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Fire Safety

What to Bring and Not to Bring

If everyone does his/her part, the residence hall can be a safe environment in which to live. Be aware of fire safety tips, regulations and guidelines. Memorize evacuation routes for the buildings in which you live or visit. Always be on the lookout for potential fire hazards, and be respectful of fire safety equipment in your building.

In an effort to support the fire safety policies and promote the safety of the William Woods community, the university has developed guidelines for permitted, restricted and prohibited items in the residence halls.

Permitted Items

Food Preservation Appliances

  • refrigerator (maximum of 5 cubic feet)
  • micro-fridge (combination refrigerator/freezer/microwave oven)

Heat Generating Appliances

  • clothes iron with temperature settings
  • curling iron
  • tropical fish aquarium heater
  • hair dryer
  • heating pad with temperature settings
  • electric blanket with temperature settings

Prohibited Items

Open flame devices

Candle burning or any other open-flame devices are not permitted in Residence Hall rooms. The burning of incense is prohibited in the Residence Halls. Possession of any such item or device in student residence facilities will result in appropriate sanctions.

Space Heaters

Portable space heaters and halogen lights, in any form, are not permitted in any residence hall!


All food preparation, preservation and heat generating appliances that are not listed under permitted items are not permitted in the Residence Halls. This includes contraband appliances such as microwave and toaster ovens. Micro-fridge type appliances (combination refrigerator, freezer and microwave oven) are permitted in student rooms because of their patented circuitry system that will automatically shut off power to the refrigerator/freezer when the microwave oven is in use. Microwave ovens are accessible in the Residence Halls and approved for general community use in designated areas.

Extension Cords and Power Strips

Any extension cord that does not meet the criteria provided here is prohibited. Acceptable cords include those that contain an in-line fuse or circuit breaker. Questions pertaining to approved types of extension cords should be directed to the Director of Residential Life. Please refer to the extension cord and power strip/surge protector usage guidelines below for more details. Multiple adapters (gang plugs) are prohibited unless such adapters have an in-line fuse or circuit breaker.

Extension Cords...

  1. Shall not be used to multiply the number of available room outlets.
  2. Shall only be used to provide temporary power, and shall never be used in place of permanent wiring.
  3. Shall be approved by a national testing agency, such as Underwriter's Laboratory (UL).
  4. Shall contain an in-line fuse or circuit breaker.
  5. Shall be polarized (one prong wider than the other) and no longer than six (6) foot in length.
  6. Shall never be used in tandem with another cord (plugging one cord into another).
  7. Shall never be run beneath carpet, rugs, tile, or areas where they may be subject to damage.
  8. Shall not be used for electrical connection with heat producing or high voltage devices such as hairdryers, lamps, micro-fridge, etc.
  9. Shall never be attached to building surfaces in a permanent manner (staples or nails)-this can damage the cord and present a shock or fire hazard.

Power Strips...

  1. Shall be approved by a national testing agency, such as Underwriter's Laboratory (UL).
  2. Shall only be used to provide over-current or transient voltage surge protection for devices such as computers, printers, etc.
  3. Shall not be plugged (piggybacked) into another power strip/surge protector.
  4. There shall only be one power strip/surge protector plugged into a dual electrical outlet.
  5. The unit shall have a built-in breaker. Such units are designed to trip the breaker if the strip is overloaded or there is a surge in electricity.

Tip: How to determine if you are overloading cords and wiring:

  • Read the appliance label to determine how many amps the appliance draws when operating. (If the label only tells you the number of watts, divide the watts by 100 to get the amps).

  • Determine the total number of amps of all appliances on the extension cord, power strip, etc.

  • Every extension cord, power strip, etc. is designed to carry a specific number of amps before it overheats and damages the wiring insulation. Read the label on each device being used. Light extension cords are usually limited to 6-8 amps. Resident room (wall) circuits are rated for 16 amps and are sometimes shared between two rooms.

  • The number of amps must be less than the capacity of the cord or circuit.

Example: A student has a 1500 watt hair dryer. This is equal to 15 amps. If plugged into a circuit rated at 15 amps, this should be safe. If plugged into an 8 amp extension cord, a hazard is created.

Fire Violations

Students who find vandalized or defective fire detection, alarm, suppression or other safety devices should notify Residential Life staff or the campus safety department immediately. Students with information or knowledge about persons who are misusing or vandalizing fire safety equipment or causing a fire to be set should notify the Director of Residential Life, Campus Safety, or university personnel immediately.


  • Smoking or vaping in the residence hall or within 15 feet of an entrance, window, or operable vent: $25
  • Unattended cooking, burning candle or other open flame: $25.00
  • Candles of any type within a resident hall room: $25.00
  • Items hanging from pipe, fire detector, or horn: $25.00
  • Electrical wiring that is "homemade" or otherwise modified: $25.00
  • Bicycle chained to exit-way element; motorcycle within building: $25.00
  • Disabling or dismantling a room smoke detector or other fire alarm device: $100.00 for first occurrence; not to exceed $1,000.00 penalty for further acts.
  • Tampering with building fire alarm system - NOT resulting in the transmission of a fire alarm: $100.00 for first occurrence; not to exceed $1,000.00 penalty for further acts.
  • Tampering with building fire alarm system - RESULTING in the transmission of a fire alarm and fire department response: $200.00, not to exceed $1,000.00 penalty for further acts.
  • Discharge of building fire extinguisher for non-emergency purpose - NOT resulting in the transmission of a fire alarm: $100.00 for first occurrence, plus additional cleaning charges.
  • Failure to evacuate building on activation of fire alarm system, during unplanned alarm or scheduled fire drill: $25.00 for first offense.
  • Subsequent or repeated violations are subject to higher penalties.

Other violations include but not limited to:

  • Removing any fire safety sign.
  • Over loading any electrical outlet.
  • Using or owning any forbidden electrical appliances.
  • Obstructing hallways and doors with any object, i.e. furniture, clothing, trashcans, or other item that could cause a person to slip, trip, or hinder evacuation.
  • Blocking outside doors open, unless there are common hall magnetic door closers.
  • Changing a lock on any room door.
  • Failing to keep storage areas clear and easily accessible.
  • Hindering any safety officer, fire personnel, anyone else who has safety or maintenance duties from making inspections.
  • Failure to report fire safety deficiencies to community life, safety, or maintenance.

Additional Resources