The goal of the Fire Safety Program is to provide a safe environment in university facilities through fire prevention and fire protection systems. This is accomplished through fire prevention education, fire extinguisher and fire evacuation training, fire hazard analysis, fire and life safety inspections, fire protection system testing, and fire system acceptance/reacceptance tests. 

Fire drills are conducted in residential buildings every semester in accordance with the New York State Fire Code. During the first 2 weeks of each semester fire drills will be conducted to familiarize students with egress procedures and routes. Every time the fire alarm activates in a building a complete evacuation check is conducted and students should leave the building immediately.

The campus is also inspected for code compliance twice a year by 2 separate agencies. The New York State Fire inspection is conducted in the fall semester (typically in October) and the Village of Hamilton Codes inspection is conducted in the spring (typically in March). These inspections include physical checks of all buildings on campus and a representative number of student rooms. Email notification of these inspections is sent out prior.  Prohibited items in student rooms are included in these inspections and can be cited by outside agencies.

Prohibited items can be found in the 2022-2023 Student Handbook and include:

  • Candles (even for decoration and unlit), incense, potpourri or oil burners, halogen lamps, and neon signs. Students wishing to use candles as part of religious observance should contact the Office of Residential Life for approved designated locations for candle use.
  • Flammable liquids (including, but not limited to, turpentine, paint, gasoline, propane, kerosene, charcoal lighter fluid, ether, or butane) or equipment that uses combustible fuel (e.g., butane/fueled torches, motorcycles, mopeds).
  • Gas or charcoal grills, including on decks and porches. Students may instead use the installed outdoor grills located throughout the residential areas.
  • Extension cords without an installed circuit breaker/protection device.
  • Natural holiday trees and garland (including for decorative purposes during the holidays). UL-approved lights may be used for decorative purposes. Nothing may be placed or located at the bottom of a stairwell, in an egress, or within 25 feet of an exit.
  • Students may not decorate their rooms with combustible materials (e.g. tapestries.). Fiberglass or other fire-resistant hangings are acceptable if hung from picture molding. No items may be affixed to, installed in, or suspended from the ceiling or exposed pipes in any student rooms.

Annual Fire Safety Report and Written Notification

The Higher Education Opportunity Act requires colleges and universities to publish an Annual Fire Safety Report that is available for public access.  

The Kerry Rose Sprinkler System Notification Act requires New York State colleges to provide written notification (2022 Residential Hall Fire Alarm and Sprinkler Systems Notification) on the fire safety systems, including sprinklers systems, to all students residing in college owned or college operated housing.

Fire Extinguishers

Portable fire extinguishers are located throughout the university and are available for use by trained personnel. Fire Safety offers fire extinguisher training upon request. Further information about fire extinguishers on campus can be found on the Fire Extinguisher Information Sheet.

Hot Work Program

Colgate has established a Hot Work Program to minimize the potential for a fire incident due to hot work on campus and to comply with federal and state standards.

Outdoor Fire Permit Request

All outdoor fires on Colgate University property require a permit issued by the Hamilton Fire Department in coordination with Fire Safety. This form must be submitted at least 3 business days prior to the event. 

Request an Outdoor Fire Permit


Tent Permit Request Form

All permits for tents to be used on Colgate University property must be obtained through Emergency Management. Requests must be submitted at least 7 business days prior to the event.

Request a Tent Permit


Mock fire during fire safety week

Fire Safety Week

During Fire Safety Week, Fire Safety staff and Campus Safety hold a mock dorm fire in the upper quad. Students are also taught how to use fire extinguishers with a Bullex extinguisher training system.

Fire Safety Plan


  1. Procedures for reporting a fire or other emergency 
  2. Underlying evacuation strategy and means of implementation
  3. Identification of those responsible for maintenance of various fire protection systems
  4. Identification of those responsible for the safekeeping of any fuel sources on the premises
  5. Provisions for delivery of an announcement within 10 minutes of a public gathering or performance as to appropriate emergency exiting procedures

1. Procedures for Reporting a Fire or Other Emergency

If you believe there is a fire emergency (defined below) please do the following:

  1. Pull the nearest fire alarm pull station to activate the alarm.
  2. Evacuate the building immediately.
  3. Call Campus Safety and Fire Department at (315) 228-7911 if using a cell phone and 911 if using a campus phone, (information as to what caused the alarm or the location of the emergency will be useful to responding personnel).
  4. Cooperate with Campus Safety and Firefighters with crowd control.

When you call the Campus Safety Department and/or the Fire Department:

  1. Be sure to inform the dispatcher if you or others have actually seen a fire or smelled smoke.
  2. Whenever possible, remain available to direct firefighters or University officials to the scene.

Important reminders:

  1. University fire alarms are not directly connected to the Fire Department.
  2. You must EVACUATE the building whenever a fire alarm is activated (see evacuation procedures in the next section).
  3. The sending of false fire alarms undermines fire safety and is a hazard to firefighters and occupants. Individuals sending false alarms are subject to state criminal penalties and will also be referred for disciplinary action. Violators may be suspended or expelled.

Fire emergency, defined:

  • A fire emergency exists when, but not limited to, the following conditions occur:
  • A building fire alarm is sounding.
  • There is presence of smoke, or an odor of burning.
  • An uncontrolled fire or imminent fire hazard occurs in any building or area of the campus.
  • There is a spontaneous or abnormal heating of any material, or uncontrolled release of combustible or toxic gas or other material, or a flammable liquid spill.

2. Underlying Evacuation Strategy and Means of Implementation

Once a fire alarm is activated:

  1. The buildings fire alarm system will make a sounding tone accompanied by flashing lights indicating an alarm.
  2. Campus Safety will notify the Hamilton Fire Department by calling Madison County 911 Center.
  3. Campus Safety will then respond to the building and the compromised area indicated by the fire alarm panel and/or the fire alarm annunciator panel.
  4. Once Campus Safety has determined the cause of the activation they will either have the fire department continue their response in case of a fire emergency, or cancel the fire department if no emergency is present.
  5. Campus Safety will then search the building to ensure all proper evacuations had been made. Note: remaining in a building while the fire alarm is activated is a citable offense and disciplinary actions will be applied by the University.

When a fire alarm is sounding all occupants will:

  1. Shut down any experiments or procedures that should not be left unattended.
  2. Evacuate the building immediately and in an orderly manner using the nearest identified fire exit. The last occupant to leave a room should close the door behind them that leads into the corridor. No person shall remain in any building while the fire alarm is sounding.
  3. Never use the elevators, in most University buildings, elevators are automatically recalled to the ground floor upon the activation of the building’s fire alarm system.
  4. Once outside the building remain at a safe location at least 500 feet away from the building so that the building exits are not blocked. Also, do not obstruct emergency fire lanes to the building and remain outside until you are told to re-enter by Campus Safety and/or the Fire Department.

If there is a fire:

  1. Stay low to the floor and exit the building as quickly and safely as possible.
  2. Cover your nose and mouth with a wet cloth.
  3. When you approach a closed door, use the back of your hand to see if the door is hot.
    1. If the door is not hot, open slowly to ensure fire and/or smoke is not blocking your escape route. If your escape route is blocked, use you secondary egress route. Remember smoke and heat rise, stay low to the ground as the air is cleaner and cooler.
    2. If the door is hot, do not open it. Use your secondary egress route or if it is safe to do so escape from a window. If you cannot escape, hang a white or light colored sheet outside the window, alerting Campus Safety and/or the Fire Department of your location.

Occupants requiring assistance:

  1. Occupants requiring assistance should proceed to the nearest stairway and request assistance from other evacuees. Do not obstruct the door leading to the stairway. If the location becomes unsafe, move to an uncompromised stairway and call for help until rescued.
  2. Occupants with disabilities should prepare for emergencies in advance by learning the locations of exit corridors and exit stairways, by planning an escape route, and showing a classmate, co-worker, or instructor how to assist him/her in case of an emergency. Occupants with speech impairment should carry a whistle or have other means of attracting attention. All exit corridors and stairways are marked with lighted signs and are protected with self-closing fire doors. These are the safest areas during an emergency. Campus Safety and/or Fire Department personnel will check all exit stairways during the evacuation process, for trapped persons.

Ways to help occupants who require assistance:

  1. Become familiar with the occupants who require assistance in your area.
  2. Inform hearing impaired/ deaf persons when a fire alarm is sounding.
  3. Assist visually impaired/blind persons to an exit stairway or door.
  4. Inform Campus Safety and/or Fire Department of disabled persons located inside the building that they were unable to evacuate safely.
  5. In the extreme case where you must physically evacuate a disabled person, you should ask that person how to safely carry or assist him or her.

3. Identification of Those Responsible for the Maintenance of Various Fire Safety Protection Systems

Colgate University Fire Safety responsibilities:

  • Oversight of Fire Alarm and Sprinkler System testing working with outside contractors and coordinating repairs.
  • Ensures that information is provided for students, staff and faculty on fire evacuation procedures.
  • Fire hydrant testing on an annual basis.
  • Keltron Fire Alarm reporting system maintenance.
  • Emergency light monthly testing.
  • Semi-annual ANSUL (kitchen hood), Pre-Action Systems, and Fuel Island suppression systems inspection and testing.
  • Provide organized fire safety training sessions as required and/or requested.
  • Fire extinguisher inspections and maintenance throughout the campus to ensure that extinguishers are in the proper place and are in working order.
  • Hot Work permitting.
  • Tent permitting.

Colgate University Physical Plant Plumbing Shop responsibilities:

  • Responsible for all sprinkler system maintenance and repairs on campus.
  • At times will outsource major repairs or new construction projects if the task is too great for in house trade.

Colgate University Physical Plant Electric Shop responsibilities:

  • Responsible for all fire alarm systems maintenance and repairs on campus.
  • Responsible for the maintenance of all fire detection devices on campus.
  • Responsible for maintenance of all temporary battery operated fire detection devices on campus and testing thereof on monthly intervals.
  • Responsible for the maintenance of all emergency lighting devices and testing thereof on campus.
  • At time will outsource major repairs or new construction projects if the task is too great for in house trade.

Colgate University Campus Safety Department responsibilities:

  • Responsible for ensuring that emergency evacuation drills are carried out in every building in a frequency to comply with the New York State Fire Code.
  • Provide alternate measures for life safety during any shutdown of fire protection equipment. Note: During the shutdown of fire protection equipment the Campus Safety department staffs the building with an officer specifically assigned to a fire watch detail.

Custodial Staff responsibilities:

  • Responsible for promptly removing all combustible waste from areas where waste is placed for disposal.

All students, staff and faculty member’s responsibilities:

  • Keep all fire doors closed, including but not limited to laundry room doors, doors leading to stairways, and doors leading to exit corridors at all times.
  • Keep stairways, landings, hallways, passageways and exits (inside and outside) clear of obstruction at all time.
  • Do not permit combustible materials to accumulate in any part of a stairway, fire escape or other means of egress or elevator or ventilation shaft.
  • Do not permit combustible waste materials to accumulate in quantities or locations where they will create fire hazards.
  • Keep access roadways, fire routes and fire hydrants clear and accessible for fire department use.

4. Identification of Those Responsible for the Safekeeping of Any Fuel Sources on the Premises

The Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) Office is responsible for chemicals on campus. The EH&S office along with Facilities over sees the operations of all fuel sources on campus. Campus Safety also subcontracts REM fire solutions for semi-annual inspections of the fire suppression systems.

Contact numbers:

  • Fire Safety: 315-228-6531
  • Environmental Health and Services: 315-228-7994
  • Facilities 315-228-7131
  • Campus Safety: 315-228-7333
  • Electric Shop: 315-228-7140
  • Plumbing Shop: 315-228-7139
  • Preventive Maintenance (Building and Grounds after hours): 315-228-7468

5. Provisions for Delivery of an Announcement within 10 Minutes of a Public Gathering or Performance as to Appropriate Emergency Exiting Procedures

When an event is held in an area where the occupant load exceeds 50 people the facilitator, instructor, speaker, stage manager, and/or any other person “in charge” of the event shall announce the following items 10 minutes prior to said scheduled event, for the purposes of life safety, restriction of any amount of property damage, and limiting the effect an emergency will have on said event:

  1. Identify where the emergency exits are located and that they should be used in a safe and orderly fashion if an emergency should occur.
  2. Indicate the location of pull stations that can be used if an emergency is identified.
  3. Indicate that once the building is evacuated to meet in a safe location at least 100 feet from the building and in a location that is not blocking fire lanes so that emergency vehicles can respond.

Also prior to the event, the facilitator, instructor, stage manager, and/or other person “in charge” will (if applicable) designate responsibilities to him/herself or assisting staff:

  1. Shut down any critical operations and/or equipment and systems that could cause an emergency situation to worsen, before evacuating the building.
  2. Notify ushers of their responsibilities to get the public out of the building safely during an emergency situation by strategically placing themselves in an area to help direct the public to the emergency exits.