Fire Safety and Prohibited Items

Residential housing is subject to mandated life safety codes by New York State and the NYS Office of Fire Preventing and Control (OFPC). The College is required to support these expectations to protect our students and community and thus have developed policies and procedures to comply with State expectations. For more information you can visit the Environmental Health and Safety page.


Prohibited actions include tampering with the fire alarm system (i.e., covering smoke detector), hanging items from the alarm or sprinkler system, not leaving the building during an alarm, and egress (items blocking paths or exits in hallways or rooms - this can include shoes in the hall, not being able to open a bedroom door all the way, or a large table or couch in the middle of a room that would prevent someone from easily getting through).


There are a number of items that are not allowed in the residence halls due to fire safety guidelines. The New York State Fire Inspector/Marshal, along with Geneseo's Environmental Health and Safety Office decide on these items for the most part. There are some items that are prohibited based on Residence Life guidelines for reasons other than Fire Safety. Note this list is in addition to all items prohibited in the Code of Conduct (i.e. weapons, false identification, etc.).

Candles: Or anything with an open flame or that burns (such as incense) including wax melters/warmers (electric warmers are allowed, ones using a candle are not). Even unburnt candles cannot be possessed in the residence halls. There are special accommodations for religious candle use that can be found in EHS's Open Flame Policy.

Cooking appliances: George Foreman grills or any cooking appliances with induction cook tops, toasters, grills, hot plates, crock pots, electric skillets, broiling microwaves, and similar items. No cooking (except microwaves as part of a microfridge) can occur in bedrooms. Apartment units with kitchens may allow additional appliances so please check with your RD. Microwaves, fridges, and electric kettles or coffee pots with no open hot element and an automatic shutoff are allowed in bedrooms and common areas. Note Keurig Machines are prohibited in Monroe.

Cords: Cannot hang from ceilings, be affixed to walls, run across corridors or doorways, or be under floor coverings (i.e. rugs).

Cut trees or plants: Such as cut holiday trees or wreaths—dried/dead plants increase the fire load of the hall significantly and are very combustible. These items are prohibited.

Curtains/drapes: Are prohibited.

Decorations: Must cover less than 20% of the wall and 50% of the door (front and back). No decorations can touch or hang from the ceiling or any fire equipment (sprinkler, alarm, detector, etc.) at any time. 

Fire Line: No items can be placed over the fire line/tack board including decor. In rooms with closets that do not go all the way to the ceiling, nothing can be stored above those closets. All personal items must be 18 inches away from any sprinkler head.

Flags or Fabric on Walls: No large fabric can hang from the walls. This includes tapestries. You can hang flags or Jerseys in glass frames.

Flammable/Combustible Materials: The following are not allowed in any rooms, suites, and townhouses:

  • All flammable materials (gas, lighter fluid, charcoal, propane, solvents, etc.)
  • All items powered by combustible fuels (i.e., motorcycles)
  • All fireworks, explosives, etc.
  • All corrosive (or poisonous) chemicals and hazardous materials

Halogen Bulbs/Lights: Are prohibited.

Non-UL Approved Electronics/Appliances: All electronics and appliances must be UL approved. This does not include items that say "UL compliant" or UL equivalent. Most appliances we see in the halls are UL approved however many surge protectors are not.

Space Heater/Air Conditioner: These items are only allowed with an approved accommodation.

Any electrical outlet that is not a surge protector: No multi-plug adapters, power tap, extension cords.

While looking at a surge protector, it must have the following:

  • On/off switch
  • Able to be reset (usually a button or part of the on/off switch)
  • Must be UL approved

Additionally surge protectors cannot be plugged into each other; this is called "daisy chaining".

Always double check items such as these, many are not UL approved and sometimes they are not even surge protected (no reset button).

Common Items with Restrictions

Some common items that may have restrictions:

  • Heating Pads/Blankets: are allowed as long as they have an automatic shutoff
  • Humidifiers: are allowed if they are UL approved and have an automatic shutoff
  • Personal Furniture: must not violate egress (block exits or clear path through the room/unit)
  • Pets: Possession of pets other than fish are not permitted in the residence halls. Fish bowls and aquariums, less than 10 gallons in capacity are permitted for fish only. Fish cannot be left in a room over breaks where the residence halls close.
  • Refrigerator and Microwave: students may bring small refrigerators (2.0 amps at 120 volts AC/3.6 cubic feet) or a microfridge (combination microwave and fridge) however they must be plugged directly into the wall and not into a surge protector due to their higher wattage. Stand alone microwaves are not allowed.
  • String Lights*: are allowed as long as:
    • No more than 3 strands are plugged into each other
    • They are not LED strip lights (these cause significant wall damage) 
    • Do not block doors, be hung from the ceiling, around banisters, or otherwise violate other policies