Fire Safety

[Fire Statistics PDF]

What fire safety measures are in place in the RESIDENCE HALLS?

Every residence hall is equipped with an automatic smoke/ heat detection system monitored 24 hours a day by university police. The system also includes strobe light units to notify students who are hearing impaired. An alarm prompts immediate evacuation of the building. The system also self-tests for tampering and reduces the chance for false alarms.

Each individual residence hall room has an AC-powered smoke detector with battery backup, which resident assistants (RAs) check during monthly room inspections. Fire drills are conducted a minimum of two times each semester in all residence halls. Students who fail to evacuate as required are referred to the university judicial system.

All residence halls are equipped with fire sprinkler systems. Fire extinguishers are located in all campus buildings and residence halls and are inspected monthly. Fire hydrants are located outside each residence hall. The Department of Public Safety conducts monthly building inspections of every campus facility.

All residence halls provide enhanced levels of fire safety. Room smoke detectors are an integral component of the new system and report directly to the University Police Department, replacing the stand-alone devices in the original residence halls. The new buildings are 100 percent sprinklered with fire department connection points located in each stairwell.

Stone Ridge Commons and College Park Commons are apartment complexes owned, controlled and maintained by the SU Foundation. Stone Ridge Commons is equipped with an automatic smoke/heat detection system monitored 24 hours a day by the SU Foundation. The system also includes strobe light units to notify students who are hearing impaired. An alarm prompts immediate evacuation of the building. College Park Commons is equipped with an automatic smoke/heat detection system monitored 24 hours a day by the SU Foundation. The system also includes an alarm prompting immediate evacuation of the building.

Fire Alarm System Description

Every residence hall facility (8) is protected by an automatic sprinkler system (100 percent coverage). Harley, Kieffer, Lackhove, McCune, McLean, Mowrey, Naugle, and Seavers halls are wet systems. The attic spaces in Harley, Kieffer, Lackhove, McCune, Naugle, and Seavers halls have dry systems in place. Every facility is monitored by a Siemens addressable fire alarm system, which reports all system conditions to the University Police Department. Room smoke detectors are a part of the fire alarm system, with smoke detectors in each room and a sounder base in each room as well. Emergency generators are provided for backup lighting, which provides backup power to the fire alarm system. Battery backup is also a part of the fire alarm system, assuring these systems will function even in a long-term power outage. Harley, Kieffer, Lackhove, McCune, Naugle, and Seavers halls have emergency notification tied to the fire alarm speakers, making it possible for university police to make an emergency notification to a single building, or any building with this system installed in it.

Fire alarm systems in Stone Ridge Commons and College Park Commons are provided and maintained by the SU Foundation. Stone Ridge Commons is protected by an automatic sprinkler system (100 percent coverage). The facility is monitored by a fire alarm system, which reports all system conditions to the SU Foundation.

Reporting Fires that are Found “After the Fact”

Per federal law, Shippensburg University is required to annually disclose statistical data on all fires that occur in on-campus, or contiguous off-campus student housing facilities. For fire incidents that are discovered “after-the-fact” or where it is uncertain that the Department of Public Safety has already been notified about a fire, students and employees are encouraged to report the incident to the Department of Public Safety to ensure the fire is investigated, if appropriate, and for inclusion in the annual fire statistics. If you find evidence of such a fire, or if you hear about such a fire, please contact the Department of Public Safety at (717) 477-1444 to initiate an incident report. If you encounter a fire that is actively burning, dial 911 for emergency assistance.

In addition to the Department of Public Safety, you may contact these offices regarding “after-the-fact” fires during regular business hours:

  • Office of Residence Life and Housing (717) 477-1701
  • Office of Environmental Health and Safety (717) 477-1446

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

Mandatory Supervised Fire Drills

Pennsylvania code requires two supervised fire drills per facility per year. The Department of Public Safety, in conjunction with Residence Life, conducts a minimum of two drills per semester in each residence hall. Currently Mowrey Hall and McClean Hall does not house students. Additional drills can be conducted during the year if staff warrants it.

University Policies

Smoking: Smoking (including vaping and e-cigarettes) is not permitted in any university building or fleet vehicle. Designated smoking areas have been established for the campus community. The university disciplinary process is used for those who do not follow the policy.

Appliances: Cooking appliances are prohibited in all rooms in all residence halls. Examples include hot plates, immersion coils, electric fry pans, toaster ovens, electric griddles, hot pots, toasters, popcorn poppers, and hot shots. Secondary heating appliances are not permitted, including kerosene heaters, charcoal stoves, and propane or natural gas-fired appliances.

Open Flame: Any item that may produce an open flame is prohibited. Examples include incense burning, candles, oil lamps, lanterns, potpourri/oil burners, propane grills, and fire pits.

Decorations: Posters, flags, tapestries, or decorations shall not be hung from the ceiling, walls, or windows or cover exit doors. No natural Christmas trees or natural decorations are permitted.

Extension cords: Not permitted. An UL-approved power strip is permitted, but cannot be daisy chained together with another.

Testing of Emergency Procedures and Evacuation

Fire drills and emergency evacuations are conducted annually in all academic buildings (at the start of the fall semester). The Department of Public Safety, working in conjunction with Residence Life, conduct a minimum of two fire drills in each on campus residence hall every semester. Every drill includes a full evacuation of each building. The purpose of evacuation drills is to prepare building occupants for an organized evacuation in case of fire or other emergency. During the drill, occupants practice drill
procedures and familiarize themselves with the location of exits and the audible/visual notification capabilities of the fire alarm system. In addition to educating the occupants of each building about the evacuation procedures, the process also provides the university with an opportunity to perform the
monthly test of the fire alarm system components.

Fire drills are conducted at Stone Ridge Commons and each College Park Commons apartment complex
every semester and include- a full evacuation. Head counts and evacuation times are documented. Inspections of fire systems are conducted monthly to assure system integrity for emergency conditions (evacuations are not done at these times). These two apartment complexes are owned and
controlled by the SU Foundation. 

Plans for Future Fire Safety Improvements

There currently are no plans to further upgrade the fire alarm/suppression systems in the existing residence halls. Fire alarm/suppression systems are upgraded as necessary during renovation projects. All residence halls have fire alarm systems with room smoke detection reporting to the University Police Department. The system is capable of sending mass notification messages through the fire alarm system. The buildings are 100 percent sprinklered.