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Environmental Health & Safety

Fire Hazards

Electrical Abuse

Electrical “octopuses” or cube taps can overheat receptacles and cords, which can result in fire.  Extension cords and power strips are for limited use only and should be used for electrically sensitive equipment and not used with any heat generating device.

Extension cords are for temporary use only.  They should be large enough to provide adequate voltage to the intended appliance.  If an extension cord becomes sensibly warm, the wire is too small. They should not exceed six feet in length, should be UL listed, three pronged and at least as load bearing as the cord of the appliance being fed. Plugging an extension cord into another to make the cord longer is not permitted. Signs of abuse are flickering lights, dimming lights and exceptionally warm cords.

Appliances

Heating and Cooking

Heating and cooking devices are a major cause of accidental fires and their misuse is a serious concern at the University of Rochester.  Therefore, certain regulations governing their use have been established.  Heating, cooling, and cooking appliances permitted in the university offices, lounges, and student rooms are restricted to coffee makers, espresso machines, refrigerators, fans and microwaves.  All cooking and heating appliances must be unplugged when unattended.

Space Heaters

Only approved university-owned space heaters are permitted in offices.  (Space heaters are not allowed in Strong Memorial Hospital or in student rooms.)  Devices with unprotected heating elements are strictly forbidden.  All appliances must be UL approved, ceramic type heater and any device drawing more than 400 watts must connect directly to an outlet without the use of an extension cord.

Corridor Obstructions

Fire safety codes dictate that corridors be kept clear of obstacles.  Residence hall corridors must have at least five-foot clear width.  All office and laboratory corridors must have six feet of clear width.  The University Fire Marshal must approve corridor storage, and then all items must be stored on the same side.  Bulk items such as excess furniture should be stored in designated areas, never in corridors.  No supplies or equipment of any sort may be stored in fire exit stairways.  Refer to University Corridor Utilization Policy for specifics. Law prohibits storage of bicycles, chairs, desks and other items, including shoes, in exit ways.

Hazardous Storage

All trash should be disposed of daily.  Flammable liquids must never be stored in residential buildings.  In laboratories, storage of flammable liquids should be limited to immediate requirements.  Privately owned gasoline – or propane – fed engines are forbidden in occupied university buildings.

All persons who work with hazardous chemicals must be familiar with university safety policies, guidelines, and regulations; usage of all type of fire extinguishers available at the university; and usage of emergency equipment such as self-contained breathing apparatus, eye wash stations, chemical showers, and alarm equipment.

All chemical laboratories and storerooms should be locked when unoccupied to minimize the risk of unauthorized removal of hazardous chemicals.

Any incident requiring emergency action and/or the use of emergency equipment must be reported to Security and the University Fire Marshal.

Excessive storage of chemicals in exhaust hoods is poor practice.

Smoking is absolutely prohibited in all laboratories.

Flammable liquids, regardless of quantity or container, are prohibited in student rooms.  Small containers of cleaning agents, and small cans of lighter fluid are accepted from this prohibition.

The laboratory storage of any substance which would increase the fire spread potential of another substance (such as storing an oxidizer with a flammable liquid) is prohibited.

Electrical Appliances/Electrical Wiring

Cooking appliances such as grills and portable ovens (including hotplates and George Forman Grills) are not permitted for use in student rooms.  The same appliances are also prohibited from use in individual offices.

Coffee makers are permitted in individual rooms including offices but must be turned off and unplugged when unattended for extended periods such as over night.

Cooking

The use of butane cooking equipment is prohibited for use inside both permanent and temporary structures (tents).  (Reference 9NYCRR 1163.7)

Open Flames

Any use of open flames requires approval from the University Fire Marshal’s Office.

 

 

Bon Fire

A bon fire requires notification to the Monroe County Health Department and to the University Fire Marshal’s Office at least one week prior to the event.  Extinguishing requirements described above must be met and the fire must be at least 50 feet from any building unless an exemption has been granted.

Malicious Tampering with Fire Safety Devices and Equipment

Proper functioning of fire safety devices and equipment is an essential part of maximizing fire protection for all persons on university properties. There is an ongoing program of testing and upgrading of systems, components and firefighting equipment. Tampering with any of these may seriously reduce the level of protection afforded by alarm systems, automatic sprinklers, extinguishers, detectors, etc. Each person must refrain from any such activity and should try to dissuade others who in any way attempt to reduce the effectiveness of protection. This includes the misuse of extinguishers, damaging alarm systems including the associated wiring and piping and disabling signaling devices such as horns or strobes. Tampering or damaging a fire alarm sytem or device(s) is a federal offense.

 

 

Fire Lanes

Emergency apparatus must have clear unobstructed access to all university buildings. To facilitate this access, fire lanes are established and properly marked as such. No parking or other obstruction of fire lanes is permitted and enforcement is by the parking department.


QUESTIONS or COMMENTS?
Contact EH&S at (585) 275-3241 or e-mail EH&S Questions.

This page last updated 7/24/2013. Disclaimer.