Fire Precautions and Drills

Fire Safety Procedures — Dormitories

If students smell smoke or hear the fire alarm, they should follow the steps below:

  1. Close windows, open shades, and turn on lights.
  2. Feel door surfaces before opening. If the door is warm, do not open it: signal for help from the window. If the door is not warm, exit quickly.
  3. Proceed immediately to the nearest exit.
  4. Leave doors open. (An employee may close doors as they confirm the complete evacuation of each space.)
  5. Sound alarm if needed.
  6. Go directly to the designated gathering place for roll call and instructions.
  7. Upon authorization from fire marshal or designee, students may return to the dormitory.

Fire Code

Employees (and students) have the obligation to remove—and the right to request removal of—any decoration, furnishing, or other possession that appears to compromise the health or safety of anyone. This can include furniture in rooms or corridors that blocks sightlines or is arranged in such a way that it hinders direct and rapid egress. Each student may have:

Wall Hangings

  • One bulletin board no larger than 2 feet x 3 feet.
  • Four “uncovered” paper decorations (maximum size 2 x 3 feet). All other flammable materials (posters, prints, etc.) must be framed under Plexiglas or glass that is at least 1/16 of an inch thick.
  • All nylon, plastic, and cloth wall hangings are prohibited unless framed and under glass or Plexiglas.
  • Decorations in rooms may only be hung from vertical surfaces and may not be hung over windows or doorways.
  • Nothing may be hung from sprinkler heads or piping.
  • Flammable materials, even if fire treated or framed, are not permitted within two feet of any doorway.


  • One piece of stuffed, upholstered furniture (not including a padded desk chair) per room. Students found to be in violation of furniture limit restrictions will be charged for the removal and disposal of the extra furniture. Purchase of Fire Code Compliant desk chairs can be facilitated through Hitchcock House.
  • All upholstered furniture, including desk chairs, must be in compliance with the State of California Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation Technical Bulletin Number 117. The following label must be affixed to any upholstered furniture for use in a Deerfield dorm: NOTICE: THIS ARTICLE IS MANUFACTURED FOR USE IN PUBLIC OCCUPANCIES AND MEETS THE FLAMMABILITY REQUIREMENTS OF CALIFORNIA BUREAU OF HOME FURNISHINGS TECHNICAL BULLETIN 117. Furniture without this tag will be removed and disposed of immediately by the Physical Plant and students will be charged for removal and disposal.
  • Polystyrene (bean-bag) chairs are prohibited.

Electrical Appliances

  • Electrical appliances for cooking or heating (including sunlamps, hotpots, coffee makers, or space heaters) are not permitted in student rooms, corridors, bathrooms, or common rooms, unless approved by the Director of Safety and Security and the Dean of Students.
  • Irons are permitted for use in common rooms only.
  • Blow dryers and flatirons are permitted but should be unplugged immediately after use.
  • No electrical string lights (i.e. holiday, decorative) of any kind are allowed.
  • No lava lamps.
  • Extension cords must be of heavy-gauge wire with a three-prong (grounded) plug and carry only one outlet. If additional outlets are needed, the use of a pre-wired multiple outlet strip with a circuit breaker is required.
  • Halogen lamps and other high intensity lamps in excess of 100 watts are prohibited.

Other Considerations


  • Bicycles and other personal belongings may not be stored in corridors or stairwells.
  • Dormitory room doors must be unlocked when people are in the room.

Procedures for Fire Code Inspections

Designated fire code inspectors will visit student rooms and common areas regularly, but faculty residents bear principle responsibility for student adherence to the fire code. The procedure for reporting and following up on a violation is as follows:

  1. When an inspector observes a fire code violation, the student receives a written warning, and a follow-up report is shared with the deans and resident faculty.
  2. Upon notification, the student must correct the problem immediately. The faculty resident should confirm that the violation has been addressed.
  3. For a repeat violation, the student receives APs that accumulate for each day that the violation continues. Ongoing violations may result in additional disciplinary action.