Fire Safety on Campus and Evacuation Procedures
Housing & Dining Services works with Poudre Fire Authority, CSU Emergency Management, CSU police and the university’s Environmental Health Services department to ensure a safe environment for residence hall and apartment life students and their families. Housing staff and other university health and safety officials monitor all standards. Student rooms are periodically inspected to help promote fire‐and life‐safety awareness, as well as identifying any noncompliance with safety standards.
Poudre Fire Authority and CSU:
- Provide fire safety education
- Schedule fire drills at all residence halls each semester
- Jointly investigate fires on campus
- Provide fire safety training to all residence hall staff
- Perform fire code inspections for building remodels and new construction
To maintain safe campus environments in university housing, smoking, candles, and open flames are not allowed in residence halls and only safe, low wattage, UL‐approved electrical appliances without open coils may be used. More detailed information about fire safety policies can be found on the Housing & Dining Services website (https://housing.colostate.edu/halls/policies/) or by calling University Housing at 970‐491‐4719.
University Housing Policies
Housing policies related to fire safety include but are not limited to the following.
- Halogen lamps are prohibited.
- Candles and open flames are not allowed. Due to fire safety and the Poudre Fire Authority’s adoption of the 2018 International Fire Code, candles ‐‐ including unburned or decorative ‐‐ and any items with an open flame or exposed heating coils, are not allowed in residence hall rooms. Incense burning is also not permitted.
- Flammable liquids such as kerosene, gasoline, lighter fluid, and other flammable liquids are NOT permitted in the residence halls.
- Appliances are allowed on a limited basis. The misuse and illegal use of electrical appliances create serious hazards in residence halls. Only safe, relatively low‐wattage appliances are permitted in your room. These include hair dryers, shavers, hot curlers, study lamps, radios, televisions, DVD and CD players, electric blankets, thermostatically controlled coffee makers, popcorn poppers, small microwave ovens, and compact refrigerators. Do not cook with open flames or coils. Toasters, toaster ovens, or electric coil cook tops are not allowed. Do not leave food in an appliance unattended. Fires have even been caused by popcorn burning in a microwave.
- Electrical light fixtures are not to be modified in any way. If additional outlets are needed, special multiple‐outlet boxes with built‐in breakers (“power strips”) can be purchased at a hardware store. Each power strip used must be plugged into a wall outlet – do not plug power strips into other power strips. Appliances such as microwaves and refrigerators must be plugged directly into a wall outlet, not an extension cord or power strip.
- Fire extinguishers are located on every floor as well as in the main office of each residence hall.
- Each residence hall conducts a minimum of two drills per year, with some conducting as many as four. Drills prepare building occupants for an organized evacuation in case of a fire or other emergency. During the drills, students learn the locations of the emergency exits and how to exit the building.
- Plans for future fire safety improvements are considered when residence halls are constructed or remodeled, and CSU conducts health and safety inspections to constantly monitor the fire safety systems to be sure they are working and makes repairs as needed.
- Allison and Newsom halls have both received upgraded fire suppression systems.
- Westfall and Durward were updated with digital fire alarm systems.
- Additional horns were installed in corner suites in Westfall and Durward.
- Plans are in motion to replace Summit Hall fire suppression system in summer 2023.
Colorado State University residence halls are equipped with:
- Smoke and heat detectors
- Fire alarm pull stations
- Fire sprinkler flow switches
- Alarm notification devices
- Fire extinguishers
Housing & Dining Services staff receive significant fire and life safety training, including, but not limited to:
- All Housing & Dining staff receive fire extinguisher training. Staff who are in spaces where CO2 extinguishers are present (such as mechanical and server rooms) receive additional training specific to this extinguisher type.
- All Housing & Dining Facilities staff are required to complete the EHS online training “Right-to Know HazCom Fire Safety Training.”
- All Housing & Dining Facilities staff participate in weekly “safety huddles,” and topics covered include, but are not limited to emergency action plans, fire prevention, fires: fight or evacuate, carbon monoxide, fire extinguisher usage, first aid for burns, and first aid for health emergencies.
- Residential Dining Services staff who perform certain roles in kitchens receive kitchen hood systems training to mitigate fire hazards.
- All residential spaces are inspected at least annually while occupied to check for fire safety hazards and educate residents on fire safety as needed.
- All residential facilities have a minimum of two fire drills per year (at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters).
- Administrative buildings undergo fire drills at least once a year.
- Fire safety resources – including fire alarm system sounds – are on our website at https://housing.colostate.edu/safety/. A hall evacuation safety video is also on the website.
- ADA accommodations pertaining to fire safety (such as strobe light systems for the hearing impaired, specific evacuation plans, etc) are provided to students with disabilities.
- Fire safety training and outreach activities are offered to staff and students throughout the academic year and by request:
- Fire science experiments with Poudre Fire Authority
- Fire safety trivia at the Ramskellar
- Live grease fire demonstration
- Movie Night with Backdraft (pop-ups about inaccuracies and misconceptions in the movie) and Fire Line: Wildfire in Colorado
- Real Heroes Firefighter on the Wii
- Booths at resource fairs
- Fire safety for children at Aggie Family and University Village
- Smoke filled room experience
- Spray a fire hose experience
- Virtual reality of a burn house (actual footage from Poudre Fire Authority from a CSU student house fire – students were all okay)
- Fire safety display at Lory Student Center display cabinet
Resident Assistants have put up safety related bulletin boards
On campuses in all buildings
- All fire alarm panels display a detailed graphic map pinpointing the exact location of the device in alarm or trouble in the building for CSUPD.
- Fire extinguishers and suppression systems are regularly tested.
- In 2021 4,706 residents completed an online fire evacuation knowledge check.
- Fire extinguisher training is available to building proctors, housing staff (Residence Directors, Assistant Residence Directors, Residence Assistants), and faculty and staff.
- Annual evacuation drills are conducted in university buildings including identifying the location of fire alarm pull stations, AEDs, alternate exits and areas of refuge.
- Annual evacuation drills are coordinated by the University Emergency Manager for academic buildings.
- Evacuation drills may be done in collaboration with CSUPD and Poudre Fire Authority.
- Drills are to prepare building occupants for an organized evacuation in case of a fire or other emergency.
- During a drill, occupants learn the locations of the emergency exits in the buildings and the direction to travel when exiting the building.
- Each university building has an assigned building proctor, an assistant proctor, and a building safety plan, developed with the assistance of building proctors.
- Building proctors are trained to assist in emergencies and drills. Building proctors are listed here http://www.fm.colostate.edu/proctors.
- Due to COVID-19 mitigation strategies the Spring 2021 fire drill was held virtually. This required Fire Evacuation Knowledge Check led students through video modules to help them understand what constitutes a fire alarm, what fire equipment and system notification occurs, how to evacuate their building, what a “post-evacuation assembly site” is, understand the dynamics of fire and smoke, learn what it means to “shelter in place”, and learn what happens to an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) during a fire alarm activation.
To report a fire
To report an active fire, call 911 or pull a fire alarm pull station.
To report a fire that has previously occurred you may contact:
- Colorado State University Police Department at 970‐491‐6425
- Housing Assistant Safety Coordinator at 970‐491‐6511 (if a fire occurred in a residence hall or dining center)
- University Emergency Manager at 970‐491‐6425
General evacuation procedures and university emergency response:
- When a fire alarm is activated, all residents, guests, and staff are to evacuate the building immediately. NO EXCEPTIONS!
- Before an emergency arises, make sure you know the location of exits and your meeting
In a fire situation:
- Do not panic; stay as calm as You will need to think clearly to make the right decisions.
- If you are inside of a room with a door with a doorknob, feel the doorknob with the back of your hand or palm to test for heat.
- If the door is cool, brace yourself against it, and open it slowly to check for flames or
- If there is smoke in the air, stay low and move quickly in a crouched position or crawl to the nearest exit. The most breathable air is always near the floor.
- If one exit is blocked, try the next nearest
- Alert others by shouting or knocking on doors as you make your way to an
- Always escape via stairs – never use elevators during a
- Once you evacuate, follow directions of fire and police personnel, and never re‐enter the building until authorized.
Failure to evacuate a building is a serious act that could result in disciplinary action. Fire extinguishers are placed in academic and office buildings according to fire code.
Abusing fire equipment, intentionally creating a false alarm, or intentionally setting a fire are serious crimes. Violators are subject to fines, university disciplinary procedures, and criminal prosecution.
If a potential or active hazard has been identified and a building evacuation is required
Leave: Evacuate the building immediately using the nearest safe exit.
Before opening doors, feel the door first using the back of your hand. If the door is hot, do not open it. If it is not hot, brace yourself against it and open it slowly to check for flames and smoke.
- Do not waste time gathering belongings, but if within your reach, gather essential items such as keys, phone, medications, and jacket.
- Use stairs to exit the building.
- Always know multiple ways out of a building in case an exit is blocked.
- Close doors behind you if it is safe to do so, but do not delay evacuation.
- NEVER ignore a fire alarm or assume it is a false alarm.
Alert: Direct others to evacuate by knocking on doors and shouting while you are leaving.
- DO NOT delay your evacuation to alert others.
Go: Go to designated emergency evacuation assembly area.
Inform: Call 911 if you have information about the cause of the building evacuation.
If safe evacuation is not possible, stay in room and shelter-in-place:
- Shut the door.
- Call 911.
- Prevent smoke from coming into room by taping or stuffing items around door and vents.
- Get the attention of emergency responders out a window.
Individuals with Disabilities
Individuals with disabilities who cannot evacuate the building using stairwells should seek shelter in the nearest exterior or enclosed stairwell and remain there. Once in the stairwell, call 911 and provide dispatch with the location of the stair tower (level and direction) which is indicated on a sign hung in the stairwell. If possible, the person should notify an individual of their location. If evacuation to a stair tower is not possible, shelter-in-place and call 911. Provide dispatch with the location of the room.