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Campus Fire Safety Report

On August 14, 2008, the Higher Education Opportunity Act was signed into law requiring colleges to provide fire safety information about fire drills, fire safety policies, education and training programs, fire safety equipment and plans for future improvement.

  • Shriner Hall – full sprinkler system (installed summer 2007), and networked fire alarm system.
  • Meyran Hall – full sprinkler system (installed summer 2009), and networked fire alarm system.
  • Coblentz Hall – full sprinkler system (installed summer 2011), networked fire alarm system.
  • Coblentz Memorial Hall – full sprinkler system (installed summer 2012), and networked fire alarm system.
  • Smith Hall – full sprinkler system (installed summer 2013), and networked fire alarm system.
  • Marx Center – partial building sprinkler system protecting all residential areas of the building (installed 2014), and networked fire alarm system.
  • German House – building transitioned to campus guest facility and no longer a student housing unit. Structure is covered by smoke detectors, CO2 detector and pull stations.

All halls and houses have smoke and heat detectors, and pull stations. Our fire alarm networked system can be activated by any of the following:

  • Smoke
  • Heat
  • Activation of fire-suppression sprinklers
  • Pull-to-activate-fire-alarm (pull stations)

Our fire alarm system is tested annually through our contractor and our sprinkler system is tested quarterly and inspected annually. Fire extinguishers are checked monthly by campus safety officers and inspected annually by our contractor.

When a networked fire alarm is activated, the alarm simultaneously sounds at the location of origin and at the campus safety dispatch/information office, which is staffed 24/7. A dispatcher then assigns an officer to a priority one fire alarm call. All officers respond immediately on such an alarm to determine cause and whether the fire department should be notified.

Supervised Fire Drills 

Mandatory, supervised, announced and unannounced fire drills are conducted for each residence hall in the fall and spring semesters by campus safety officers. A fire can happen at any time, our drills are conducted at various times, night and day.

Evacuation Policy and Procedures 

The Hood College emergency response plan is available online at and the Hood College Safety and Security Guidebook is available at the office of campus safety. They provide the following instruction in the case of an evacuation emergency:

  • Know the location of the nearest exits and fire alarm pull stations so that an alarm can be initiated. The fire alarm pull stations are labeled. To activate the alarm, pull the handle until you hear the alarm sound. It may be necessary to break a pane of glass to reach the handle. If necessary, use the heel of your shoe to break the glass.
  • Get out when the fire alarm sounds.
  • Know what to do if you are trapped. If the exits are blocked by heavy smoke or fire, retreat as far as you can, closing (but not locking) as many doors as you can between you and the fire. If possible, call the fire department (911 from a campus phone) and give them your exact location. If smoke starts coming in, try to seal the door as best as you can. If you can open an exterior window, try to signal the fire department and be ready to close the window if smoke is drawn into your refuge.
  • Get down for life. If there is smoke, stay low; it will be easier to breathe.
  • Do not create a trap. Keep your office safe. Do not increase your risk by clogging your office with papers or other items. Simple good housekeeping is an important part of fire safety.
  • Practice. Stage mandatory fire drills. Fire drills and fire safety training are good team-building exercises.

Students are not expected to fight fires and are encouraged not to use fire extinguishers unless designated and trained. Individuals designated and trained by the College in the proper use of extinguishers may use a portable fire extinguisher to fight a small fire where there is little risk of harm from smoke, heat or flames.

 Evacuation Procedure for Disabled Persons 

Persons whose mobility is impaired are individually responsible for informing their supervisors, residence life staff and the Office of Campus Safety 301-696-3548 of their name, location and the nature of their disability. This information will be given to emergency responders during an emergency situation. The rescue of disabled persons who are unable to evacuate themselves will be an initial priority for responding fire units. Co-workers may assist in evacuating disabled persons only if this places them in no personal danger. Always ask someone with a disability how you can help before attempting any rescue technique. Ask the individual if there are any special considerations or items that need to come with the person. Mobility-impaired persons in wheelchairs on non ground-level floors should proceed to the nearest enclosed stairwells and wait for responders to arrive. Someone should stay with the disabled person if it does not place them in additional danger, and someone should meet responding fire fighters to report the location of disabled persons. Visually impaired persons should have a sighted individual guide them to safety. Inform hearing-impaired persons of the nature of the emergency. Do not assume they know what is happening by watching others.

Fire Safety Violations and Prohibitions 

Fire safety violations will result in fines, sanctions and possible revocation of the privilege of living in campus housing. Repeat or egregious offenses will result in heavier fines or sanctions and possible suspension or expulsion from the College.

Covering or tampering with smoke detectors and/or sprinkler heads are life safety hazards and strictly prohibited.

Residents may not have or use candles, incense, sterno, potpourri burners, hookahs or other items that function by burning. Candles may not be present in the room, even for decorative purposes. Birthday candles are permitted in designated areas.

No flammable liquids such as lighter fluid, kerosene, gasoline, etc., may be stored in rooms.

Flammable items such as sheets, cloth, fish net, etc., may not be hung or draped from the walls or ceiling.

Light fixtures may not be covered with flammable items such as cloth, paper or cellophane.

No live Christmas trees or live greenery may be used in any College building. All decorating materials used on floors where students live must be fireproof.

Residents and their guests and visitors shall not tamper with the fire alarm system, fire extinguishers, fire hoses, fire doors, residence hall room door closures, red phones, smoke detectors or other fire equipment.

Residents and their guests and visitors must evacuate the building immediately when a fire alarm sounds. Residents should always take a fire alarm seriously, never assuming that an alarm merely signifies a drill. It is a violation of Maryland state law to remain in a building when a fire alarm sounds.

Stairway and hallway fire doors shall be kept closed at all times. Mandated by the state fire marshal, these closed doors can contain a fire long enough to allow the occupants to escape.

Residents may not leave items in the hallways.

Residents shall not use the elevator in the event of a fire or fire drill.

Residents may not leave an outside door propped open and unattended at any time; this endangers the safety and security of every resident of the building.

Under no circumstances may fireplaces be used.

Activities that may endanger the safety of students, such as water fights, jamming or rocking the elevators, or tying doors in such a way that they cannot be opened, are not allowed.

Violation of these policies may result in fines and disciplinary sanctions.


All campus facilities are nonsmoking buildings. All students and their guests and visitors are prohibited from smoking in any College-owned building at all times. This includes common areas and student rooms as well as porches, fire escapes and balconies. Violation of this policy will result in a fine. Fines will increase for subsequent offenses.

Smokers who choose to smoke outside the residence halls must use the proper containers (ashtrays and metal trashcans) for disposing of cigarettes and ashes. The residence hall house council may designate specific smoking and non smoking areas around the building (Maryland state law sets a minimum distance of 20 feet from entrance areas).

Fire Safety Education and Training Programs 

All campus safety officers and residence life staff receive fire safety and emergency action plan training and are responsible for providing fire safety guidance to students. Prior to the first fire drill of the year, residence life staff conduct a mandatory house meeting for students during which evacuation procedures and fire safety rules are reviewed with new and returning residents.

All residence hall students are issued a copy of the College's Campus Safety and Security Guidebook, which provides information on how to respond appropriately in any number of emergency situations.

Staff and faculty are also provided with copies of the guidebook. In addition, residence life, campus safety officers and facilities employees undergo in-service training on fire safety and emergency response procedures.

Incident Report 

There are no fire incidents of note, personal injuries or casualties to report involving fire activity on the Hood campus. Nonetheless, all fire alarms, fire drills and related incidents are documented on Incident Reports. Copies are maintained in our fire safety log book for easy public access and inspection.

Future Improvement 

Hood College continues to upgrade and improve its fire safety systems on an as-needed basis. Planned improvements coincide with scheduled renovation, summer projects and/or new construction.