Fire Safety FAQs

What actions are taken to prevent fires?

The University takes every precaution possible to prevent fires. The Office of the Facilities Management and Planning (OFMP)’s Area Managers conduct monthly life safety inspections of the buildings in their area. OEHS, in coordination with the Boston and Brookline Fire Departments, conducts annual inspections of all dormitories and quarterly inspections of assembly areas throughout campus. Periodic inspections of CRC buildings are conducted internally. In addition, building fire suppression and fire alarm systems are tested regularly to ensure they are in good working order.

What safety systems are in place to fight fires?

Most buildings at Boston University are equipped with fire alarm and automatic sprinkler systems. These systems will activate when a fire produces enough smoke or heat to trigger them. Fire extinguishers are available for use by trained personnel. Several buildings are also equpiped with standpipe systems for fire department use.

Do I need to evacuate every time the fire alarm sounds?

Yes! Faculty, staff and students are required to immediately evacuate the building when a fire alarm sounds. Never assume a fire alarm activation indicates a false alarm. Always assume that the situation is a real threat.

Where should I go in the event of a fire?

Evacuation maps are posted throughout all CRC buildings. All smaller dormitories have written evacuation plans that are posted adjacent to the evacuation maps. Designated meeting points for each residence are noted on the posted plans. Many larger buildings have specific emergency evacuation plans identifying designated gathering points during an evacuation. Residence Assistants, Supervisors and Faculty can provide you the location of the designated meeting point for your building. If you are in doubt of your building’s specific gathering point, remember to proceed away from the building. Failure to move away from the building could result in personal injury or hindrance of emergency responders’ efforts.

Whom do I notify when there is a fire?

If you see fire or smoke, immediately pull the nearest fire alarm pull station. Call 911 once you have safely evacuated, and then BU Public Safety at CRC (617) 353-2121 or BMC/Medical Campus (617) 638-4444.

What things should I look for to ensure fire safety in my off-campus apartment?

Please go to the Apartment Fire Safety section of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety’s website for more information.

What happens if I purposely set off a false alarm?

As stated in the Boston University Life Book “A student who, without reasonable cause, activates a fire alarm system or tampers with fire safety equipment, should expect to be expelled from the residential system and be referred to the Office of Judicial Affairs for further action (possibly including imposition of fines and suspension from the University); these cases may also be referred for criminal prosecution.”

What is the leading cause of fires on campus?

A review of campus fires during the year’s 2000-2003 indicates that electrical failures are the most common cause of fires on campus, closely followed by unattended candles in dorm rooms and malfunctioning equipment. Other causes of fires during the same time frame include unattended Bunsen burners, unattended cooking, careless cigarette disposal, contractor accidents, and arson.