Residential Life

All residence halls are equipped with fire alarms that provide a loud alarm and light flash in common areas and individual rooms, and are connected to Brown University Public Safety and the Providence Fire Department; sprinklers in the common areas and individual rooms; fire doors as exterior, lounge, hall, stair and room doors; and fire extinguishers located in hallways and all kitchens. Environmental Health and Safety staff conduct fire drills in all residence halls during the year.

Rhode Island state fire safety laws prohibit some items in residence halls that would be allowed in family homes or apartments (e.g., candles, space heaters, torchiere lamps with halogen bulbs, halogen desk lamps). A list of items that are allowed and disallowed, whether by state law or Brown policy, is communicated to students before they arrive at Brown and repeated while they are on campus.

Please take every fire alarm seriously! It is true that you may experience a number of false alarms while living in the residence halls, but you won’t know until afterwards if this is truly the case.

The fire alarms sound a loud audible signal in the building; they are also connected to Brown University Public Safety and the Providence Fire Department. Once an alarm sounds, a building cannot be reentered until after the Fire Department authorizes re- entry.

Fire alarm pull stations are located on every floor in every residence hall. Alarms can also be set off by the heat and smoke detectors on the ceilings.

Fire alarms may also be triggered by food burning in the kitchen. Residents should be aware that these devices are sensitive to being struck (e.g. with a ball), which may trigger the alarm to sound.

Actions or negligence leading to the sounding of a fire alarm will result in disciplinary action, a fine, and payment for repair of damages (whether alarm results from food left burning on the stove, discharge from a fire extinguisher, or malicious pulling of an alarm).

Pulling a false alarm and/or tampering with a smoke or heat detector or any device which activates a fire alarm will result in disciplinary action, a fine of up to $1,000.00, and penalty up to possible separation from the University. If the responsible party is not identified, the building or unit from which the alarm originated may be collectively billed.

All exterior, lounge, hall, stair and room doors are specially constructed to slow the spread of fire and smoke. It is for this reason that fire doors, especially in corridors and in stairways, must be kept closed and should never be propped open. If you leave a fire door propped open, you give fire a free path into the rest of the building. You may only prop open a fire door if it r has a magnet that keeps it in the open position; this magnet will release and allow the door to close if the fire alarm is activated.

Fire drills are an essential practice for how to respond in the event of an emergency. All occupants must evacuate a building when the fire alarm sounds. Failure to do so is in violation of Rhode Island State Law and University policy, and is subject to disciplinary action and a fine of up to $200.00.

Fire escapes on the exterior building of a building exist for the protection of people inside the building. Please remember that fire escapes are not an extension of the room, nor are they a laundry line or a plant stand. To be able to escape in the event of a fire or other emergency, people must be able to get to the fire escape and be able to walk down them.

Do not block access to fire escapes and do not put anything on them.

Fire extinguishers in the residence halls are located in all hallways and kitchens. Fire extinguishers are inspected on a regular basis. If an extinguisher needs to be refilled, contact the Fire Safety Office at 401-863-3462 or 401-863-3353. Discharging an extinguisher for any reason other than to put out a fire is grounds for a fine and disciplinary action.

Because of the fire risk involved, possession or storage of chemicals, spray paints/solvents or any similar hazardous materials in residence hall rooms or storage areas is absolutely prohibited. Consult Residential Life staff with any questions or concerns.

Detectors mounted on the ceiling or high on the walls are designed to initiate early warning to residents in the event of fire. Smoke detectors are generally found in the sleeping quarters and can be triggered by smoke, dust, dirt or even steam. Heat detectors are placed in locations where smoke detectors would not be appropriate - such as near bathrooms (showers), kitchens, or in mechanical rooms and closets.

Residents should be aware that these safety devices are sensitive not only to smoke or heat but also to being struck (e.g., by an item thrown in the room or hallway). In all instances, those responsible for causing the detector to sound will be held accountable for any ensuing alarm.

Residents are reminded as well that anyone who disconnects or otherwise disables a detector is considered to be tampering with fire safety equipment and will be held accountable through the University's disciplinary process.

Behavior judged to be intended to willfully set off a detector (e.g., concentrated smoke directly under a smoke detector, or placing a heat source immediately below a heat detector) will be considered to be "tampering" and is subject to disciplinary action.

Tampering with any fire equipment within a residence hall will result in a $300 fine.

Residence halls are outfitted with sprinkler-type fire suppression systems. The sprinklers are designed and installed to cover specific areas, so that all spaces are ultimately covered.

Any obstacles or obstructions, in any direction, would decrease the effectiveness of fire suppression sprinklers and are therefore prohibited. If there is any question about whether or not a room adaptation you plan would block a sprinkler, you are urged to contact Residential Life or the University Fire Safety Office first.