A Holiday Message From Your Fire Safety Team

Dear Members of the Columbia Community:

Facilities and Operations wishes you a happy and healthy holiday season. As you celebrate, please remember these safe practices when decorating for the holidays:

• Natural holiday wreaths and trees, both live and cut, are prohibited from all indoor academic buildings, undergraduate residential buildings as well as public areas in graduate and faculty apartment housing.
• You may decorate your artificial trees, but be sure to follow the manufacturer's warnings regarding the use of electric lights. Do not string lights on metal trees.
• Unplug or turn off decorative lights at night and when the area is unoccupied. Only low-temperature mini-lights are permitted, and they must be UL approved.
• With very few exceptions, candles, oil lamps, incense, and other flame-producing items are strictly prohibited throughout the campus.
• Don't place trees or other decorations in exit corridors, and never block emergency egress from any room.
• Securing decorations to fire sprinklers, smoke detectors, or other fire equipment is prohibited. It could hamper the equipment's operation or inadvertently set off an alarm.
• As always, be sure not to block fire equipment, such as fire extinguishers and fire alarm pull stations.
• We discourage the use of extension cords. If you must use them, make sure that they bear the UL-approved label and that they are of adequate wire gauge. Don't use frayed or broken cords. Remember to unplug extension cords before you leave for an extended period.
• Don't run electrical cords across work surfaces or under rugs. Keep them out of the way, so they do not become a tripping hazard.
• Please remove all decorations before leaving campus for the holidays.

If a fire should occur, remember RACE:
Rescue/alert everyone in area of fire.
Activate the building fire alarm. Report the fire by calling Public Safety and the FDNY (911)
Close doors as you leave.
Evacuate the area or floor of fire origin.
For more information on holiday fire safety, please visit www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/pdf/safety/fire_safety_education/2014/winter_fire_safety_english.pdf.

Happy Holidays!


John LaPerche
Director of Fire Safety