Fire Safety Policies

    Below find Clark University's policies on portable electrical appliances, smoking and open flames in student housing facilities.

    The following policies deal directly or indirectly with fire safety. Students are given these policies annually in The Undergraduate Student Handbook, and the policies are presented to them specifically during First-Year Orientation.

    Prohibited Items

    Prohibited items that are found in any room/suite are subject to confiscation by University staff or University Police. The following materials are not permitted in the residence halls:

    • Candles
    • Hot plates
    • Space heaters
    • Incense
    • Fireworks
    • Traffic signs
    • Halogen lamps
    • Lava lamps
    • Oil lamps
    • Weapons
    • Air conditioners
    • Fuels
    • Automotive parts
    • Any item deemed unsafe by University staff

    Cooking Appliances

    For health and safety reasons, the Worcester Health Department prohibits the use of cooking appliances such as hot pots, electric frying pans, microwave ovens (except for MicroFridge units), popcorn poppers, toasters and toaster ovens in residence hall/house rooms. All University houses and residence halls have kitchen facilities where students may use these types of appliances.

    Kitchen and Cooking Policy

    Students are permitted to cook in the kitchen areas in the residence halls and/or in their apartments/suites. The safety of the residence hall community must always be the most important priority for students who decide to use these cooking spaces.

    The following kitchen use guidelines must be followed.

    1. If you are cooking or baking, you must stay within sight of the cooking appliance. Students cooking in common area kitchens should never leave the kitchen area while food is being cooked or the oven/burners are in operation. A fire or smoke-related incident that starts because a student was not paying attention to his/her cooking is not considered an accident, but rather an incident of unsafe and negligent use of the kitchen facility. In these cases, students may be responsible for damages and face judicial action.

    2. Students who cook and/or use the kitchen facilities are required to clean up that area immediately. Common kitchens are for the benefit of all community members. Leaving a mess in this area prevents others from taking advantage of this space.

    3. Student-owned appliances and other cooking materials must be in good, safe working condition. Large knives, deep frying vats and other appliances/utensils that may be considered unsafe in a residential community may be confiscated at the discretion of Residential Life and Housing staff members.

    4. The act of cooking is prohibited inside a residence hall or house bedroom and can only be done inside a designated kitchen area. Students may not use electric hotplates, skillets, broiler ovens, crock pots, toasters, sandwich presses, grills, toaster ovens or like appliances in their room. Students may store these items (unplugged) in their rooms for appropriate use in the kitchen facilities. Students can heat up items in a "MicroFridge" microwave in their rooms, but they are still required to take caution and care when using this appliance. Overheated foods like leftovers and popcorn can cause extreme smoke to form in a room or hallway and trigger the fire alarm.

    5. Students in areas with secured shared kitchens are only granted card access to these facilities if they follow all safety guidelines. Students who fail to observe these kitchen and cooking safety policies may lose their kitchen access rights for a time deemed appropriate through the judicial process.

    Fire Safety

    Fire Drills

    Fire drills are held periodically each year, and all residents and guests are expected to leave the building during these drills. You should be aware of the quickest and safest ways out of the building in the event of an emergency. The residential life staff will provide this information at the beginning of each semester.

    Fire Doors

    Fire doors may not be propped open. Moreover, it is a violation of federal law to tamper with fire alarms, sprinklers, extinguishers and other fire equipment. Judicial action may be pursued in cases where students fail to evacuate a building during an active fire alarm.

    Any violation of the Fire Safety policy will result in a $100 fine in additional to any judicial action.

    Fire Hazards

    Hanging items from the smoke detector, sprinkler pipes and/or ceiling is prohibited. No additional dividers or partitions that block entrances or exits will be permitted. Removal of batteries or disconnecting the smoke detector is prohibited. Fire laws forbid the storage of gasoline-containing vehicles (e.g., motorcycles) in or near residence halls. Halogen lamps, lava lamps, candles, incense and oil lamps are prohibited in residential areas. Possession, manufacture or use of fireworks or explosives on University property is expressly forbidden. All residence halls are smoke-free. Fire safety violations are subject to a $100 fine and judicial action.


    All University housing is smoke free. Smoking is not permitted anywhere inside any University Building. Smoking immediately outside the entrance doors to residence halls is also prohibited. Smoking outside a residence hall/ house must occur at least 20 feet from the building and away from all entrances, windows and exits. Clark respects the rights of non-smokers to live free of environmental tobacco smoke. Students found smoking inside or directly outside of a residence hall or house may be subject to judicial action and a $100 fine.

    Students may possess hookahs in University owned and managed properties as long as the hookah is being used with tobacco products. The same guidelines above apply to smoking from a hookah. As such, the use of hookahs in the residence halls and in any University building is prohibited in accordance with the smoking policies of Clark University.

    Students smoking in the residence halls or possessing evidence of having smoked in the residence halls (i.e. an ashtray with cigarettes, the odor or visible presence of cigarette smoke, extinguished cigarettes, etc.) will be subject to judicial action and a $100 fine for the first offense. Subsequent violations will result in a $100 fine and may include administrative relocation or removal from university housing.

    In cases where tobacco smoke is present at large gatherings, all students may be held accountable for violating the smoking policy.

    Procedures for Student Housing Evacuations
    (maps on doors, RA training, etc.)

    RAs (residence hall advisors) are trained on the following protocol on how to respond to a fire alarm. Students are informed of this during floor meetings in the fall, and through posters in the halls, etc. We do not have evacuation cards on the doors with a route on them.

    Fire Alarms

    The information below uses language to describe the process or procedure that should be followed during a fire alarm, but the same holds true for any circumstance involving a building evacuation through a fire alarm.

    Designated Meeting Areas

    The following areas are designated meeting areas for each building:

    Bullock HallIn front of Bullock on the walkway
    Dana HallIn front of Dana behind the brick wall
    Dodd Hall In front of Dodd in the Fuller Quad
    Hughes HallIn front of Hughes against the wall
    Johnson HallIn front of Johnson in the Fuller Quad
    Maywood HallIn front of Maywood / behind Carlson Hall
    Sanford HallIn front of Sanford on Fuller Quad walkway
    Wright HallGoddard Library side of Downing Street
    Blackstone HallIn front of Maywood Place 1 and 3

    During a Fire Alarm or Fire Alarm Testing

    When the fire alarm is activated all individuals should exit the building and proceed to their designated meeting area.

    The University Police and the Worcester Fire Department will respond to investigate, insure that all individuals have been evacuated and determine the cause of the alarm.

    The RA staff (who are present) will meet in front of the residence hall to determine who will complete the following tasks:

    • Walk around the outside of building to check exit doors and direct students to the assigned meeting area and secure any propped open doors.
    • Make sure that residents remain in the designated meeting area until University Police grants permission to reenter the building.
    • Introduce themselves to University Police Officers and ask if they need assistance.
    • One RA should remain at the front door of the building to assist the University Police or Worcester Fire Department with access or directions during the fire alarm.

    University Police Officers will grant permission to reenter the building once the fire alarm has been reset or testing has concluded. NO ONE should reenter the building until such permission is granted. (Just because the alarm has stopped sounding, does not make the building safe to reenter).

    Please note: In Blackstone Hall, students with limited mobility on the second floor or higher (anyone requiring an elevator to get out of the building) are instructed to stay in their personal rooms during a fire alarm. University Police will instruct Worcester FD to locate these students and help them from the building if necessary.

    After a Fire Alarm or Fire Alarm Testing

    • RA will submit an evacuation report on the Admin Site.
    • Members of the Residential Life and Housing staff will meet with students who chose not to exit their buildings during the fire alarm or fire alarm testing, and those students may be referred to the University Judicial System. Submit these names on an Incident Report.
    • Members of the Residential Life and Housing staff will also meet with any student who is caught tampering with fire evacuation/safety equipment, and those students may be referred to the University Judicial System. Submit these names on an Incident Report.

    If a fire alarm is activated, all persons are to call University Police.

    Plans for future improvements in fire safety, if determined necessary by the institution.

    We continue to upgrade and replace our fire alarm systems annually to ensure they are in top working condition and to ensure we have access to repair parts in the event of a failure. All of our housing has full sprinkler systems and carbon monoxide detection systems as required by the city.

View Official Policy in PDF