Fire Safety and Decoration Policies
University of Virginia Housing & Residence Life is truly committed to your safety. With so many students living in such close proximity within our residence houses, each and every resident plays an important role in fire prevention. The following policies are designed to aid in fire prevention and protect the safety of all residents.
In addition to the information on this page, the University Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) can assist in answering questions if you contact the University Fire Marshal at firstname.lastname@example.org. EHS will also perform courtesy inspections upon request.
All residence areas have been designated as smoke-free facilities. Smoking is not allowed within any part of residence areas or within 25 feet of the buildings, including exterior balconies, stairways, steps and entranceways.
- Curtains, draperies, hangings, and other decorative materials suspended
from walls or ceilings are prohibited. Windows are furnished with compliant
blinds or shades.
- Total wall space covered by combustible material (material capable of
being easily ignited, such as posters, corkboards or calendars) must be less
than 10%. Any additional combustible material on the walls must be framed
under glass or acrylic/Plexiglas.
- No metal tacks, fasteners, screws or nails. We recommend Scotch® Mounting Putty or Command strips, as these products will likely not remove paint or cause damage to walls. Do not remove the Command strips at the end of the year; these will be removed by Facilities Management staff. Please test the putty product on one area of your wall before using in multiple areas. You can be held financially responsible for any damages made to your wall.
- No paper lanterns unless there are no bulbs in them. Lanterns may not be suspended from walls or ceilings.
- Nothing may be suspended or attached to the ceiling, or stored close to sprinkler heads where applicable.
- Items may not be attached to or suspended from the heat system pipes.
- Only three (3) strands of decorative lights can be strung together. Anything more than that is not permissible.
- No over the door shoe racks, towel racks, mirrors, or other hanging devices on doors.
- No door mats or area rugs in hallways.
- Furniture and personal belongings cannot touch, or be stacked against or in front of, radiator units.
- Power strips and surge protectors (including bed risers with built-in power
extenders) must have a UL rating and be fused with a reset switch. Fused power
strips may not be used in series to create a longer cord.
- No extension cords.
- All electrical cords must be out of the way of foot traffic. No electrical
cords across the middle of the floors, hallways, doorways, etc.
- Do not place any electrical cords underneath area rugs or clothing. Only
Ethernet (computer network) and coaxial (TV) cables can be placed under rugs,
or taped down with duct tape to keep people from tripping over them.
- No halogen lamps or octopus lamps.
- No open flame or open burner appliances of any kind. This includes George
Forman type grills, toasters and toaster ovens, and space heaters. (Toasters are allowed in Graduate & Faculty/Staff Housing only)
- Each room may have one microwave no
greater than 1200 watts and one or two small refrigerator(s) not exceeding 5.0
cubic feet total capacity. Alternatively, a microfridge with a power allocator
that allows only one appliance to run at a time or an outlet strip with surge
protection is permissible. Compliant microfridges and surge suppressors can be
Cavalier Computers at the U.Va. Bookstore.
- The following appliances are approved for use in residence halls:
- television sets
- popcorn poppers
- rice cookers
- hot water kettles or coffee makers (1 per room)
- hair dryers
- electrical curling irons/heating curlers with enclosed heating coil
- computer equipment
- sound system entertainment
- lamps (except those prohibited above)
- Doors must be able to open all the way. Do not place furniture, clothing,
or any object behind doors that will prevent them from opening all the way.
- Trash and/or boxes are not to be placed in the hallways, stairwells, or
lounge areas. Trash must be disposed of immediately.
- The recycle bins are not to be placed in the hallway. As with anything
else in the hallways, this is an obstruction to the means of egress.
- No shoes, clothing, gym bags, furniture, etc. blocking egress.
- No storage on stairwell landings or under stairwells.
- No bicycles in suites, apartments, hallways, stairwells or study lounges. Bicycles may be stored in student bedrooms as long as the means of egress is maintained.
- No occupant or visitor will be permitted to collect and/or
assemble material, which would constitute a fire hazard
anywhere within the residence area. This includes excess trash, clutter
or combustibles on the floor.
- No occupant or visitor will be allowed to kindle any type of fire
within the residence area other than a match or lighter for the
purpose of lighting a grill or to light a fireplace on the Lawn
- Prior to fireplace use, residents must attend fireplace training.
Training dates and times will be distributed through resident
- No lighter fluid, gasoline, propane, or other flammable liquids.
- Possession of candles and incense is prohibited in the residence halls.
Residents living in rooms with battery operated smoke detectors
must perform a weekly test. Every Tuesday has been designated
"Test Tuesday" to manually test these detectors.
Housing & Residence Life provides visual smoke detectors for the hearing impaired. If you require one, notify the Facilities Service Desk.
Altering or tampering with heating, electrical and fire safety devices or systems is prohibited, including but not limited to smoke detectors, fire alarm systems and fire extinguishers.
The State Fire Marshal inspects each residential area annually for fire code violations. Any area found to be in violation shall be re-inspected, and any resident still in violation of code or Housing & Residence Life regulations is subject to judicial action and possible removal from University housing. Residents will receive e-mail notification when the inspections will occur. Residents of spaces found in violation will receive notice via e-mail of the violation, as well as a follow-up from a resident staff member. Spaces in violation will be re-inspected until the violation is corrected.
Multiple re-inspections or cases of extreme violations may be required to pay restitution, and may also be subject to judicial action up to and including removal from University housing. Any monies collected will be placed in a fund to support fire safety-related education within the residence halls at the University of Virginia.
In the event a resident fails to remove articles considered to impose immediate hazards or serious threat to life or property, they will be removed and stored. Residents may retrieve items that have been removed by contacting the Facilities Service Desk.