Fire Safety Regulations, Instructions, and Procedures

Fire: 9-11
University Police: 617-495-1212


A student who violates any of the fire safety regulations set forth Chapter 5 or the fire emergency procedures below, including those pertaining to the abuse of fire alarm, smoke detector, or fire extinguisher systems, will be subject to disciplinary action, including requirement to withdraw.

Fire Emergency Procedures

Any smoke detector in a stairwell or corridor can initiate a general alarm when a predetermined concentration of smoke reaches it. This alarm has the same sound as the alarms initiated manually and is a signal to leave the building. Each room or suite is typically equipped with a 110-volt AC smoke detector. If activated, the alarm sounds in that room only. If there is a fire, go to the nearest exit, pull the fire alarm at the pull station, and leave the building.

If You Find a Fire

  1. Sound the alarm by activating the nearest fire alarm pull station and call the Fire Department at 911 from a safe location. You can also call 617-495-5560, the University Operations Center, who will notify the Fire Department, HUPD, a University fire safety mechanic, the building manager, and other key personnel.

  2. Alert your neighbors only if you can do so without delaying your exit.

  3. Leave the building immediately, close doors behind you as you exit the building and proceed to the designated emergency evacuation meeting location.

  4. If you have information on how the fire started or how the alarm was activated, report it to the Fire Department.

Do not try to put out the fire. Use your common sense. Your safety is more important than property.

If the Alarm Sounds

Do not delay evacuation or assume that this is a false alarm. Immediately begin to exit the building.

  1. Feel the door. If it is hot, do not open it. Stay in your room. Put a towel or blanket (preferably wet) under the door to keep the smoke out. If your telephone works, call the Cambridge Fire Department at 911. Also call the Harvard University Police Department at 617-495-1212 to let them know where you are. Attract attention to yourself. Hang a sheet or something out the window.

If the door is not hot, open it slowly. If smoke and heat fill the hall, close the door, stay in your room, and call for help.

If you can safely leave your room, take your key and close your door behind you. Exit by the nearest clear exit stairway. Do not use the elevators – it may fail in a fire or be automatically recalled to the ground floor. Failure to leave when an alarm sounds, unless there are safety reasons for not doing so, is a punishable offense.

  1. If you encounter smoke on your way out, stay low and crawl if necessary. You are more apt to find breathable air close to the floor. Cover your nose and mouth with a wet towel or wet handkerchief, if possible.

  2. So that you may be accounted for, go to the predetermined emergency evacuation meeting location. Do not attempt to reenter the building until the fire department gives permission to do so.

  3. Do not attempt to reenter the building until the fire department gives permission to do so.