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Fire Safety Tips

Fire safety is something most of us do not think enough about.  Whether living on or off-campus means being more responsible for your own safety and the safety of those around you.  Fire safety is one of the most important responsibilities you will assume.  Make sure you know what your responsibilities are regarding safety.

Tips for Preventing Fires in Your Home or Apartment

  • Never ignore a fire alarm; fires can spread quickly.  Evacuate immediately even when there is no smoke present.
  • Have an escape plan.  Know where the fire exits are, and have two escape routes from each room.  Practice your alternate escape route during fire drills.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets.  If you need to plug multiple appliances into an outlet, use a power strip.  Extension cords and multi-plug adapters are prohibited.
  • Candles and incense burning devices are prohibited in all Dorm Rooms.
  • Don't leave food unattended on the stove or in the microwave.  Be sure to turn off all burners and your stove whenever you leave your apartment.
  • Smoking is allowed in designated areas only.
  • Portable heaters can be dangerous if used improperly.  Portable space heaters for dorm rooms can be obtained from Campus Life.
  • Always check the wattage in light bulbs to make sure you are using the correct bulbs in light fixtures to prevent overheating.  Verify your lighting unit with your R.A. to ensure that it is acceptable to the Dorm Rules.
  • Do not hang items from fire sprinklers.
  • Do not place any item over Smoke Detectors that would prohibit smoke from reaching the device.

In Case Fire Does Strike

  • Cornell's Fire Safety Plan
  • If you hear an alarm, leave at once - do not delay.  Close all doors behind you!  If you know the location of the fire, call 911 and say "I want to report a fire".  Stay on the phone with the 911 Operator until they say you can hang up.
  • Don't try to fight the fire or round up valuables.  Evacuate your room and dorm immediately.
  • Avoid elevators.  Use the stairs.
  • Feel all doors before opening.  If a door feels hot, or if smoke is seeping out, DO NOT OPEN IT.
  • If you wake in a smoke-filled room, avoid breathing deeply, cover your nose and mouth with a cloth if possible, drop to the floor and crawl to an exit.
  • If you become trapped in your room and cannot reach a fire exit, do not panic.  Close your door and seal off any cracks with wet towels.  If you can, call 911, give them your name, address and location in the building.  Open a window for air and signal for help.  Do not jump!  WAIT for help.
  • If in smoke or heat, stay low where the air is better.  Take short, quick breaths through the nose until you reach safety.

Portable Electric Heater Safety

Portable electric space heaters can provide additional comfort over and above the building's heating system when used properly.  Unfortunately, the use of these heaters increases the risk of fire and injury.  The following Operating Guidelines provide Cornell University's staff and faculty guidance for the safe use of portable electric space heaters in campus facilities. 

  • Only "UL" listed and labeled portable, electric space heaters can be used
  • Must be equipped with an "Emergency Shutoff Tip Over Feature"
  • Must be plugged directly into an approved wall outlet receptacle and never used with an extension cord or power strip
  • Must never be operated within 3 feet of any combustible Materials (e.g. curtains, paper, plastic, cloth, etc.)
  • Must be turned off and or unplugged when not in use and at the end of each business day
  • Shall only be operated in locations for which they are listed
  • Always read and follow manufacturer's guidelines 
  • Review the Portable Portable Heater Safety document for further information.

Please review the attached Safety Bulletin and if you have any additional questions regarding the safe use of portable space heaters please feel free to contact us directly.