On Campus

Know the following

  • Who to contact: If the event of a fire, immediately contact the Department of Public Safety (DPS), use the DPS email address, or dial 911 to report the incident.
  • Closest emergency exit: Count the number of doors on your floor to the closest emergency exit. Imagine, if you were crawling on the ground, how many doors you would need to pass until reaching the exit door. Know alternate exit routes just in case one is blocked. The reality is you will not be able to stand up in the event of a fire.
  • Smoke alarm: Look around your room or office to learn where your smoke alarm and fire alarm light is located.
  • No Smoking: That includes trying to sneak one by a window, in your room or office. Fires from smoking-related products are the cause of many fires.
  • Reduce the number of posters and papers on your wall: They allow vertical fires to spread rapidly.
  • Minimize extension cords: Use power strips and extension cords with UL approval only. No hiding extension cords under rugs.
  • Practice fire drills: Yes, they do interrupt your sleep or work, but they may save your life in the event of an emergency.
  • Fire extinguishers: Know where the fire extinguishers are located on your floor, wing, or office. Do not use these safety tools as toys.

Off Campus

According to the District of Columbia Fire Prevention Division (Informational Bulletin, 2008-3), apartments and houses all must comply with applicable fire codes. The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs is responsible for the issuance of a business license and occupancy permit for rental housing. Make sure your residence is a licensed dwelling. A licensed dwelling is inspected to insure compliance with codes.

Know the following

  • Who to contact: In the event of a fire, immediately dial 911 and report it.
  • Smoke alarms: Make sure there are working smoke alarms in all sleeping areas and hallways, stairwells etc. If the dwelling does not have any smoke alarms, contact the Office of the Fire Marshal to report missing alarms or any other fire code violation.
  • Flashing smoke alarms for D.C. residents: The DC Fire and EMS Department will provide free flashing smoke detectors for the homes of city residents. Request smoke alarms online on the DCFEMS website.
  • Know two ways out of every room: Make sure all windows will open. If bars are installed on the windows, they must be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool or force greater than that required to normally operate the window.
  • Have and practice an escape plan: Make sure all occupants understand. Have a common meeting point outside the dwelling. Don’t re-enter the building once you have left.
  • If the dwelling utilizes fossil-burning fuels, a carbon monoxide detector should be installed to detect any carbon monoxide leaks.
  • Keep candles away from flammable items and never leave one burning unattended.
  • Don’t overload extension cords: Only use UL-approved extension cords and power strips. Don’t daisy-chain multiple power strips.
  • Keep a UL-listed multipurpose fire extinguisher in the home: In an apartment, an extinguisher should be mounted in a cabinet or mounted on the wall in the hallway. Make sure the extinguisher is in date and fully charged.
  • If you use a space heater, make sure it is UL-approved and does not operate too close to combustible items including bedding and clothing. Kerosene heaters are illegal to use in the District of Columbia.
  • If you smoke, make sure all cigarettes are placed into ashtrays. Before dumping ashtrays, pour a small amount of water to cover all smoking materials.
  • If your dwelling has a fireplace, make sure all ashes are cleaned and place in approved containers. Never put ashes in paper bags or dispose of close to dwellings.

Additional Resources

Public Safety Resources and Tips

Check out the various resources collected by the Department of Public Safety.

Public Safety

Resource Type: Safety & Preparedness

Contact Us

Public Safety

Carlin Hall Basement

(202) 651-5445

(202) 651-5555

12:00 am-12:00 am
12:00 am-12:00 am
12:00 am-12:00 am
12:00 am-12:00 am
12:00 am-12:00 am

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