes). More time can be added if the food needs to be cooked further.
  • Hair Care Equipment: Amazingly, hair curlers, hair dryers, and hair straighteners are the second most common cause of alarms. These items produce hot steam and blow dust; either of which can cause the alarm to activate.
    • How do I prevent this? When you are using a hair straightener, curler, or dryer, LOOK UP!. Do not use these items directly below a smoke detector. Try to use them near a window. Turn on a fan if possible.
    • If possible, use these items in the bathroom. Bathrooms have detectors that are not sensitive to steam or dust.

By reducing (eventually eliminating) these sources of false fire alarms, you can help with fire safety. Plus, the fewer alarms we have, the fewer times you need to evacuate the building (especially on cold, wet, or snowy days).

What fire safety equipment is in my building?

Exactly what safety equipment is in a building is dependent on the building's use, date of construction, and date(s) of renovation. All buildings are protected by a smoke and heat detectors and active alarm systems.

For information on specific buildings, please refer to this list of equipment by building.

What items are allowed in Residence Halls? What is prohibited?

Nazareth College Residence Halls are a student's home away from home. Most items that students wish to bring are allowed, but there are limits. These limits are in place for the safety and protection of everyone on campus. These limitations are based on federal, state, and local regulations as well as internal Nazareth College policies. If you are found in violation of the regulations (listed in the Undergraduate Handbook) you face disciplinary sanctions through the Nazareth College Student Conduct Process. If the items pose an immediate threat to security or fire safety, they will be removed and destroyed.

So what are the limitations? This depends where you live. Due to different room layouts and safety features in place, there are some differences between the apartments (Portka, Breen, and Lyons) and standard rooms (Kearney, Lourdes, Medaille, O'Connor Complex, Clocktower Commons, George, and the French House).

For standard rooms including Kearney Hall, Lourdes Hall, Medaille Hall,  the O'Connor Complex, Clocktower Commons, George Hall and the French House:

For apartments including Portka Hall, Breen Hall, and Lyons Hall:

If you have any questions about a particular item, speak to your RA or call Campus Safety before purchasing or bringing it to your room.

What items are allowed in my office? Are they different than Residence Halls? What about space heaters?

The same items that are prohibited from Residence Halls are also prohibited from offices except for space heaters. Space heaters are allowed but only if they have all of the required safety features. Additionally, space heaters need to be approved by the Fire Safety Officer. This is a simple process that takes only a few minutes. All space heaters must be registered annually. The form below is the space heater approval form and also details the required safety features. Please contact Campus Safety to set-up an appointment to get your heater inspected.

Space Heater Checklist

Will my Residence Hall and/or office be inspected?

Yes. For Residence Halls, all rooms are inspected at least once per year. Items that violate the fire safety policy may be removed or a warning letter will be left.

  • If an item is removed, a letter will be left describing why it was removed. You may get the item returned at the end of the semester (refer to the specific dates on the removal letter).
  • If a warning letter is left, then you have a specific period of time to correct the situation. Your room will be re-inspected at a future date. If the item or situation is corrected, then everything is complete. If the item or situation has not been corrected, then the item will be removed. You may get the item returned at the end of the semester.

Offices will be inspected while Campus Safety is patrolling the various campus buildings. Offices that are open will be visually inspected from the hallway. If a prohibited item is found, the staff/faculty member will be informed and will have a chance to remove the item. If the item is not removed in a timely manner, Campus Safety will remove the item.

Now there is an additional piece to this question. During the spring semester, the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control conducts a campus-wide inspection. They randomly select Residence Hall rooms and offices to inspect. If your room/office is selected, it will be inspected. Again, not all rooms or offices will be inspected. The choice will be random.

What are the most common prohibited items found during an inspection?

Most of the rooms and offices inspected have no prohibited items found. When prohibited items are found, they are dominated by:

  • Extension Cords: This is the most common prohibited fire safety item found. They are not allowed on campus. Extension cords are not designed to be continuously used and thus may get hot or (if damaged) create a spark that may ignite a fire. All extension cords should be replaced with power strips but no daisy chaining.
  • Lamps with more than three heads (a.k.a. Octopus Lamps): Within the past few years, major fires have been started by lamps with more than three heads. As close as Fredonia (NY), there was a major Res Hall fire caused by one of these lamps. Because of the inherent dangers in using these lamps, all lamps that have more than three heads are prohibited. Please take these home.
  • Overwattage Bulbs: All lamps are designed to use a specific sized light bulb (i.e. 60 watts, 45 watts). If a light bulb is used that is more powerful than the lamp needs, then the entire light may overheat and start a fire. There should be a small sticker on the light stating the maximum wattage light bulb that can be used. An even better idea is to use florescent light bulbs. These stay at a much cooler temperature during operation, use only a fraction of the energy, and last longer

Will there be fire drills?

Yes, there will be fire drills. During any alarm, all occupants must evacuate the building immediately.

  • For Residence Halls, there will be four drills per year. Two during the fall semester (at least one of these must be after sunset), one for the spring semester, and one during the summer semester.
  • For academic buildings, there will be three drills per year. Once during each of the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Regardless if the alarm is a drill or caused by an emergency, you must immediately evacuate the building by the nearest exit. If you stay in your room during any type of alarm, you face disciplinary sanctions.

What are fire doors and what do they do?

First of all, fire doors are doors. They look like doors and, under normal circumstances, they function like doors. But fire doors are special in that they resist fire. Most fire doors are rated to prevent the spread of fire for two hours or more. Thus one side of the door can be exposed to fire but the other allows for evacuation of the building. These are essential pieces of fire safety equipment. Because these doors are designed to prevent fire, they must not be covered with flammable materials (including paper). Any postings on fire doors will be removed by Campus Safety.

Can I hang items off the pipes including sprinkler pipes?

No. No items can be hung off any exposed pipes or the sprinkler pipes. Any items found hanging from these will be removed.

How often is the fire safety system inspected?

  1. The entire campus is comprehensively inspected by the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control annually.
  2. All smoke detectors, heat detectors, strobes and horns are tested annually for functionality by an outside contractor.
  3. All sprinkler systems are tested and inspected quarterly by an outside contractor.
  4. Fire extinguishers are inspected monthly and training opportunities are offered throughout the year.

Off-Campus Fire Safety

Guidelines For Off-Campus and Commuters

The dangers of fire are not limited or unique to college campuses. Most fire related injuries actually occur off-campus. Living in rented apartments requires a different type of safety investigation. Here are some items you should look for in your rented apartment/house:

  • Evacuation paths: How do you get out of the house/apartment? What if the main path is blocked? Could I evacuate without electricity (i.e. lights)?
  • Smoke detectors: Are there smoke detectors in the house/apartment? Is there at least one on every floor?
  • Smoke detector test: Press the "test" button at least once per month to verify the detector is working.
  • Fire extinguisher: Is there a fire extinguisher located in the house/apartment? Could you get to it in an emergency? The best place is near the kitchen.
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors: It is now New York State law that all apartments have CO detectors in place. CO is a potentially deadly gas that is caused by burning of fossil fuels (natural gas, oil, coal). It is colorless and odorless. CO detectors are the only way to find the deadly gas. These should be tested monthly. Look for the small "test" button.

Special Events Fire Safety

Hot Work

"Hot work" is defined as any work that produces significant heat, uses an open flame, or may produce sparks. Examples of hot work are welding, soldering, metal cutting, metal grinding, and brazing. As required by state law, all hot work must be approved by Campus Safety before commencing. A specific "hot work permit" must be issued and clearly displayed during work. The permit must also be closed out with Campus Safety prior to the termination of the job. In most circumstances, additional fire protection will be temporarily put in place.

To obtain a permit, please contact the EHS Officer, Kevin Riordan.

Important: If you bring individuals from outside the college (contractors, guest lectures, presenters, etc), it is your responsibility to obtain the hot work permit

Pavilion Fireplace Use

The Pavilion is a great place for a gathering. This space can be reserved through Charlie Loray (585-389-2018, In the Pavilion, there is an open fireplace that is great for a group meeting on cool fall or spring days. In order to use the fireplace you must: (1) reserve the Pavilion through Charlie Loray, (2) complete the fireplace use form, and (3) contact the Fire Safety Officer at least one day prior to the event. The details of the use of the fireplace will be discussed as well as required safety precautions.

All fireplaces on campus, besides the Pavilion, are not to be used by any person under any circumstances. They are off limits!

Download the Fireplace Use Form.

Tent Checklist

Tents are allowed on campus. Any tent that has a canopy of more than 400 square feet requires a permit from the Town of Pittsford. Please contact Charley Loray (585-389-2018, for assistance in obtaining the permit. As part of the permit, an official from the Town of Pittsford will inspect the tent. Please see the checklist below for a basic overview of required items.

Download the Tent Checklist.

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