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, any of which is subject to a $250.00 Fire Safety Violation fine. Violation of any of these rules will 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 Office of Student Affairs and the Chairman of the Student Court and the possibility of other serious disciplinary action.


All students assigned to a space, bedrooms and common areas, are responsible for violations in said space and each may be assessed any necessary fines for violations found in said space:

  1. There shall be no storage of any personal belongings (including bicycles), sports equipment, furniture, clothing, etc. 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 shall be maintained equal to the width of the door.
  3. No items shall be hung from the ceiling or from sprinkler heads or sprinkler pipes.
  4. No combustible material, flags, towels, tapestries, etc. may be hung in windows. Curtains and drapes shall be either non-combustible or flame resistant and be labeled as such stating the curtain meets NFPA-701.
  5. Absolutely nothing shall be hung from or attached to the ceiling.
  6. Each student may display unprotected either ONE 2'x3' paper poster OR ONE 3'x5' cloth flag, FLAT ON THE WALL only, of bedroom or common area (such as a living room). Items may NOT be displayed in windows, on doors, hanging from bunks on lofts or on the ceiling. Any additional flag or paper poster MUST BE displayed in a poster frame. Plastic, vinyl and foam board decorations are not allowed! There is no limit on metal signs, felt or wool banners.
  7. There shall be no lumber, fire wood, trash, combustible materials, flammable liquids, gasoline powered items, kerosene heaters or lamps stored or used in student living areas.  This also includes decks, porches, and balconies. 
  8. Surge protector/power strip shall be protected with a built-in 15 amp circuit breaker (reset switch) and shall be plugged directly into a wall outlet and not into another surge protector. Electrical cords of any kind shall not run through doors or windows.
  9. Extension cords are not permitted in any student living area.
  10. Cube adapters and multi-tap adapters, bed risers with power cords, are not permitted in any student living area.
    *NOTE - cube adapter is the common use term for devices that plug into a wall outlet and offer multiple 110 volt ports for electrical devices but offer no over- current protection. An approved surge protector is therefore required.
  11. Fresh-cut trees or greenery (i.e. Christmas trees or bamboo) are not permitted in student living areas.
  12. Life Safety devices shall not be unplugged or tampered with or obstructed in any way. These include smoke detectors, heat detectors, sprinkler systems (piping and sprinkler heads), 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.
  13. Traditional candles are strictly prohibited in student living areas. Any candle found in a student living area will be confiscated and taken to Facilities where they can be picked up at the end of the academic year. Battery-powered flameless candles are encouraged, and candle warmers are allowed. Plug-in air fresheners are permitted so long as fluid remains in the unit. Incense is strictly prohibited in any student living areas.  Open flames from any source are strictly prohibited inside student living areas.
  14. Storage of goods or placement of furniture shall be at least 18 inches below the ceilings.
  15. Halogen lamps are not permitted on campus.
  16. Chocking or propping of stairwell doors in the open position is prohibited. Doors to student rooms may be chocked or propped open if the room is occupied; doors must be closed when no one is in the room.
  17. Grills shall not be used or stored within 10 feet of any building. This includes decks, balconies, and porches. Propane grills are strictly prohibited. Propane tanks will be confiscated and housed at Facilities.  Tanks may be picked up prior to leaving for the academic year.  Contact the Fire Safety Department 24-hours prior to picking the tank up.
  18. Smoking (including E-cigarettes and vaping) is strictly prohibited in all college facilities.
  19. Bunks, lofts and beds shall not be draped or enclosed.
  20. Inflatable furniture such as couches and chairs are not allowed. Inflatable air mattresses may be used only on a temporary basis, such as for weekend guests, and after use shall be deflated and stored.
  21. Appliances: 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, toasters, induction cook tops, or air fryers. Sanctions include confiscation of equipment. No cooking is allowed on grills or other implements on fire escapes, windowsills, stairwell landings or balconies, etc. The following appliances are permissible: one half-size refrigerator (UL listed; up to 4.3 cubic feet) and one microwave oven (UL listed; up to 1000 Watts) per student room; coffee pots and coffee makers with thermostats; popcorn poppers; and blenders. Grills must be charcoal grills and can only be used on concrete patios, parking areas, or lawns; they must be ten (10) feet or more from any structure. Grills cannot be used on decks or porches. No personal air conditioners are permitted in student living areas. 
  22. Electric space heaters are not allowed in the student living areas.
  23. Use of miniature Christmas lights may be used for decoration--no more than three strands of lights. Lights must be plugged directly into a wall outlet, attached flat to the wall, and never on the ceiling.
  24. All outdoor open burning must be contained within a manufactured fire pit (not makeshift of stone or blocks). Portable Fire Pits on campus will be used as follows:
    1. The Use of Accelerants is Prohibited
    2. Only Wood May Be Burned
    3. Fires Must be Extinguished by 2AM
    4. Fire Pits must be at least 25 feet from any structure or flammable material.
    5. Manufactured fire pits shall be no larger than 3' in diameter
    6. Bon fires and open pit burning is strictly prohibited.
    7. Observe the Virginia Department of Forestry burn law.
  25. No storage of any kind is permitted in HVAC, electrical, or mechanical rooms.
  26. Altering or removal of “No Smoking” and “Fire Department Connection (FDC)” signs is prohibited.
  27. The usage of smoke machines/fog machines is prohibited in student living areas.
  28. No storage of upholstered furniture on decks, porches, or balconies.
  29. 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, and the lighting of fireworks is considered hazardous and is strictly prohibited.


Fire safety violations may carry a fine as well as any repair costs. Violations receive warnings for first time offenses (except class 1 violations), $25 per violation for the second offense, and $100 if the violation is not corrected or repeated. Third offense violations will be referred to the Student Justice System. The maximum fine for each inspection is $500.00 per student.

Class 1 Violations: Smoking in student residences, burning open-flame-producing items, covering a smoke detector or sprinkler head, tampering with any 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.

*Re-occurring violations are not eligible for appeal.


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:

1. 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.

2. Use primary fire exits (stairs and main doors) whenever possible.

3. 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.

4. Close your door when evacuating the building. This procedure can prevent the needless spread of fire within the building.

5. Do not panic. Leave the building as quickly as possible, but without bolting or becoming a part of the problem.

6. 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).

7. Do not return to the building until told to do so by a fire official or someone in charge.

8. Always report to your RA or house manager all dangerous and suspicious behavior that might contribute to a fire problem in your residence hall.

Revised 2/23/22