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Environmental Health & Safety

River Campus and Off-Campus Guidelines for Safe Holiday Decorations

There has been an increasing tendency in recent years for student residents and staff to decorate their individual rooms, offices and residential facilities for holidays.  There are numerous fire safety-related hazards that can be created by such decorations.  Policies concerning holiday decorations may vary dependent upon the type of building construction and fire detection and suppression equipment utilized.  The following are a number of holiday decoration guidelines for Off-Site Housing and River Campus Facilities:

  • The use of natural trees (cut or alive), natural wreaths, boughs, or greenery are prohibited except as approved by the Fire Marshal because of its fire potential and rapid flame spread.
  • Only use artificial trees, wreaths, boughs, garland or greenery labeled as fire resistant or flame retardant and that are UL listed or classified are permitted.
  • Artificial trees may be metallic or non-metallic.
  • Do not place electric lights on metallic trees.  Remote spotlights are recommended for use with metal trees to avoid an electrical hazard.
  • Christmas trees and related decorations are not permitted in corridors, aisles, stairways or passageways.  Trees and related decorations are not allowed to obstruct the usual view of exit signs.
  • The following combustible materials are prohibited for use in holiday decorations – hay or straw, bamboo, dry moss, wood shavings, dry leaves, wood back, corn stalks and corn shucks, saw dust, tumbleweed, flammable powders or liquids, plastic sheeting/pallets, untreated cotton batting, flock, paper streamers or confetti in large quantities.
  • For holiday decorations, use plastic or foil decorations such as satin balls, plastic icicles, and holiday ribbon.  Spray snow and tinsel are also permissible.
  • Combustible materials may not be placed on the surface of doors facing hallways, stairwells, or other exits (resident room doors, bathrooms doors, stairwell doors, exterior doors, etc.)  Examples of combustible materials include paper, contact paper, and plastics, etc. One exception to this is a single memo or message board may be placed on a resident room door facing the hallway.  The size may not exceed 200 square inches.
  • Posting of resident names is permitted on a single or name board placed next to the door on the masonry wall, not on the door.  Room numbers may not be covered, and the nametag or sign may not exceed 200 square inches for both residents combined.
  • Posting of flyers and other combustible material is permitted only on general purpose bulletin boards, hall council bulletin boards and authorized posting areas for residence hall staff.
  • The use of holiday lights, electric ornaments and extension cords in corridors and over exit doors is prohibited.
  • Electrical outlets should not be overloaded – cube taps are prohibited.
  • Displaying or hanging paper decoration shall not be permitted unless they are non-combustible or limited-combustible, such as foil wrapping. No paper wrapping is allowed. Approved non-combustible items cannot be hung from sprinklers, smoke detectors, emergency lights or any life safety equipment. Limited spray snow is allowed.
  • The use of candles, lanterns, oil lamps or any type of other open flames in prohibited.  Refer to the Open Flames, Candle Guidelines. As an option, electrical candles may be used.

These are guidelines only; for specific questions, please contact the University Fire Marshal’s Office at 275-3243.


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

This page last updated 10/1/2013. Disclaimer.