Fire Safety Policies and Sanctions
Possession of Prohibited Items
The following items are considered fire hazards and are prohibited in student rooms:
- String lights
- Paper lanterns and/or paper lamp shades
- Extension cords
- Open flames of any kind
- Hot plates
- Electric teapots
- Window air conditioners
- Toaster ovens
- Electric heaters
- Halogen lamps
- Heavy duty appliances (except for cube-size refrigerators and small microwaves)
- Appliances with a heating unit (except UL-listed hair dryers and irons)
- Tapestries, posters, and papers are permitted in student residence halls as long as they are hung to the wall and secured on all sides. Nothing may be hung from the ceiling.
- First Offense: $25 fine
- Second Offense: $50 fine
- Third Offense: $100 fine and Housing Probation
- Fourth Offense: $200 fine and Loss of Housing
Possession and/or Use of Candles and/or Incense
The majority of residence hall fires are caused by candles and incense in student rooms. Therefore, candles and incense (whether lit or unlit) are prohibited in student rooms, and the sanctions for possession of these items are significantly higher. Candles and incense discovered in student rooms will be confiscated and destroyed.
Candles needed for religious purposes must be registered with the Office of Student Affairs at the beginning of the year. These candles may not be lit in student rooms or common areas. Groups must seek approval from the Office of Student Affairs, and no more than six candles can be used at one time (except for Chanukah). Candles must be placed in the center of a nonflammable plate/vessel that has a circumference twice the length of the candle and is filled with sand.
- First Offense: $100 fine and Housing Probation
- Second Offense: Loss of Campus Housing
Possession and/or Use of Grills
There are four community barbecue grills on campus. Three small ones are located in residence hall areas (Hill House, Old Dorms, and Slonim Woods), and a large one is located on Westlands North Lawn. The use of any other barbecue grills on campus, aside from these four community grills, is prohibited. Meant to enhance and encourage positive community building on campus, the three small grills cannot be reserved, and use of these grills is on a first-come, first-served basis.
To ensure that one group’s community building does not interfere with other community members’ sleep, study, work, etc., the following guidelines have been adopted regarding use of the community grills:
- Individuals or groups wishing to use the large North Lawn grill must request permission from the Committee on Student Life in order to do so. This includes meeting with the College’s fire safety director to review safe practices.
- Use of the three small grills located in residential areas is permitted without prior authorization Sunday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. All cooking must be completed and the coals disposed of in the provided bin by the closing times noted. Students who would like to use the grill outside the timeframes listed above must request permission from the Committee on Student Life.
- Individuals or groups who use any of the grills are responsible for cleaning up after the event, which includes proper disposal of coals and trash removal.
To request permission to use the large North Lawn grill, or to request use of the smaller grills beyond the times listed above, students should contact the Office of Student Affairs to get on the agenda for a Committee on Student Life meeting. Please note that permission is not guaranteed; the committee will consider the possible impact on other members of the community in making its decision.
Unauthorized Burning of Any Item on Campus
State and local laws prevent the burning of paper, wood, leaves, rubber, plastic, or any toxic material on campus.
Each Offense: $250 fine
Tampering with Fire Safety Equipment
All fire safety equipment on campus is vital in the case of an emergency, and therefore tampering with fire safety equipment in any way is strictly prohibited. Tampering with fire safety equipment includes, but is not limited to: moving or removing fire extinguishers, signs, and poles; unnecessarily discharging a fire extinguisher; marking on or covering fire safety signs; or hanging anything from a sprinkler system, including all pipes and sprinkler heads.
Each Offense: $250 fine plus cost of repair, replacement, or cleaning
Tampering with Smoke Detectors/Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Covering, removing, and/or damaging the heads of smoke detectors is extremely dangerous. In the event of a fire in a residence hall room, the smoke detector engages the sprinklers in order to contain the fire within that room. If a fire were to break out in a room with a covered or damaged smoke detector, the fire would likely grow to an unmanageable size before it was detected.
If a smoke detector in a common area or shared room is disabled, all occupants will be assessed the sanctions, regardless of who tampered with the smoke detector. In this case, not removing the cover or reporting that the smoke detector is disabled is as dangerous as covering the detector.
Covering, removing, disabling, or damaging carbon monoxide detectors is strictly prohibited. If a carbon monoxide detector in a common area or shared room is disabled, all occupants will be assessed the sanctions.
- First Offense: $500 fine plus cost of repair or replacement and housing probation
- Second Offense: $1,000 fine plus cost of repair or replacement and loss of campus housing
Blocking of Fire Exit and Propping Fire Doors
In the case of a fire in a campus building, timely evacuation of the building is imperative. Therefore, all members of the community must take care not to block the fire exits that make evacuation possible (i.e. hallways, entrances, and any area that leads to an outside door) or prop the fire doors that help contain a fire.
- First Offense: $50 fine
- Second Offense: $75 fine
- Third Offense: $100 fine
Failure to Leave a Building During a Fire Alarm or Fire Drill
Students, faculty, and staff must vacate any building when an alarm sounds. Fire drills will be held periodically throughout the year. Any student who fails to leave a building/area during a fire alarm is subject to disciplinary action.
Each Offense: $50 fine
Activating a False Fire Alarm (Malicious)
Intentionally activating a fire alarm when there is no safety emergency necessitating the alarm is a criminal offense and any student found to have done so is subject to criminal charges along with College disciplinary action.
First Offense: $250 fine plus Housing Probation
Second Offense: Loss of Housing
Activating a False Fire Alarm (Unintentional)
Some violations of policy result in the unintentional activation of the fire alarm, bringing the Yonkers Fire Department. In these cases, the violation places our own community in danger as well as those community members around us who may be in serious need of emergency assistance. Therefore, in cases where a policy violation leads to the activation of a fire alarm, further sanctions will be assessed. For example, students who set off a fire alarm by smoking in their rooms will be subject not only to the smoking policy sanctions, but also to the fines listed below.
First Offense: $50 fine
Second Offense: $100 fine
Third Offense: $250 fine
All of the common area kitchens in residence halls are equipped with smoke and heat detectors. The sensitivity of the detectors is set as low as allowed by law. However, burnt toast, unmonitored pans of oil or butter, pizza boxes in ovens, cooking in dirty ovens, or other burning food will set off the fire alarm and bring the Yonkers Fire Department. It is the responsibility of the person(s) using the kitchen to ensure that the food does not burn or set off an alarm.
In communal living environments, if no one takes responsibility for the alarm, each member of the house/apartment will be found responsible. If the person responsible comes forward at the time of the alarm, the fine will be reduced by 20 percent. The same rules apply to students using microwaves in their residence hall rooms.
- First Offense: $50 fine*
- Second Offense: $100 fine*
- Third Offense: $250 fine*
*Minus 20 percent if responsibility is taken initially
Because the burden of responding to false fire alarms falls mainly to the Yonkers Fire Department, the College will donate all unintentional false fire alarm and careless cooking fines collected to the Yonkers Fire Department Fund on an annual basis.