Fire Safety Report

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Saint Mary’s University
Higher Education Opportunity Act
2009 – 2010 Campus Fire Safety Annual Compliance Report


The Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) became law in August, 2008, requiring all United States academic institutions to produce an annual fire safety report outlining fire safety practices, standards, and all fire-related on-campus statistics. The following public disclosure report details all information required by this law as it relates to Saint Mary’s University.

General Statement of University Owned/Controlled Student Housing

At Saint Mary’s University, all residence halls are completely covered by a fire alarm system, which is monitored 24 hours/day, seven days/week. The following residence halls are also equipped with an automatic sprinkler system: Heffron, Skemp, Benilde, St Edwards, The Heights, Hillside, La Salle, The Pines, and St. Yons. Ek Village, New Village, Vlazny Hall, Gilmore Creek, and Watters Hall are not equipped with a sprinkler system. The University is also equipped with an emergency generator that is designed to automatically activate whenever there is a power loss. This generator will operate life safety systems including all fire safety equipment, sprinkler systems, hallway lightings, emergency exit doors and lighting in all emergency exit stairwells.

All residence life and campus safety staff receives fire safety training at the beginning of the academic school year. In addition, a quality control program that covers emergency and evacuation procedures is reviewed regularly. Information regarding fire safety and evacuation procedures can be on the Saint Mary’s University Website. Every student room has an emergency evacuation map installed on the inside of the front door as well, to direct occupants to primary and secondary exits, and locations of fire extinguishers. Fire drills are conducted two times per year in all residence halls.

Saint Mary’s University continues to be proactive with respect to fire safety and encourages all members of the campus community to report fire safety issues immediately to their respective hall director, residence life staff or Maintenance.

Any member or group within the University community requesting specific training and/or information regarding fire safety may contact Residence Life and/or Saint Mary’s University Campus Safety.

Specific Fire Prevention Related Policies

It is the policy of Saint Mary’s University to provide faculty, staff, students and visitors with the safest possible environment, free from potential fire hazards. The primary goal of the University’s Fire Prevention Program is to recognize hazardous conditions and take appropriate action before such conditions result in a fire emergency. This goal is accomplished by (1) conducting periodic fire safety inspections of all University buildings, and (2) increasing the fire safety awareness of employees and students by conducting periodic training on basic fire safety.

To minimize the potential for fires at Saint Mary’s University it is the policy of Saint Mary’s University to prohibit the use of the following items in any University owned or operated facility (unless in accordance with other University policies and procedures, and/or by the authority having jurisdiction); candles, appliances with exposed heating elements, combustionable materials, (including holiday trees) may not be stored in residence halls, access to windows and doorways may not be obstructed (a minimum of 36 inches must be allowed for egress), items may not be hung from, or attached to sprinkler pipes, items posted on room doors may cover no more than 15% of the door, and extension cords cannot be used without surge protectors and can only be used in a manner that matches fire code regulations.

Burning candles and incense in the residence halls is prohibited. Candles in a room must have the wick cut off or not be burned. For safety reasons, electric candle warmers are not allowed. Note: You are responsible for any fire alarms, damages, cleaning or painting charges associated with misuse of candles or candle warmers.

In order to protect and possibly save your life and the lives of others you must assume that there is a fire when the alarm sounds. All students must evacuate the building when a fire alarm is sounded. Failure to evacuate during an alarm will subject the student to University disciplinary action. Students should leave their rooms prepared to go outside and should not return until instructed by the University or emergency personnel.

Fire alarms, smoke detectors, sprinkler equipment, exit signs and firefighting equipment installed in the halls and your room are for your safety. Tampering with them hinders their efficiency and endangers the safety of all residents. All cases of tampering are investigated, and those found responsible may face immediate termination of their Housing contract, suspension from Saint Mary’s University, and possible criminal charges of up to a penalty of $1,000 or 90 days in jail.

Member of the campus community wishing to participate in fire suppression and detection training may do so by contacting the Director of Campus Safety at ext. 1888 or by email at aessar@smumn.edu.

Fire Procedures (Emergency Operations Procedures)

  • Should you see or smell smoke immediately pull the nearest fire alarm, leave the building, and contact the Winona Fire Department (911) from a safe area. Be prepared to give the following information:
    • Location of fire
    • Building and room number (if known)
    • Your name and telephone number
    • Stay on the line until the dispatcher releases you
  • The person reporting the fire should remain in the vicinity outside the building to supply information upon request to the Winona Fire Department
  • Always take fire alarms seriously. When a fire alarm has been activated, everyone is to evacuate the building immediately
  • NOTE: Persons who do not leave the building when a fire alarm is sounded may be subject to disciplinary action and/or possible criminal charges
  • Evacuate all rooms, closing all doors to confine the fire. Do not lock doors. Check doors for heat before opening. Open doors slowly and check for smoke.
  • Fire doors leading into stairwell landings should be closed
  • Do not attempt to put out a fire if you are endangering your own safety or the safety of others
  • Do not use elevators. Power may be fail causing the elevators to stop between floors or elevator doors may open onto the fire floor
  • Disabled persons who are unable to move down the stairwells should move to a stairwell. Caution should be used as to not block traffic.
  • Immediately notify rescue personnel of any persons left in the building along with their locations

NOTE: If you become trapped in a building during a fire and a window is available place an article of clothing outside the window as a marker for rescue personnel. If there is not a window, stay near the floor where the air will be less toxic. Seal up the cracks around the door using pieces of clothing or whatever is handy. Shout at regular intervals to alert emergency personnel of your location.

CAUTION: Building fire alarms may stop ringing. If they stop, do not return to the building unless notified by the Winona Fire Department or Saint Mary’s University Campus Safety.

Know the location of fire alarm pull stations, fire extinguishers and exits