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, the setting of a fire, failure to evacuate during a fire alarm activation or entering a building during a fire alarm activation. 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.
Fire safety violations generally carry a fine as well as any repair costs. The fines associated with fire safety violations is currently $100 per violation with a cap set at $500 per incident. Please note the following exceptions:
Candles: Students found to have unlit traditional candles will receive a warning on the first occasion and will be required to immediately dispose of the candle. Any subsequent presence of an unlit traditional candle will result in an immediate $100 fine and disposal of the candle. A burning candle that is attended will result in a $100 fine, the candle will be confiscated, and the student will be referred to the Student Justice System. Unattended burning candles will result in a $250 fine as described below.
Class 1 Violations: Smoking in student residences, unattended burning candles, covering a smoke detector or sprinkler head, tampering with fire safety equipment, failure to evacuate any time there is a fire alarm activation or entering a building during a fire alarm activation will result in an immediate fine in the amount of $250.
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 any time. Fire safety inspections occur on a continuous basis. Some are scheduled; others may occur as part of daily routine tasks, possibly in conjunction with test or repairs to the fire protection systems. Fire safety violations will be addressed at the time they are observed in an effort to maintain the highest level of safety and protection from fire for our students. Room inspections are also conducted as part of the annual safety inspection of student living areas by the Virginia State Fire Marshal.
Appeals must be filed within 60 days of the date of the fire safety violation notice (email); you should pick up and fill out an appeal form in the Business Office. Your completed appeal form will be submitted by the Business Office to the Fire Safety Violation Appeals Committee, which reviews appeals and will notify you of its decision. No appeals will be accepted after April 30.
If the appeal is accepted by the Committee, the fine will be canceled. Otherwise, you must then immediately pay the fine in the Business Office to avoid further disciplinary action for non- payment of the fine.
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 a fire alarm is sounding, entering a building while the fire alarm is sounding 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.
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. Always know two ways out! 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, call 911 immediately and call your RA. If you hear an alarm sound you should: