Fire Safety at Princeton University Bob Gregory – Fire Marshal

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Fire Safety at Princeton University

  • Bob Gregory – Fire Marshal

  • Ken Paulaski – Housing Inspection Manager

Program Overview

  • Fire Inspection Program

  • Organizational Mandates

  • Kitchen Fire Safety

  • Life Safety Systems

  • Evacuation

  • Fires at Princeton University

Dormitory Fire Safety Inspection Program

  • Fire inspections start this fall and there are four inspections for every dorm per year. If you have any questions please refer to the Residential Living Guide or call 8-3995.


Fire Code Violations

  • The following are the most common fire code violations:

  • Blocking or obstructing egress routes.

  • Improper use of electric cords.

  • Propping open entry doors.

  • Tampering with fire extinguishers.

Fire Code Violations

  • Control the amount of combustible materials in a room.

Fire Code Violations

  • Fire extinguishers are not for holding open doors or for water fights. The extinguishers are there for first responders to use in the event of a fire.

How can you avoid overloaded circuits?

Organizational Mandates

The following are examples of prohibitions:

    • Smoking
    • Use of candles/incense/halogen Lamps
    • Possession of fireworks and flammable liquids
    • BBQ Grills:
    • "Possession of or cooking with grills or other portable cookers is prohibited, except under the guidelines established by the Dining Services Cookout Policy. Any grills discovered on the exterior of any building will be confiscated and disposed of immediately."
    • Please see the Housing web page for full details.

Authorized Electrical Appliances

  • Coffee Makers: A thermostat and in line fuse.

  • Iced Tea Makers: A thermostat and in line fuse.

  • Hot Air Popper: A thermostat and in line fuse. No reservoir for heating butter/margarine.

  • Tea Kettle: A thermostat and in line fuse. Restricted spout opening.

  • Water Coolers: A thermostat and in line fuse.

  • MicroFrigde

  • All appliances must have the final approval of the Housing Inspection Manager before they can be used in Campus Housing.

An Academic Problem Solved: The MicroFridge

  • The MicroFridge can only be rented through the student agencies.


Nuisance Alarms

  • When a nuisance alarm occurs (such as unattended cooking), each occupant of the room in which the alarm originated from will receive a warning on first offense.


  • If there is a second violation, a $50 fine per occupant will be issued to each of the originating room occupants.

  • Upon third offense, a $100 fine per occupant will be issued to each of the originating room occupants.

  • A $200 fine per occupant will be assessed to each of the originating room occupants for a fourth offense.

  • A fifth offense is subject to disciplinary action which could include the confiscation of the appliance and/or loss of housing.

Zero Tolerance Policy for Intentionally Activated Alarms


Kitchen Fire Safety

Some Statistics

  • Spring 2005 – Princeton University Public Safety responded to 128 alarms caused by cooking.

  • Spring 2006 – Princeton University Public Safety responded to 67 alarms caused by cooking.

  • NEVER leave anything cooking on your stove or in the microwave unattended. This is the most common cause of fires and alarm activations in the dorms.

  • Microwave ovens: Know the dangers. No metal products; use only approved utensils and containers.

Help Prevent Kitchen Fires

  • Minimize Kitchen Fire Safety hazards — Before you start cooking and when leaving the kitchen:

  • Check your stove, and other cooking equipment.

  • Check for and clean up accumulated grease.

  • Remove combustibles from near hot surfaces.

  • Do not reheat pizza in the box!

  • Read the directions before you microwave!!!

Life Safety Systems

  • Carbon Monoxide detection

  • Fire alarms

  • Sprinkler systems

Carbon Monoxide Kills 1 At Va. College

  • (7/14/06 - SALEM, VA) - Carbon monoxide leaked into a Roanoke College dormitory early Friday, sickening more than 100 teens and adults attending summer programs. One man was found dead.


Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Butler – 1915, Lourie Love

  • Forbes – Main, Addition, 99 Alexander Road

  • 1901/Laughlin

Two types of Fire Detection in the Dormitories

  • Smoke Detector

      • Ionization
      • Photoelectric
      • The detector will alarm when it senses smoke.
  • Heat Detectors

      • Fixed Temperature
      • Rate-of-Rise
      • The detector will alarm when it senses heat.

Manual Pull Stations

  • Manual Pull stations devices are located on the wall (usually near an exit).

    • They are activated by pulling on a handle.
    • This sends a signal to the building’s fire alarm system which in turn places the building into alarm.

Notification Appliances

    • When the fire detection or suppression system is activated, this device will activate two ways: the device will sound a horn and the strobe light will activate.

Fire Alarm System Interfaces

  • Magnetic hold opens keep fire doors open for occupants convenience while moving through the dorms. Upon activation of the fire alarm system the doors will close to insure that the stairwells are kept clear of smoke and heat for safe evacuation.

Help Prevent Nuisance Alarms

  • The following are common causes of nuisance alarms in the dormitories:

    • Aerosol
    • Steam
    • Powder

How do Sprinklers work?

Fire Suppression Systems

  • Help prevent false sprinkler activations. Do not hang items from the sprinkler head.

Evacuation Responsibilities?

  • Evacuate!

Evacuation Procedures

  • Take your room key

  • Check door for heat before opening

  • Open the door slowly

Evacuation Procedures

  • Close doors behind you

  • Stay low

  • Follow hall to exit

  • Remain outside until “All Clear”

Evacuation Procedures

Mandatory Evacuation Drills

  • State law requires that the University conduct two fire drills per year.

Emergency Evacuation

  • Review your college emergency evacuation plan.

  • Review the evacuation placard on the back of the room doors.

  • Know fire evacuation routes.

  • Know exterior designated meeting location for student accountability.

Emergency Planning Task Force

  • The following web site provides you with information about emergency preparedness and real time information about emergency situations at the University:


Fires at Princeton University

  • Fires happen at Princeton University. In the Spring of 2001 a student lost 95% of the contents in the room as a result of a fire.

Arson Statistics

  • From 1999-2002 an average of 420 fires were intentionally set each year. The average number of fires per year was 2,333.

    • Source: National Fire Protection Association Fire Loss in the U.S. During 2004 Abridged Report and USFA's Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2004.

Arson at Princeton University

  • The following are easy targets for firesetters:

    • Lamp post
    • Bulletin boards
    • Cigarette outposts
    • Trash cans

What is Arson?

  • Title 2C. The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1

  • a. Aggravated arson. A person is guilty of aggravated arson, a crime of the second degree, if he starts a fire or causes an explosion, whether on his own property or another's: b. Arson. A person is guilty of arson, a crime of the third degree, if he purposely starts a fire or causes an explosion, whether on his own property or another's: c. Failure to control or report dangerous fire. A person who knows that a fire is endangering life or a substantial amount of property of another and either fails to take reasonable measures to put out or control the fire, when he can do so without substantial risk to himself, or to give prompt fire alarm, commits a crime of the fourth degree if:

Types of Arsonist

  • ARSON FOR REVENGE (41%) - precipitating factor is a real or imagined affront that occurred months or years ago; attack is focused on individual rivals, a business chain, schools, or some facilities connected with offender

  • ARSON FOR EXCITEMENT (30%) - precipitating factor is boredom, (sexual) thrill cycle, or need for attention; attack is focused on large or outdoor targets, like parks, construction sites, arenas, as well as residential areas

  • ARSON FOR VANDALISM (7%) - precipitating factor is family disturbance or peer pressure; attack if usually focused on educational facility as well as residences and outdoors



Arson Prevention

  • What can I do if I suspect someone or witness someone setting a fire?

  • Call Public Safety for additional information

    • 258-1000 or 911 


  • Bob Gregory - University Fire Marshal

      • Public Safety Department – 200 Elm Drive
      • x 8-6805
  • Ken Paulaski - Fire Safety Inspection Manager

      • Housing Office – Wilcox Hall
      • x 8-3995
  • Housing Office Web Site

  • Public Safety Web Sitehttp: //

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