Fire Safety

Why is fire safety and prevention important?

Here are some statistics that may surprise you:

  • During an average year, there are approximately 2,000 fires on college and university property across the nation. (This does not include off-campus apartments or Greek housing.)
  • From these fires, there are an estimated 15 deaths of college students, staff, or faculty. Typically more than half of the people who died were legally intoxicated.

Fire safety is taken very seriously at Nazareth University, for the protection of every member of our community.

How is Nazareth University protected from fire?

Nazareth University is protected by advanced fire detection and extinguishing systems. These systems provide immediate notification of a fire or smoke situation. These systems are great but only effective if people respect the alarm when activated.

On Campus Fire Safety

What do I do if I hear a fire alarm in my building?

If the fire alarm is activated in your building, you will hear horns/speakers and see flashing strobes. When the fire alarm is activated, proceed to the NEAREST exit immediately and leave the building. Remain outside until you are advised to re-enter the building by Campus Safety. Just because the alarms have stopped does not mean that it is safe to return.

Remaining in your room during a fire alarm is not only unsafe but it is a crime. You can be prosecuted by the Town of Pittsford or sanctions can be applied through Nazareth University.

If you have information about why the fire alarm was activated (you caused it, you know what caused it, or you have witnessed something), remain outside and seek out a responding Campus Safety officer and say what happened.

What do I do if I see smoke or fire?
  1. Activate the fire alarm using a pull station. This will alert others in the building that there is an emergency.
  2. Second, evacuate the building. Help others who may need assistance due to limited mobility or another impairment.
  3. Third, remain outside until instructed to return by Campus Safety. If you have knowledge of the situation (where a fire is located or what may have caused the alarm), seek out a Campus Safety officer to deliver the information.

When an alarm is activated, feel the door to the room before exiting. If the door is hot or the hallway is filled with heavy smoke, stay inside your room. Keep the door closed but unlocked. Place wet towels (if available) at the bottom of the door to prevent smoke from entering. If you are on the first floor, windows are a potential exit. If possible, contact Campus Safety and advise them of your location and specific needs. Go to the window and signal to the fire department that someone is in the room (possibly with a towel or bed sheet).

What if I can't evacuate due to limited mobility?

When the fire alarms activate, the building elevators immediately go off-line. Thus if you have limited mobility and can't safetly use the stairs, please shelter in place. The proper procedure for sheltering in place is:

  • Close the door to the room you are in but do not lock. A closed door provides a barrier to a fire just outside.
  • Call Campus Safety on a wall phone or on your cell phone at 585-389-2850.
  • You will be given further information and instructions by Campus Safety.
  • Remain in the current room. Campus Safety and/or the Fire Department will come to you.

You will only be physically evacuated by Campus Safety or the Fire Department is you are in harms way.

If you would like to discuss your personal emergency plan in further details, please contact Campus Safety at Kevin Riordan 585-389-2850 or


What are the most common causes of fire alarms?
  • Cooking: Most often, someone either overheats the food or a pan runs out of water, causing the food to burn. Because of this possibility, all cooking food must be attended. Any unattended cooking will be turned off and removed.
    • When cooking on the stovetop, start the item on a low heat and then slowly increase the heat.
    • When cooking in a microwave, start with the minimum amount of time (for microwave popcorn this is only 2 minutes). More time can be added if the food needs to be cooked further.
  • Hair care equipment: Hair curlers, hair dryers, and hair straighteners are the second most common cause of alarms. These items produce hot steam and blow dust, either of which can activate an alarm.

    • When you are using a hair straightener, curler, or dryer, LOOK UP! Do not use these items directly below a smoke detector. Try to use them near a window. Turn on a fan.

    • If possible, use these items in the bathroom. Bathrooms have detectors that are not sensitive to steam or dust.

What fire safety equipment is in my building?

A building's safety equipment varies depending on the building's use, date of construction, and date(s) of renovation. All buildings are protected by smoke and heat detectors and active alarm systems.

For information on specific buildings, please contact Campus Safety.

What items are allowed in residence halls? What is prohibited?

Nazareth residence halls are a student's home away from home. Most items that students wish to bring are allowed, but there are limits for everyone's safety — based on federal, state, and local regulations and Nazareth policies. If you are found in violation of the regulations (listed in the Undergraduate Handbook) you face disciplinary sanctions through the Nazareth Student Conduct Process. If the items pose an immediate threat to security or fire safety, they will be removed and destroyed.

See Residential Life's packing list for allowed items.

If you have any questions about a particular item, speak to your RA or call Campus Safety before purchasing or bringing it to your room.

What items are allowed in my office? Are the rules different from residence halls? What about space heaters?

The same items prohibited from residence halls are also prohibited from offices,  except for space heaters. Space heaters are allowed but only if they have all of the required safety features and are approved by the fire safety officer, by appointment. This simple process takes a few minutes. All space heaters must be registered annually; use the form below, which also details the required safety features. Contact Campus Safety to get a heater inspected.

Space Heater Checklist

Will my residence hall and/or office be inspected?


Residence hall rooms are inspected at least once per year. Items that violate the fire safety policy may be removed or a warning letter will be left.

  • If an item is removed, a letter will be left describing why it was removed. You may get the item returned at the end of the semester (refer to the dates on the removal letter).
  • If a warning letter is left, then you have a specific period of time to correct the situation. Your room will be re-inspected. If the item or situation has not been corrected, the item will be removed. You may get the item returned at the end of the semester.

Offices will be inspected while Campus Safety patrols campus buildings. Offices that are open will be visually inspected from the hallway. If a prohibited item is found, the staff/faculty member will be informed and will have a chance to remove the item. If the item is not removed in a timely manner, Campus Safety will remove the item.

During the spring semester, the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control conducts a campus-wide inspection. They randomly select residence hall rooms and offices to inspect. If your room/office is selected, it will be inspected.

What are the most common prohibited items found during an inspection?

Most of the rooms and offices inspected have no prohibited items found. When prohibited items are found, the most common are:

  • Extension cords: This is the most common prohibited fire safety item found. They are not allowed on campus. Extension cords are not designed to be continuously used and thus may get hot or (if damaged) create a spark that may ignite a fire. All extension cords should be replaced with power strips, but no daisy chaining.
  • Lamps with more than three heads (a.k.a. octopus lamps): Within the past few years, major fires have been started by lamps with more than three heads. As close as Fredonia, N.Y., there was a major residence hall fire caused by one of these lamps. Because of the danger, all lamps that have more than three heads are prohibited.
  • Over wattage bulbs: All lamps are designed to use a light bulb of a specific size (i.e. 60 watts, 45 watts), listed on a small sticker on the lamp. If a more powerful light bulb is used, the light may overheat and start a fire. An even better idea is to use florescent light bulbs. These stay at a much cooler temperature during operation, use only a fraction of the energy, and last longer.
Will there be fire drills?

Yes. During any alarm, evacuate the building immediately.

  • Residence halls have four drills per year. Two are during the fall semester (at least one after sunset), one in the spring semester, and one during the summer semester.
  • Academic buildings have three drills per year — once each during the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Regardless if the alarm is a drill or caused by an emergency, you must immediately evacuate the building by the nearest exit. If you stay in your room during any type of alarm, you face disciplinary sanctions.

What are fire doors and what do they do?

First of all, fire doors are doors. They look like doors and, under normal circumstances, they function like doors. But fire doors are special in that they resist fire. Most fire doors are rated to prevent the spread of fire for two hours or more. These are essential pieces of fire safety equipment. Because these doors are designed to prevent fire, they must not be covered with flammable materials (including paper). Any postings on fire doors will be removed by Campus Safety.

Can I hang items from pipes, including sprinkler pipes?

No. No items can be hung off any exposed pipes or the sprinkler pipes. Any items found hanging from these will be removed.

How often is the fire safety system inspected?
  • The entire campus is comprehensively inspected by the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control annually.
  • All smoke detectors, heat detectors, strobes and horns are tested annually for functionality by an outside contractor.
  • All sprinkler systems are tested and inspected quarterly by an outside contractor.
  • Fire extinguishers are inspected monthly and training opportunities are offered throughout the year.

Additional Fire Safety

Pavilion Fireplace and Mobile Fire Pit Use

Nazareth University allows fires in the Pavilion fireplace and Nazareth-owned mobile fire pits. A permit is required from Campus Safety. Please complete a Pavilion Fireplace and Fire Pit Use Form at least one business day prior. See page 2 for the fire prevention regulations.

Questions: Please call or stop down to Campus Safety.

Other fireplaces on campus (besides the Pavilion), are not to be used by any person under any circumstances. They are off limits!

Off-Campus and Commuters

The dangers of fire are not limited or unique to university campuses. Most fire related injuries actually occur off-campus. Living in rented apartments requires a different type of safety investigation. Here are some items you should look for in your rented apartment/house:

  • Evacuation paths: How do you get out of the house/apartment? What if the main path is blocked? Could I evacuate without electricity (i.e. lights)?
  • Smoke detectors: Are there smoke detectors in the house/apartment? Is there at least one on every floor?
  • Smoke detector test: Press the "test" button at least once per month to verify the detector is working.
  • Fire extinguisher: Is there a fire extinguisher located in the house/apartment? Could you get to it in an emergency? The best place is near the kitchen.
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors: It is now New York State law that all apartments have CO detectors in place. CO is a potentially deadly gas that is caused by burning of fossil fuels (natural gas, oil, coal). It is colorless and odorless. CO detectors are the only way to find the deadly gas. These should be tested monthly. Look for the small "test" button.
Hot Work

"Hot work" is defined as any work that produces significant heat, uses an open flame, or may produce sparks. Examples of hot work are welding, soldering, metal cutting, metal grinding, and brazing. As required by state law, all hot work must be approved by Campus Safety before commencing. A specific "hot work permit" must be issued and clearly displayed during work. The permit must also be closed out with Campus Safety prior to the termination of the job. In most circumstances, additional fire protection will be temporarily put in place.

To obtain a permit, please contact Campus Safety at 585-389-2850.

Important: If you bring individuals from outside the university (contractors, guest lectures, presenters, etc.), it is your responsibility to obtain the hot work permit.

For more information:

Please call Campus Safety at 585-389-2850 or