With the holidays fast approaching, here are a few tips for keeping your home, office, or residence hall room safe this season—as well as how to secure your room or office before the break—with insight from university fire safety officer Peter C. Rizzi and housing services director Matt Austin.
In the office:
Deck your office, not the halls
University fire safety regulations prohibit the display of decorations in elevators, stairwells, hallways, or other common areas.
Create real cheer with synthetic decorations
Natural trees, wreaths, or other decorations made from combustible organic materials—including laurel, holly, and straw—are prohibited from all university buildings for fire concerns.
Enjoy roasted chestnuts, but without the open fire
Lit candles are prohibited in all university buildings.
Baby, it’s cold outside
If you won’t be in your office much over break, Rizzi has a few tips before you leave. First, turn off all equipment, especially laptops or devices with lithium batteries. Second, ensure all windows are tightly closed.
“Even a slightly-opened window can let in enough cold air to freeze and break a fire sprinkler or the heating and domestic water pipes,” he said.
In your residence hall room:
Don’t hang a shining star upon the highest bough
Indoor/outdoor string lights, like the kind you’d hang on your house, are prohibited in university residence halls. Paper decorations and neon signs are also prohibited. Finally, as in all university buildings, natural trees and lit candles are not allowed.
There’s no place like home for the holidays
But before you go, make sure to secure your room for the break. This includes cleaning all areas of your room, removing trash and perishable food, closing all windows, disconnecting all plugs except that of your refrigerator, turning off all lights, and taking valuables with you. Finally, leave the heat in your room on low to avoid frozen pipes.
Keep your tree watered, so you can keep rocking around it
If you choose a natural evergreen tree for your home this holiday season, water it daily. These trees are highly combustible, especially when dry.
Hearts will be glowing, but your decorations shouldn’t
At home, keep trees and other combustible materials away from any source of ignition, such as space heaters, wood stoves, or other heat-producing appliances.