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Fire Safety and Smoking

As fire poses an extreme danger to the health and safety of all members of the community, fire safety regulations and precautions are very important and must be adhered to at all times. The cooperation of each individual is necessary for the safety of all. The college publishes its fire safety statistics in accordance with the Clery Act.
Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is prohibited in all campus buildings and within 25 feet of all buildings. Evidence of smoking inside residences may result in disciplinary action that could call for house relocation or removal from campus housing.
Fire Alarms
When a building fire alarm activates on campus, both campus police officers and the Amherst Fire Department respond. Residents must leave the building immediately and remain at the designated gathering point until their presence is recorded. Students who fail to respond appropriately to fire alarms are liable to disciplinary action which may include community service and/or a fine of up to $300 and house probation which could lead to house relocation or removal from campus housing. No one may reenter the building until the fire department determines that it is safe to return. Campus police will open and enter locked rooms to ensure that no one is inside and to check for the source or cause of the fire alarm.
If a fire alarm activates and an individual knows the cause, this individual is required to call campus police from a safe location and explain what happened. If the fire alarm is activated by mistake (cooking smoke, shower steam, cigarette smoke, etc.), the individual responsible must be available to talk to campus police and the fire department. If the alarm is the result of negligent behavior (for example, smoking, leaving cooking unattended) the following disciplinary action will be taken:
  • First offense: a warning and/or community service
  • Second offense: community service and/or a charge of $100 for each individual being held accountable
  • Third offense: community service and/or a fine of $300 each.

For second or third offenses additional disciplinary action, including house probation or house relocation or removal from campus housing, may be imposed. When responsible individuals cannot be identified, all residents of that particular area may be assessed. Additional sanctions may apply if the alarm is caused by a prohibited activity.

Fire Drills
Campus Police and residence life staff conduct fire drills at least one time per semester in each residence area. All occupants of a residence hall must leave the building immediately any time the alarm sounds. These drills are not announced and staff may enter each apartment, hallway, and room to ensure compliance with proper evacuation procedures. If staff discover fire safety or other violations students will be contacted by an administrator regarding the violation(s) and any prohibited items will be confiscated.
Tampering with Fire Safety Equipment
Fire extinguishers and fire detection and alarm systems are in place to protect the community. Tampering with fire safety devices is a serious violation of the Norms for Community Living and Policies and is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to:
  • disabling smoke detectors
  • covering smoke detectors with any materials whatsoever
  • activating an alarm when no hazard is present
  • hanging items from sprinkler pipes
  • discharging, tampering with or moving fire extinguishers

Tampering with fire safety equipment will result in the following disciplinary action

  • First offense:  20 hours community service (includes time devoted to educational project designed to inform community of pertinent fire safety issues); reflection paper; house probation
  • Second offense: permanent, immediate loss of on-campus housing
When responsible individuals cannot be identified, all residents of that particular area may be assessed. 
Open Fires
Open fires (inside or outside) are prohibited anywhere on campus or College property, including woods and fields unless prior written approval is granted by the director of campus police and the town fire department. Use of grills (charcoal and gas) is not permitted inside, on balconies, or exterior stairwells. Charcoal barbecues are permitted on the grounds, but must take place at least 25 feet from buildings. Barbecue grills must not be left unattended and must be totally extinguished before leaving. The College may confiscate any barbecue grill that is used inappropriately and any container of propane gas or other flammable liquid without notice. 
Additional Fire Safety Regulations
The College may confiscate any fire safety hazard (including Fire Safety Prohibited Items) from any place, including student rooms and lockers, at any time, with or without notice. The College has no obligation to identify the owner of confiscated property,  notify the owner of any confiscation,  or reimburse the owner of confiscated property for any loss or damage to said property.
  • Halls, entrances, and egresses, including egress routes through common spaces, must be kept clear of all items at all times. This includes entryways to buildings, center rooms in Greenwich House, and all stairwells. Bicycles, or other items, may not be stored in hallways or entryways.
  • No more than 40 percent of wall space may be covered by combustibles, such as tapestries or posters. Nothing can be hung from ceilings. No combustible holiday decorations such as trees or wreaths are allowed. 
  • Student door postings are limited to the existing bulletin board or a 2’ x 2’ area.
  • Light fixtures may not be covered by any materials (such as bedspreads, scarves, paper shades) nor may they be painted or darkened.
  • Combustibles, such as furniture, recycling, clothing, curtains, and garbage, must be kept at least 12 inches away from heaters.
  • No combustibles are permitted in hallways, stairwells, or egresses.
  • Toaster ovens may be used only in kitchens or lounges. They must be kept clean at all times and unplugged when not in use. 
  • Cooking is not allowed in student rooms with the exception of the use of a hot pot or small microwave oven, which must be unplugged when not in use.
  • Students must exercise caution in locating and using appliances, other electronics and extension cords. Only UL-approved extension cords with surge protectors may be used. Electrical cords should be kept at least 12 inches away from heaters.
  • All gas-powered vehicles must be parked in student parking lots.
  • Other activities or items that pose an increased risk of fire or impede fire response will be prohibited upon discovery.