- New and Immediate Steps
- University Fire Safety Practices
- Inspections by Fire Officials
- Prohibited Items
- Cooking in Rooms
- Fire Safety Equipment
- Fire Alarms
- False Alarms
- Evacuation Procedures
- Student Appeals Process
- Fire Statistics
- Fire Safety 101 (external link)
Fire safety is of preeminent concern to Drew University. This page summarizes the state of fire safety at Drew, particularly as it applies to students and Drew residence halls.
2. New and Immediate Steps
In September 2003, the University completed a three-year program to place sprinklers in all student residence buildings. This program was in accord with a New Jersey state law (enacted after a fatal fire at Seton Hall University) which required all colleges and universities in New Jersey to place sprinklers in all residence halls and complete the work within three years.
The university has also placed carbon monoxide detectors in student residence buildings. Detectors have been placed in lounges and other common areas and in student rooms that are close to heating sources where the gas might be present.
3. University Fire Safety Practices
- In the residence halls, all student rooms have smoke detectors. Kitchen areas and bathrooms have heat detectors. For the most part, these detectors are hard-wired and sound at the Drew University Department of Public Safety headquarters in the Pepin Service Center, as well as through a central fire systems monitoring center.
- The fire detectors are self-reporting; if one becomes defective it automatically signals the Department of Public Safety and it is replaced.
- Where there are battery-operated detectors (e.g. in some rooms in the Suites), all batteries are changed on an annual basis.
- All University fire alarm systems are checked each year by a certified inspection company. In addition, Drew’s own facilities staff routinely checks components of the fire alarm system for proper operation and vandalism.
- Fire extinguishers in the residence halls are inspected on an ongoing basis by Department of Public Safety officers (and residence hall directors and resident assistants). Defective or discharged extinguishers are replaced immediately.
- All residence hall rooms are checked formally three times a year during university breaks for fire hazards including wiring overloads, unauthorized appliances, blocked fire detectors, and other unsafe conditions.
- Tiles and carpeting used in residence halls are of the highest fire code safety category.
4. Inspections by Fire Officials
Members of the local Madison Fire Department inspect all Drew residence halls, and administrative and academic buildings each year, with residence halls the first priority. On campus, fire officials are accompanied during their inspections by officers of Drew’s Department of Public Safety, and members of Residence Life and Facilities Operations as appropriate. The inspections are part of Drew’s continuing effort to insure the safety of all members of the university community.
5. Prohibited Items
The following information is distributed to students each year and published in Daniel’s Dictionary, the student guide to University rules and regulations. To protect the safety and welfare of students, the following items are prohibited in all residence halls. The items listed are specifically related to fire safety and not represented to be inclusive of all items prohibited in residence halls:
- Fireworks, incense, candles, and flammable/volatile liquids including fuels, cans of paint, paint thinner, and turpentine.
- Appliances exceeding 500 watts.
- Microwave ovens, hot plates, deep fat fryers, toasters, open-flame or open-coil appliances. Illegal appliances are confiscated and students are fined up to $500.
- Air conditioners, space heaters, ceiling fans, or refrigerators larger than 4 1/2 cubic feet or exceeding 7 amps.
- Halogen lamps that are not UL approved.
- Dimmer switches and ceiling fixtures may not be installed.
- Nothing is allowed to obstruct any hallway, corridor or stairwell. Doors must be allowed to open fully.
- Fire doors and any door with a closing mechanism must not be propped open or disabled.
- Students cannot install paneling or partitions in their rooms or suites.
Smoking is not permitted in the residence halls in compliance with Drew University policy and New Jersey state law. Ash trays are placed outside in areas specifically designated for smoking. Those who choose to smoke should do so at least 15 feet away from buildings on campus.
7. Cooking in Rooms
Drew policy, and New Jersey state law, prohibit students from cooking in their residence hall rooms. However, microwaves are available for use by students in kitchen areas in residence halls.
8. Fire Safety Equipment
Fire safety equipment in residence halls is intended for the protection of all residents and is not to be tampered with. Misuse of this equipment, including the removal of batteries from battery-operated smoke and heat detectors, is a serious violation of university rules and may result in fines or punishment up to and including suspension from the residence halls. Fire safety equipment includes smoke and heat detectors, fire-alarm pull boxes, fire extinguishers, emergency and electrical panels.
9. Fire Alarms
Students are required by New Jersey state law to evacuate their residence hall when a fire alarm is sounded. Students who fail to obey this law will be referred to the Dean of Student Life for disciplinary action which may include suspension of a student’s residence hall privileges and fines.
When a fire alarm is sounded in a residence hall, Resident Directors, Resident Assistants, and Officers of the Department of Public Safety will go door-to-door alerting students and checking that all students have left the building. If smoke or fire is present, this duty will be the responsibility of the local Fire Department.
10. False Alarms
False alarms are not to be tolerated. They are a criminal offense and a violation of the law. Students tampering with alarms or activating them are a menace to their fellow students and will be punished. Punishment may include fines, suspension from the residence halls, expulsion from the university, and prosecution in a court of law. Students are encouraged to take action to stop fellow students who are causing false alarms.
11. Evacuation Procedures
- Know the location of all fire extinguishers on your floor
- Know at least two routes to get out of your building
- Keep fire doors closed at all times
- Never ignore a fire alarm
If a students suspects a fire, or if the alarm sounds:
- Crawl to the door, staying close to the floor to avoid smoke or super heated gases that may have entered the room.
- Feel the door. If it is hot, don’t open it because the fire may be on the other side. If it is not hot, open the door carefully, if the hall is clear, move quickly to an exit door.
- Once you are safe, call the Department of Public Safety (973-408-4444) to report the fire.
- If you have to exit through your window, either open it manually or break the glass with a chair or drawer. Put a blanket over the sill to protect you from the broken glass. Hang from the window by your hands before you drop in order to shorten the distance to the ground.
- If you are trapped, put a wet cloth under the closed door to help prevent the spread of smoke. Call the Department of Public Safety (973-408-4444 or x4444) and tell the dispatcher your residence hall name, your room number, and that you need help.
12. Student Appeals Process
Students who want to appeal a fine levied for a fire safety violation should submit a letter of appeal to the Dean of Student Life. (Note: fines levied against students for clear violations of policy or regulations such as possession of an illegal appliance or blocking a smoke or heat detector, may not be appealed.)