Fire Safety

In case of fire, immediately dial 911.

Then contact 617-353-2121 (Charles River Campus) or 617-414-444 (Medical Campus)

Fire safety is the responsibility of all those within the Boston University community. Environmental Health & Safety develops fire safety programs and works closely with Residence Life to train Resident Assistants and students about fire safety. Boston University is required to annually disclose statistical data on all fires that occur in on-campus student housing facilities.

A fire log is maintained at the Boston University Police Department that includes the nature, date, time, and general location of each fire.

Even in the event that a fire appears to be extinguished, please call 911 first and then notify Boston University Police at 617-353-2110 (BUPD’s non-emergency number) and Environmental Health & Safety at 617-353-4094.

When calling, please provide as much information as possible about the location, date, time, and cause of the fire.

Additional information on fires, fire safety programs, or other areas within Environmental Health & Safety is available online

Policy

Fire safety is taken very seriously at Boston University, and all residents are expected to cooperate in keeping the residences as safe as possible. For this reason, the following activities are forbidden, and those engaging in them should expect serious consequences:

  • Setting fires of any kind for any reason.
  • Tampering with any fire safety equipment, including fire extinguishers, fire alarm boxes, smoke detectors, and sprinkler heads (such as hanging objects from sprinkler heads and so forth).
  • Malicious activation of a fire alarm.
  • Propping open fire doors for any purpose other than emergency evacuation.
  • Use of roofs and fire escapes for any purpose other than for escape from a fire or threat of a fire.
  • Accidental activation of a smoke detector or fire alarm resulting from hall sports, water fights, and so on.
  • Lighting open flames, and the possession of candles or incense in the residences.
  • Using space heaters or other types of portable heaters.
  • Careless use of approved items/appliances that creates a fire hazard.

The following appliances are allowed in dormitory-style residences:

  • Radios, tape recorders, stereos, television sets, personal computers
  • Reading lamps, hair dryers, electric toothbrushes
  • Refrigerators (up to a maximum of four cubic feet), rental MicroFridge units
  • Hot-air popcorn poppers
  • Fans (no larger than 12 inches in diameter)

The following appliances are prohibited in dormitory-style residences:

  • Microwave ovens, coffee pots, hot plates, blenders, hot pots
  • Appliances for the preparation of food other than University rental program MicroFridge units and hot-air popcorn poppers
  • Torchère-style halogen lamps, electric blankets, air conditioners, and sunlamps
  • Because of safety and health concerns, use of electrical appliances other than those listed above is prohibited. Additionally, the use of items/appliances which have a source of heat or flame is also prohibited.

Student Residences

Boston University commits to providing housing to all students for all four years of undergraduate education and provides campus housing to more than 11,000 students.

Facilities Management & Planning is responsible for the maintenance and testing of fire safety systems including detection devices, suppression systems, and fire extinguishers. Environmental Health & Safety is responsible for auditing those maintenance programs and ensuring compliance with regulations or policy. BU contracts with third-party vendors to conduct required testing of alarm, suppression, and extinguishing systems; Facilities Management & Planning inspects fire extinguishers, egress pathways, emergency lighting, and exit signage on a monthly basis.

    Boston University upgrades life safety systems during scheduled construction and renovation projects and allocates additional funding each fiscal year for the installation or upgrade of existing life safety systems as determined necessary. Boston University maintains its building at or above current regulatory requirements.

    Fire Safety Training

    Prior to the start of each academic school year, Environmental Health & Safety trains each of the nearly 350 Residence Life staff members on general fire safety, procedures, policies, and how to properly evacuate a building. Within the first week of the full student move-in, Residence Life staff members meet with their respective residence by floor or building to discuss the fire safety policies, rules, and evacuation procedures.

    In addition to this annual mandatory training, each residential building is affixed with building-specific evacuation plans and evacuation floor maps. Each floor of a given residential building is provided with a building-/floor-specific map and plan. The plan highlights the University’s evacuation plan, building specific meeting points, and emergency contact information.

    The University’s evacuation plan is known as R.A.C.E., which stands for:

    RESCUE/REMOVE—PERSON(S) FROM THE IMMEDIATE FIRE SCENE OR ROOM.

    ALERT/ACTIVATE —CALL 911 TO EXPLAIN LOCATION OF FIRE AND PULL THE NEAREST FIRE ALARM.

    CONFINE—THE FIRE AND SMOKE BY CLOSING ALL DOORS AND AREAS.

    EXTINGUISH—A SMALL FIRE BY USING PORTABLE FIRE EXTINGUISHER OR USE TO ESCAPE FROM LARGE FIRES. EVACUATE BUILDING IMMEDIATELY.

      Fire safety training at BU includes instruction on fire alarm pull station locations, evacuation meeting points, shelter in place, sprinkler and smoke detector activations, and basic fire extinguisher instruction, including their location.

      Fire Safety Report

      Emergency Response

      Boston University has 24-hour dispatch centers for Facilities Management and for Police/Public Safety at each of its campuses. These dispatch centers utilize a number of communication protocols to activate emergency plans, notify appropriate responders, and then escalate or de-escalate that response as appropriate.

      In the event of a fire, call 911 first.

      Facilities Management emergency response:

      • Charles River Campus—617-353-2105
      • Medical Campus—617-638-4144

      Police/Public Safety emergency response:

      • Charles River Campus—617-353-2121
      • Medical Campus—617-414-4444

      Fires at Boston University are handled by appropriately trained responders only. Residents are trained to activate the fire alarm and evacuate. The first responders from Environmental Health & Safety, Facilities, and/or BUPD are responsible for managing a safe response, a controlled environment, interaction with the responding fire department, and recovery and reoccupation when the incident is resolved.

      Fire Statistics

      For more information, please visit: