Fire/Life Safety


Safety & Environmental Management ensures the continuation of a fire-life safety environment through inspection, education, and equipment resources for all Georgetown University students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

Applicable Codes & Standards

The DC Fire Marshal’s Office has adopted the International Code Council. Some of these include, but are not limited to:

  • International Fire Code
  • International Building Code
  • International Mechanical Code
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
Fire Life Safety Program

The fire and life safety program at GU involves numerous activities, programs, and procedures to help ensure that our campus is a safe place to work, live, and play. These program areas include fire prevention, fire suppression, emergency preparedness, preplanning, education, and response. The following information is provided as a general guideline for activities associated with fire and life safety. Additional information may be obtained by contacting SEM or obtaining information from the SEM website

Appliance Safety

An appliance can be defined as any instrument or piece of equipment or device designed for a particular use and powered by electricity. (i.e. computers, copy machines, refrigerators, freezers, space heaters etc.) Use the following guidelines when using appliances on campus.

  • Always use appliances that are UL or FM labeled
  • Adequate space should be given around appliances to allow for air circulation
  • Clothes dryers should have the lint removed after each load and excess build-up of lint around the dryer should be cleaned regularly.
  • Large appliances such as refrigerators and freezers should be plugged directly into wall outlets.
  • Frequently inspect the electrical connection of appliances to ensure a good connection with the receptacle
  • Frequently inspect the condition of appliances. If appliances begins to spark or produce an electrical smell, turn power off immediately and discontinue using the appliance.
Building Evacuation Plans/Drills

To ensure that building occupants are prepared for an emergency evacuation, drills must be conducted on a regular basis. Evacuation drills may be used to vacate a building for several reasons such as fires, gas leaks, chemical spills, bomb threats or other similar emergencies and emphasis should be placed on orderly evacuation rather than on speed.

The fire drill evacuation plan shall include all personnel in the building. This includes all residents, visitors, guests, employees, and attendants. There are no excuses for not participating. Everyone must leave the building during the drill period.

Fire drills are required once each semester, during the first three weeks of each academic term to test the fire alarms and fire reporting procedures under simulated emergency conditions. Drills shall not be conducted at regularly scheduled times, and shall be held without warning except for the GU Facilities alarm technicians or the GU Housing Operations Staff. Such drills ensure familiarity with exits which in turn ensures that everyone gets out of the building promptly and in an organized manner to a place of safety. Below are the steps to follow when establishing and participating in on-Campus fire drills.

Procedures: 1. The Building Floor Marshal, DEMOC and SEM personnel will arrange, conduct, and record drill results.Safety & Environmental Management will coordinate the dates of the fire drills.

Annual building fire inspections

:Fire inspections are conducted each calendar year by the District of Columbia Fire Marshal and accompanied by a SEM Fire Safety Specialist. The purpose of these inspections is to prevent or minimize fire and life safety deficiencies in all GU facilities. All inspections are conducted in compliance with the District of Columbia using the adopted International Fire Code.

Residence Hall Information

The residence halls at the Georgetown University are designed for a reasonable level of fire safety. The fire alarms, sprinkler systems, smoke detectors, and extinguishers are all inspected on a regular basis. There are fire safety instructions and procedures in effect in all halls, designed to enhance safety and minimize the hazard of fire and smoke. In addition, GU Housing Operations works closely with the University's Safety & Environmental Management Department to take every precaution to ensure your safety in an event of fire. Despite this, it must be recognized that fires can still occur and fire prevention is everyone's responsibility!

For these reasons, the following items listed on the following link are prohibited in the residential halls:  See additional information below in order to residence to assist the fire and life safety prevention program:

Hazards in Residence Halls

Electrical Overloads: To reduce the risk of fire resulting from overloaded circuits, we strongly recommend the use of a multi-plug circuit breaker outlet if more outlets are needed. Extension cords are a major cause of residential fires – avoid using them. If your circuit breaker trips, it is possible someone on the circuit is overloading it or using a defective appliance. If this happens, report it to the hall office. Also, too many of certain types of appliances such as coffee makers, popcorn poppers, hair dryers, and curling irons may overload the circuits

Open flames: Many fires occurring in residence hall are a result of burning candles. Camp stoves, candles, open coil heating or cooking elements, lava lamps, kerosene lamps, etc., can be extremely hazardous. These open flame devices are not permitted in student rooms. Similarly, burning incense is not allowed. Cooking on barbecue grills and hibachis is not allowed in or around the halls.

Trash: All combustibles, such as paper, should be disposed of in outdoor trash bins as soon as possible. Full wastebaskets and recycling bins are an invitation for fire. Never place newspapers or other combustible or flammable materials in corridors, stairwells, or other common areas.

Flammable Liquids (and other hazardous chemicals): Gasoline, ether, paint, glue, etc. are not permitted in student rooms or storage areas. Motorized vehicles are not allowed in the buildings under any circumstances.

Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in all Residence Halls. Smoking in bed is extremely dangerous and is one of the primary causes of fires in living areas. Careless disposal of matches and cigarette butts is also a common cause of fire.

Halogen Lamps: Due to the high temperatures emitted from halogen lamps, they are prohibited in the residence halls. It has been reported that many fires are caused by materials coming in contact with the halogen bulb or other parts of the lamp.

Cooking: Individuals can only cook in designated areas or kitchens using the proper appliances. At no time is one permitted to leave the cooking process unattended.


The fire alarm system and fire-fighting equipment in the residence halls are for your protection. Tampering with smoke detectors, sprinkler heads, sprinkler piping, alarm boxes, and fire extinguishers are prohibited. Remember, this is your life safety equipment. You will be held accountable and liable for any damage that may endanger the lives of other residents. Hanging items from the sprinkler head or pipes is prohibited.

Fire alarms may be set off in ANY Georgetown University occupied buildings accidentally or due to tampering. How do you know if it is a false alarm? You don't! So get out!

Higher Education Opportunity Act

OSHA's Form 300A - Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses