Housing Regulations

Excerpts from The Key concerning Fire Safety

Fire Safety -Rules, Prohibited Equipment / Devices and Related Fines (p.71)
Fire extinguishers, heat and smoke detectors, pull stations, sprinkler heads and pipe, automatic door closers, evacuation signs, exit signs, smoke free building signs and emergency lights are all considered "life safety devices". Tampering with, vandalizing, or misuse of any of these devices is a chargeable Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia (punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2500 fine) and is considered a serious life safety offense by the College. This includes intentionally setting off a fire alarm (activating a pull station) when there is no fire, covering a smoke detector or sprinkler head, falsely reporting a fire, or the setting of a fire. The lighting of fireworks is considered hazardous and is strictly prohibited. Violation of any of these rules may result in a fine assessed by the Fire Safety Department or immediate eviction from the residence hall for a period to be determined by the Dean of Students and the Chairman of the Student Court and the possibility of other serious disciplinary action.

  1. There should be no storage of any personal belongings (including bicycles), sports equipment or furniture in hallways, stairwells or landings, entrances, exits, and vestibules of any residence hall, cottage, or fraternity house (student living areas).
  2. Emergency exit paths (egress) in the bedrooms, halls and entrances must be maintained equal to the width of the door.
  3. No items should be hung from the ceiling or from sprinkler heads or sprinkler pipes.
  4. No combustible material may be hung in windows or on doors.
  5. Absolutely nothing may be hung from or attached to the ceiling.
  6. Curtains and drapes must be either non-combustible or flame resistant and be labeled as such.
  7. All flammable decorations in student living areas, (i.e., posters, flags, banners etc.) must be behind glass or Plexiglas, in a manner that no part of the item can be exposed to open flame.
  8. No lumber, trash, combustible materials, flammable liquids, gasoline powered items, kerosene heaters or lamps may be stored or used in student living areas.
  9. Only two items can be plugged directly into each wall outlet.
  10. Surge protector/ power strip must be Fireshield brand and must be plugged directly into a wall outlet and not into another surge protector. Fireshield products are available in HSC Bookstore and other local outlets.
  11. Extension cords, multi-tap adapters and cube adapters are not permitted in any student living area.
  12. Fresh cut trees or greenery are not permitted in student living areas, i.e. Christmas trees or bamboo.
  13. Life Safety devices are not to be unplugged or tampered with or obstructed in any way. These include smoke detectors, heat detectors, sprinkler systems, pull stations, exit and emergency lights, fire extinguishers and evacuation plans, which are found in both rooms and hallways of residences. They are for the safety of those within that room or building. Obstructing or tampering with these devices, (including removing batteries) in any way is absolutely prohibited.
  14. Incense is prohibited in any student living areas.
  15. Candles are prohibited in any student living areas.
  16. Open flames from any source are not permitted inside student living areas.
  17. Storage of goods or placement of furniture must be at least 24 inches below the ceilings.
  18. Halogen lamps are not permitted on campus.
  19. No College furniture is to be removed from any student living area. No lofts are permitted other than the College dorm furniture that is specifically designed to be lofted.
  20. Chocking or propping doors in the open position is prohibited.
  21. Charcoal grills are not allowed to be used or stored within 10 feet of any building.
  22. Propane grills are strictly prohibited.
  23. Smoking is prohibited in student living areas.
  24. Please see section on Appliances for cooking equipment not allowed.
  25. Bunks and lofts may not be draped or enclosed.

Life safety violations generally carry a fine as well as any repair costs. The fine associated with life safety violations is currently $250 per violation and are assessed by the Fire Safety Department. These fines are minimal and can be increased by the Chairman of the Student Court and the Dean of Students at any time based upon the special circumstances surrounding a particular event.

Authorized College personnel have the right to conduct room inspections to ascertain safety conditions and room damages at all times. There will be one safety inspection   of all student living areas each semester by HSC fire safety inspectors and one inspection of student living areas once a year by the State Fire Marshal.

Fire Safety and Fire Drills (p.72)
The College places a high priority on residence hall, apartment, cottage, and fraternity house safety. Twice each semester fire drills are held and everyone is expected to cooperate with the RAs and house managers who act as fire marshals. As described above, serious penalties are assessed against those violating fire and safety regulations or who in any way create a danger for others. Violations include failure to leave a building when an alarm is sounded (smoke detector going off, or notice from a RA, or other responsible official), and / or failure to cooperate with officials during a fire or fire drill. Resident advisors are to establish a meeting place for their residents at least fifty feet from the building and determine who is not present, if it is suspected that a student may be inside the building this information shall be immediately shared with fire and rescue personnel. In addition to the fire drills a minimum of one safety inspection will be made in student living areas each semester. These inspections will be performed by College staff and penalties may be assessed by the Fire Safety Department, Chairman of the Student Court and the Dean of Students if violations are discovered.

Personal Fire Safety (p.73)
As a resident of a residence hall, cottage, or fraternity house at Hampden-Sydney College, you have a responsibility to acquaint yourself with the following fire and fire drill procedures.
Become familiar with all routes of escape available to you from your room. Most buildings are equipped with an evacuation plan. Become familiar with it. Should a fire occur, it will be too late to search for an exit. If you detect a fire in your residence hall, evacuate the building and report it to the police and your RA immediately. The police dispatcher can be contacted by dialing 911 on any college phone.
If you hear the sounding of an alarm you should:

  • Feel the door with the back of your hand. If your door is very hot, DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR. In this event, open your window and sit on the sill. Wait for help. If the
    door is cool to touch, open it and leave the building. Close the door behind you.
  • Use primary fire exits (stairs and main doors) whenever possible.
  • If your primary means of exit is blocked, use the secondary exit. Your RA will inform you of the primary and secondary exit routes for your part of the residence hall; you can also consult the evacuation plan mounted in your hall.
  • Close your door when evacuating the building. This procedure can prevent the needless spread of fire within the building.
  • Do not panic. Leave the building as quickly as possible, but without bolting or becoming a part of the problem.
  • Do not linger. Never remain inside a building after a fire alarm has sounded. Treat all drills as fires. You will not likely be able to distinguish a drill from the real thing until it is too late! Again, get at least fifty feet from the building at the location designated by your RA and cooperate with firefighters and check in with your RA (when possible).
  • Do not return to the building until told to do so by a fire official or someone in charge.
  • Always report to your RA or house manager all dangerous and suspicious behavior that might contribute to a fire problem in your residence hall.

Smoking (p.73)
Smoking is not permitted in any Residence Hall, Fraternity House, or College-Owned apartment or cottage, or Settle Hall, including the Tiger Inn.

Appliances (p.74)
You are not allowed to possess unauthorized cooking equipment, to include any kind of oven or toaster oven, hot plate or cooking unit, electric grill (George Foreman), skillet, fryer, or cooker, hot dog cookers, hamburger cookers or toasters. Sanctions include confiscation of equipment. No cooking is allowed on grills or other implements on fire escapes, windowsills, stairwell landings or balconies etc. Grills must be charcoal grills and can only be used on concrete patios, parking areas, or lawns; ten feet or more from any structure. Grills cannot be used on decks or porches.

The following appliances are permissible: one half-size refrigerator and one microwave oven per student room; coffee pots and coffee makers with thermostats; popcorn poppers; and blenders.


from The Key 2011-12 posted 6-11-2011