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Fire Safety Policies

office of residential life

Students Walking in Quad


Rights and Responsibilities:

As Boston College students, you have rights regarding personal safety and security. In order to ensure these rights for you and your fellow students, you must abide by certain policies. Fulfilling these policies and requirements is your responsibility as a residence hall student. Minimum mandatory sanctions will be imposed for failing to comply.

  • Health and Safety Inspections: Random Health and Safety inspections will take place throughout the year. Any safety violation will be recorded.
  • Fire Alarms: When the fire alarm in your building sounds, it is your responsibility to leave the building immediately. Although some fire alarms are false, you must treat every fire alarm as if a real fire is occurring. Maliciously pulling a fire alarm is a serious offense. It disrupts the life of every resident in the building and places at risk the lives of the responding fire personnel and resident staff. If you witness an alarm being pulled falsely, notify your RA immediately.
  • Fire Extinguishers: Fire extinguishers are placed in specific locations throughout each residence hall. These extinguishers should be used only in the event of an actual fire. Misuse of a fire extinguisher is a very dangerous act.
  • Door Propping: The first step toward a safe community is keeping the exterior door properly locked. Propping open a building door leaves the building and its residents vulnerable to all crimes. The card access system for each residence hall door monitors propping. In the event that a door is propped open for more than 60 seconds, a silent alarm sounds to which the Boston College Police Department will respond.
  • Room Combination Security: Safety begins with you. Under no circumstance is your room combination to be shared with non-roommates. Most on-campus theft is caused by room combination sharing. It is your responsibility to keep this code secure.
  • Security Screens: In order to ensure your safety, residence hall rooms are equipped with locked screens. The tabs on these screens should not be removed unless an emergency situation arises. Removal of the tab on the screen is a violation. Students may report any missing red tabs to their Resident Director by September 15th without incurring a charge.


Fire Safety:

Fire prevention requires the efforts and cooperation of all Boston College community members. Students are expected to adhere to all fire safety guidelines promulgated by the University, including those included in this agreement. Dismissal from housing and/or University, fines, and other judicial and civil action may be imposed for violations.  Any prohibited items may be confiscated without compensation to the owner. 

  • Smoking in all residence halls is strictly prohibited.  If smoking, students must be at least 20 feet from any residence hall.
  • Fire extinguishers are placed in specific locations throughout each residence hall.  Misuse of an extinguisher is dangerous and extinguishers should only be used in the event of an actual fire.
  • Within student rooms/suites/apartments, means or views of egress cannot be blocked in any fashion. Items found obstructing means or views of egress will be confiscated and discarded without compensation to the owner.  Door closers have been installed on all student room/suite/apartment doors for added safety in the event of a fire and may not be tampered with by students.
  • Holiday decorations are not permitted on outside room doors or in hallways. No exterior lights are permitted on the exterior of the Modular Apartments.  Live trees, garland and wreaths are not permitted within the residence halls. Only fire retardant artificial trees are allowed within the residence halls. Students are liable for all damages resulting from the negligent placement of holiday decorations in their room/suite/apartment. Students can have two strands of holiday lights in their bedroom throughout the academic year.


Fire Prevention Measures and Prohibited Items:

Causing false fire alarms, interfering with a fire alarm system, interfering with fire personnel and/or tampering with or removing fire fighting apparatus, including but not limited to hoses, sprinkler heads or pipes, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers or other fire safety equipment is prohibited. Overhead lights, smoke detector, sprinkler system, air conditioning unit, wall sockets, etc. may not be covered by any posters, pictures, tapestries, flags, or cloth. Tapestries, flags and cloth cannot be any larger than 5' x 7'. No item can be hung from the ceiling.


Prohibited Items:

  • Flammable and combustible liquids/gases (including but not limited to propane, butane, gasoline, and paint thinner).
  • Barbecue grills are provided in the backyards of all Modular Apartments, and no other grills are permitted. Only match-lit barbecue coal is permitted. The use of any kind of charcoal lighter fluid is prohibited.
  • All non-university mattresses are prohibited in the residence halls. Students who need to bring their own mattress into the residence halls for medical reasons must receive authorization from the Associate Vice President or his or her designee. All mattresses must meet local and state fire regulations.
  • Mattress pads with exposed foam (e.g. “egg crate” style) are prohibited.  Mattress pads that are covered or encased, or made from alternative material (e.g. down, polyester), are allowed. 
  • Candles, hookahs, incense, and sources of open flame are prohibited in student rooms.
  • Posters, flags and other wall-hangings must be used sparingly and are not to be hung from the ceiling, or in a location that will cover or interfere with light fixtures, outlets, or other appliances.
  • Space heaters, heating blankets, air conditioning units, torchiere-style halogen lights/lamps, and any lamps with more than three arms are prohibitted.
  • Self-balancing scooters, also known as hover boards, are prohibited from all residential facilities.
  • Only three-pronged, grounded, heavy-duty (12 or 14 gauge) power strips or surge protectors must be used in the event that the number of electrical appliances exceeds the number of electrical outlets. These must be UL approved with a circuit breaker.
  • Only low-voltage microwaves (800 Watts or less) are permitted in the halls.
  • No full sized refrigerators may be brought to campus.  Refrigerators brought to campus must have dimensions that do not exceed 24 inches wide x 24 inches deep x 36 inches high.  It is recommended that units brought to campus be Energy Star certified. In apartments and suites where common area refrigerators are provided by Boston College, each student may bring a personal refrigerator that does not exceed the dimensions of 24 inches wide x 24 inches deep x 36 inches high.
  • In Walsh Hall, four-person suites, Upper Campus, Newton Campus, 66 Commonwealth Avenue and Greycliff residence halls, electrical heat producing appliances such as hot pots, hot plates, toasters, toaster ovens, electric frying pans, sandwich grills, waffle irons, "George Foreman" grills, coffee makers (including single-brew coffee makers), steamers, and the like are prohibited.
  • In Vanderslice, 90 St. Thomas More Drive, Stayer Hall suites and Walsh Hall eight-person suites, and Gabelli, Voute, Ignacio, Rubenstein, Reservoir Apartments and the Modular Apartment kitchen areas have been provided with special outlets for appliances. Only cooking appliances with a thermostatic control are allowed.


Minimum Mandatory Sanctions:

Violation  Sanction
Deliberately setting off a fire alarm Up to University Suspension; repay all costs associated with violation
Negligent alarm (e.g., cooking)

1st: Administrative Warning; cost of any damage

2nd: Disciplinary Probation; cost of any damage

Tampering with fire/safety equipment (e.g., fire exting., smoke alarm, heat sensor, alarm box, horns, strobes) Up to University Suspension and/or loss of housing, educational sanctions
Failure to evacuate during fire alarm Disciplinary Probation up to University Probation, educational sanction
Possession of unlit candles or incense Administrative Warning, confiscation (to be discarded)
Possession of a candle with burnt wick or used incense Disciplinary Probation, confiscation (to be discarded)
Possession of a burning candle or incense Up to Deferred Housing Suspension, confiscation (to be discarded), and educational sanction
Tampering with a security screen/Removal of red tabs other than in an emergency situation Administrative Warning $100 fine and/or educational sanction
Propping open a residence hall door Up to Disciplinary Probation and $200 fine and/or educational sanctions
Removal or damage to Emergency Evacuation Plan or holder $200 fine


For Additional Safety Information, Contact:

  • Boston College, Office of Residential Life, 617-552-3060
  • Boston College, Environmental Health and Safety, 617-552-0308
  • Boston College Police Department (BCPD), 617-552-4440