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Seton Hall University

Fire Safety Program


The University Fire Safety Program is coordinated by the Department of Public Safety. PS ensures that Fire Safety Program functions are completed and that SHU fire safety policy and procedures are reviewed and updated as needed. PS is also responsible for inspecting and maintaining fire suppression and detection/alarm systems, providing fire safety education to the University community, managing the Fire Awareness and Safety Team (FAST), and conducting fire drills.

The Department of Facilities Engineering is responsible for Fire Safety as it pertains to construction and renovation of University facilities and infra structure. Facilities Engineering is also responsible for fire prevention inspections and NJ Fire Code compliance within all University buildings.

Each division and department within the University is responsible for adhering to these guidelines as they may pertain to their area of work within the University. Training of individual staff falls under the responsibility of the Department of Public Safety Office of Emergency Management, the department/division head, and the building's Fire Awareness Safety Team (FAST) representative(s).


Seton Hall University will conform to all applicable requirements of the New Jersey Uniform Fire Code. The University requires that all members of its community strictly adhere to the fire safety procedures created to ensure the safety of its students, staff, faculty and guests.

Fire Emergency Procedures

Reporting Fires and Emergencies
Anyone in a University building that discovers a fire, or evidence of a fire (e.g. sees or smells smoke), should immediately activate the nearest fire alarm pull station and leave the building. If the fire alarm does not sound, notify occupants verbally of the emergency and the need to evacuate as you are leaving. Once out of the building call 911 and report the location of the fire. If you are outdoors and discover a fire or evidence of a fire notify the fire department by calling 911. If you do not have a cell phone call 911 by utilizing one of the University's Blue Light Emergency Phones located throughout campus.

Response to Alarms
The South Orange Fire Department responds to every activated fire alarm both on and off campus. Public Safety responds to the alarm and directs the evacuating occupants to safe assembly areas. All employees and students, including Public Safety personnel are prohibited from entering the building to search for victims or locate the source of the alarm. In addition, Public Safety ensures that the egress lanes are clear. Keys for the buildings are kept in individual Knox Boxes, which provide a set of building keys to the Fire Department.

In the event that the building in alarm is located on the Green, Public Safety shall immediately open the Old Main Gate, also known as the McNulty Gate to provide access to the fire department.

In the event the alarm occurs after 11 p.m. on a weekday or at any time on the weekend, Public Safety shall immediately open the Ward Place Gate to provide access to the fire department.

In the event of an actual fire, fire departments from the surrounding towns will most likely be responding to campus to assist the South Orange Fire Department. If a unit is available, Public Safety shall send a motorized unit to escort responding units from the gate to the area of alarm.

In the event of an actual fire or sprinkler discharge, the Public Safety dispatcher shall contact the following personnel as soon as possible. Emergency contact numbers are listed at the end of this policy. These individuals shall then contact their appropriate vice president and/or staff.

  • Public Safety & Security
    Primary Contact: Associate Director Public Safety and Security, Sergio Oliva
    Alternate Contact: Assistant Director Public Safety and Security, Barry Eck

  • Facilities Engineering
    Primary Contact: Safety Coordinator Facilities Engineering
    Alternate Contact: Director Facilities Engineering, Leon Vandemeulebroeke

Occupants must respond to every alarm as if it were a real fire. Employees, students and guests are not allowed to fight fires and should evacuate the building immediately at the sound of an alarm (see "Fire Extinguisher" section below). Evacuation should be made via the nearest safe exit. Employees and students are not allowed to alter their course of exit in order to search for or notify other occupants. Notification may only be made on the way to the closest exit.

Upon exiting the building occupants must remain outside. Under no circumstance are persons allowed to re-enter a building that is in alarm. Re-entry can only be made after an "all-clear" signal is given by the Fire Department and the fire alarm system is re-set.

Each University building has a designated assembly area listed in its building's fire safety plan. After leaving the building, occupants must go to the pre-designated assembly area and remain there. At the assembly area, supervisors shall account for their personnel and immediately report to the FAST representative any unaccounted personnel. The FAST representative shall notify the fire department.

During an emergency, students and visitors who may not be familiar with the evacuation policy and plan must be informed by the other occupants of the requirement to evacuate. Special attention by other building occupants should be given to any persons with disabilities, especially those who are visitors or unfamiliar with the building. (See "Disabled Person" below)

Building occupants must immediately report all information regarding false alarms to the Department of Public Safety and Security.

Fire Awareness and Safety Team (FAST)
A Fire Awareness Safety Team (FAST) representative and one or more Alternate FAST representatives are assigned for every building. The FAST representative is the main point of contact for occupants regarding fire safety issues. In addition the FAST representatives are responsible for assisting Public Safety in the scheduling of required fire drills.

FAST Role During Alarm Activations and Fire Emergencies

  • During a fire alarm activation FAST members must take the Fire Bag and immediately exit the building. They must not search the building for any reason but can inform occupants, along his/her evacuation route of the need to evacuate.

  • Once outside the building assists SHU Public Safety personnel in directing building evacuees to the assembly area.

  • Provides the responding SOFD supervisor with a copy of the Building Fire Plan.

  • Asks the assembled evacuees if they have any information regarding the alarm activation or fire and passes on this information to Public Safety and SOFD.

  • Attempts to account for building occupants by asking evacuees if they know anyone who has not exited the building (including any disabled persons in the facility). Uses the list of building occupants from the Building Fire Plan as a roster to help account for occupants. 

  • Informs SOFD and Public Safety of the presence and/or location of disabled persons in the facility that may require assistance.

  • Notes any problems or delays in the building evacuation for the Department of Public Safety incident report.

  • Upon notification by SOFD that it is safe for building occupants to re-enter the facility, assists Public Safety in notifying the evacuees.

Disabled Persons
Since a person with a disability may need assistance in evacuating the building, a list of those persons with mobility impairments or other disabilities that may affect their ability to evacuate shall be maintained by the Hall Director and the Fire Safety Representative and is incorporated into the Building Fire Safety Plan (a copy of which is kept in the building red fire bag). It is the obligation and responsibility of the disabled person to disclose information to the Hall Director or the Fire Safety Representative regarding their disability and any assistance they may need when evacuating the building. The list should include each person's name, disability and the location of his/her area of residence or work. A copy of the list of disabled persons will also be kept at the Public Safety Building Communications Center.

Each department head shall be responsible for ensuring that all employees are trained on the University's Fire Safety Procedures. Additional training must be provided when there are changes to the procedures. Training assistance will be available from the Department of Public Safety, Office of Emergency Management.

Fire Extinguishers
The New Jersey Uniform Fire Code requires that fire extinguishers be placed in all buildings. Extinguishers are there for use by the fire department and trained University personnel only. Employees and students may not use a fire extinguisher to fight a fire unless they have had specific training from the University and are confident in their ability to cope with the hazards of a fire. Even with the appropriate training, extinguishers may only be used to fight, small incipient-stage fires (no larger than a waste paper basket). In such cases, firefighting efforts must be terminated when it becomes obvious that there is danger of harm from smoke, heat or flames. If a fire is discovered and the alarm has not yet sounded, the closest pull station must be activated prior to any attempts to fight the fire with a fire extinguisher.

Public Safety is responsible for inspecting and maintaining the fire extinguishers on campus.

The use of fire extinguishers must conform to the following guidelines, which are specified by the OSHA standard (29 CFR 1910.157)

  1. Portable fire extinguishers suitable to the conditions and hazards involved shall be provided and maintained in an effective operating condition.

  2. Portable fire extinguishers shall be conspicuously located and mounted where they will be readily accessible. Extinguishers shall not be obstructed or obscured from view.

  3. Portable fire extinguishers shall be given maintenance service at least once a year. A contractor performs the maintenance. Public Safety maintains a written record of this service.

  4. Public Safety ensures that fire extinguishers are inspected monthly. The inspector initials a tag, affixed to the extinguisher, after each inspection. A third party contractor performs annual inspections.

  5. Employees designated to potentially extinguish a fire must receive training in the general principles of fire extinguisher use and the hazards involved with initial-stage fire fighting. Facilities Engineering provides fire extinguisher training for its designated employees. Public Safety employees, FAST representatives and CERT. members receive fire extinguisher training from Public Safety's Office of Emergency Management.

Fire Drills
Fire Drills are scheduled and conducted in accordance with the New Jersey Fire Code. The staff listed below schedules drills with the Department of Public Safety for their building. Once a date is selected for a drill, the information is transmitted by Public Safety to the Fire Department. Drills should be scheduled at the beginning of each semester. It is the responsibility of the Department of Public Safety to maintain and monitor the drill schedule and ensure that drills take place as required. The Department of Public Safety will maintain a record of the drills indicating the building, the scheduled dates and the date on which the drill actually occurred. A record of all such fire drills shall be forwarded to the local Fire Official.

Required Fire Drills

  • Residence Halls – Two drills per semester

  • Undergraduate residence halls - Scheduled by Housing and Residence Life

  • Lewis Hall - Scheduled by Vice Rector

  • St. Andrew's - Scheduled by Rector

    All drills are targeted to be complete by the 15th of December for the fall semester and the 30th of May for the spring semester.

  • All other buildings – One drill per year

  • Scheduled by the Department of Public Safety and the building's Fire Awareness Safety Team (FAST) representative.

Each drill is unannounced and is coordinated with the South Orange Fire Department. Public Safety will run the drill and record all required information on the correct form. Whenever possible the South Orange Fire Department staff will be in attendance to witness and assist with the drill.

Fire Prevention

Sprinkler and Alarm Systems
Public Safety, through a third party, is responsible for testing, inspecting and maintaining these systems in full compliance with the New Jersey Fire Code. Each test must be documented by Public Safety and kept in a binder, located in the Public Safety office, for review by the Fire Official upon his or her request. Fire alarm tests must be conducted in strict accordance with the policies of the Department of Public Safety.

At no time can anything be hung from, attached to or block a fire safety device. In addition, storage or furniture must be kept at least 18" from a sprinkler head.

Tampering with a fire safety device will result in disciplinary action and may effect a person's employment, academic or resident status at the University.

Sprinkler and Alarm System Shutdowns

From time to time the sprinkler and/or alarm system in a building may need to be shut-down. Since these are critical life safety systems, a fire watch is established by the Department of Public Safety.

Fire Watch
A fire watch is defined as an individual who has the sole responsibility to patrol a designated area, look for signs of fire or other emergencies and notify the building occupants and/or residents if there is a need to evacuate. Public Safety provides a radio to the fire watch, which they can use to communicate with dispatch, and an air horn to notify the occupants. In addition, the fire watch checks in with the dispatcher every fifteen minutes to provide an update on the status of the building. The Public Safety dispatcher notes in his/her log the time the fire watch called in and the building and areas patrolled.

Sprinkler Shutdown

  • Public Safety's Associate Direct for Safety and Security Systems or designee must authorize the shutdown of any sprinkler system.

  • Public Safety provides the appropriate paperwork and shutdown tags, which need to be filled out and kept on record in the Public Safety office. In addition, Public Safety will submit the paperwork to our property insurance carrier.

  • Public Safety notifies Facilities Engineering (FE) of any planned sprinkler shut down as well as the building manager or department head of the affected building. 

  • Public Safety notifies the fire department before and after each shutdown.

  • If deemed necessary, the fire department may require a fire watch to be placed in the affected building. Fire watch for capital construction projects will be paid for through the project. In all other situations, Public Safety and Security provides the fire watch.

Alarm System Shutdown

  • Public Safety's Associate Director for Safety and Security Systems or designee must authorize the shutdown of any fire alarm system.

  • Public Safety notifies the fire department before and after each shutdown of a fire alarm.

  • A fire watch is placed in the affected building. (One person for every two floors)

  • The fire watch is equipped with a radio for communication with Public Safety dispatch and an air horn. The fire watch for capital construction projects will be paid for through the project. In all other situations, Public Safety and Security will provide the fire watch.

  • Signs shall be posted at all doors of the building stating that the alarm system is shut-down and that a fire watch is in place.

  • In the event of a fire or other emergency, the fire watch shall activate his/her air horn three times to signal the occupants to evacuate.

  • In addition, the fire watch shall notify dispatch of the problem and request assistance.0

Fire Alarm Testing
At times during the year the Department of Public Safety may need to test a building fire alarm system. Public Safety will contact the Fire Department and notifies them of the test.

During a test, the building occupants are not required to evacuate. Therefore the test must be conducted in such a manner so as to not confuse the occupants as to the validity of an alarm. Before a test is conducted, signs must be posted at the entrance doors to the building stating the date and times for the test. In addition the sign must clearly state the following policy for the alarm test. If possible, in addition to the signs, verbal notification of the test should be made to the building occupants.

  • Prior to the test, there are two blasts of an air-horn.

  • After the air horn sounds when the fire alarm rings the occupants do not have to evacuate.

  • At the end of the test, there will be one blast of an air horn.

  • Should a fire or other situation arise during the time of the test the building occupants must evacuate. The fire alarm panel rings and three blasts of an air-horn are repeated continuously until the evacuation is complete.

Tents and Canopies
Tents or canopies erected on campus are subject to the provisions of the New Jersey Fire Code and require a fire safety inspection and the issuance of a fire safety permit prior to their use.

Fire safety permits must be obtained prior to erecting a tent or canopy. The group that is planning to use a tent or canopy must contact the Department of Public Safety & Security Office of Emergency Management at least one month prior to erecting the shelter, or as soon as the decision to erect the shelter is made.

Public Safety will assist in obtaining the required fire safety permits from the South Orange Fire Department (SOFD) and in arranging required inspections by the SOFD. A copy of the fire permit is held by the Department of Public Safety Office of Emergency Management and a copy is kept on record by the requesting department. The SHU department planning to erect the tent or canopy is responsible for all fees associated with the issuance of the fire safety permit.

Public Safety & Security will ensure that the required fire extinguishers are placed inside the erected tents or canopies prior to the fire safety inspection.

Security Screens
The Office of Housing and Residence Life inspects each security screen at least once a semester to ensure that it can be opened from the inside of the building in the event of a fire. Any issues that need to be corrected should be sent to Facilities Engineering via the work order system.

Proper housekeeping, including the prompt removal of waste and other unnecessary combustible materials, helps to prevent or reduce the severity of fires. Excess garbage or materials that contribute to an increased fire load or that impede egress cannot accumulate in a work or living space. If either an in-house inspector or the Fire Inspector from South Orange discovers such conditions the occupant or person(s) responsible will have 30 days to correct the situation. If within this time period the material is not properly relocated, Facilities Engineering shall remove and discard the material. The occupant or associated department is responsible for all costs associated with the removal.

Holiday Decorations
The New Jersey Fire Code prohibits the following items anywhere on campus unless specifically inspected and approved. Approvals are granted through the Department of Public Safety in conjunction with Facility Engineering Safety Coordinator (for Fire Code compliance) and the Facilities Engineering Director (for issues regarding electrical power).

  • Live trees or wreaths (indoors)

  • Holiday lights

  • Decorations that block an exit or fire safety device

  • Decorations that may hinder a safe, quick exit from a building

  • Decorations hung from the ceiling that may fall and hinder evacuation

  • Candles (with the exception of candles used during religious services in chapels)

Prohibited Items and Activities
Space Heaters - Only space heaters issued by the Department of Facilities Engineering are permitted in SHU facilities. Requests for space heaters must be directed to Facilities Engineering.

The following items and activities are prohibited on campus unless specifically approved by the Department of Public Safety.

  • Small appliances such as broilers, skillets, woks, sandwich makers, Panini grills, deep fryers, toaster ovens, and toasters.

    Exception: (coffee makers, refrigerators [not larger than 2CF and 3 amps] and microwaves, under 600 watts, are allowed)

  • Hot plates and any open coil appliances

  • Multiple bulb lamps with plastic shades

  • Halogen Lamps

  • Candles or any other type of open flame

    Exception: Candles used in a chapel or for priest community religious purposes are allowed.

  • Extension cords (Only power strips with a circuit breaker are allowed)

  • Multiple plug adaptors

  • International converters plugged into a surge protector or multiple adaptor (converters must be plugged directly to a wall outlet)

  • Smoking in all University buildings (Gerety Hall and other private residence are excluded)

  • Parking in a fire lane or fire zone

  • Heating trays with open flames whether indoors or outdoors must be attended by a qualified University employee trained in the use of fire extinguishers and canned heat sources.

Furniture Requirements

  • Residence Halls: (Boland, Aquinas, Cabrini, Serra, Neuman, Xavier, Ora Manor, St. Andrews, Turrel Manor, and Lewis Hall)

    Furniture must meet the requirements of Cal Tech 133. Mattresses must meet the requirements of Cal Tech 117. Residents may not bring in any type of upholstered furniture that does not meet this standard.

  • Gerety Hall

    It is strongly encouraged that only furniture that meets Cal Tech 133 be allowed in the building. Due to the nature of the occupants, some flexibility in furniture selection is allowed. All mattresses must conform with Cal Tech 117.

  • Academic and Administrative Buildings:

    It is strongly encouraged that only furniture that meets Cal Tech 133 be allowed in the building. Consult the Procurement Office when ordering furniture.

Hot Work Permits
Facilities Engineering is responsible for the hot work program for the University. A hot work permit is required for any work that uses an open flame device, high heat producing device, or operation that produces sparks, anywhere on campus. Hot work permits shall be issued through the Facilities Engineering Department. Unless the work is done to remedy some type of emergency, two days notice shall be provided. The South Orange Fire Official must also issue a hot work permit for hot work on roofs.

Public Safety & Security must be notified any time a hot work permit is issued. Public Safety & Security coordinates any required fire alarm or suppression shutdowns as well as any fire watch required by the permit.

Fire Inspections

Building Inspections
The South Orange Fire Department (SOFD) is responsible for inspecting all buildings on campus at least once a year in accordance with the New Jersey Fire Code. A Facilities Engineering representative shall accompany the inspector during both initial and follow-up inspections. In addition Facilities Engineering will receive reports of all violations and log them into the fire inspection database.

Building managers and department heads are the main contact points for fire prevention inspections performed by the SOFD or Facilities Engineering and they are responsible for the abatement of any occupant related fire violations found during these inspections.

Each violation must be abated within the listed number of days on the violation. Violations that pose an imminent hazard to the building occupants as determined by the fire inspector must be corrected immediately.

In the event that a violation is not abated and a fine is issued, the department responsible for the space will be responsible for the fine.

Should a violation require more than the listed number of days to correct, an extension from the South Orange Fire Official may be requested. Requests for extensions may only be made through Facilities Engineering.

Fire Escape Inspections
All fire escapes and exterior staircases are included in the annual fire inspection completed by the SOFD. The inspection will ensure that the fire escapes are working properly and exterior staircases are properly maintained. If necessary, the SOFD will request that the University have the fire escape inspected by a qualified outside contractor. Any issues that need to be corrected shall be completed by Facilities Engineering. All inspections and repairs must be documented and kept in the Facilities Engineering Annual Fire Inspection Binder.

Special Events

Fire Safety Planning for Special Events
At certain times during the course of the year, special events may be held either on or off campus that require added fire safety related attention due to potential fire hazards or the presence of large numbers of persons not familiar with SHU facility fire emergency procedures. For the purposes of this document, special events are defined as those special non-contiguous events (i.e., first day only of multiple day events with same attendees) that involve (1) more than fifty attendees in non-classroom settings or (2) those involving more than fifty non-University affiliated visitors or guests on campus in any setting.

  • During the planning and or scheduling phase, the department sponsoring the special event must make SHU Public Safety and Security (PS) and Facilities Engineering (FE) aware of their plans. 

  • Information such as the type of event, number of guests (including the number of non-University affiliated persons), room set-up, any special hazards such as cooking, use of electrical equipment, or other conditions or requirements should be communicated with PS.

  • PS will review the event plans and site in conjunction with the Facilities Engineering Safety Coordinator to determine if any special fire safety precautions must be considered and for fire code compliance. Facilities Engineering will also determine the need for any special utility requirements.

  • PS will then notify the SOFD of the event and review the event plans with the designated Fire Official. The SOFD will make a physical site inspection if they feel it is necessary. The SOFD will make the final determination of required plan modifications and actions that must be taken prior and during the event to help ensure fire safety. These may include, but are not limited to: building occupancy restrictions, need for fire extinguishers, removal of flammable materials, restrictions on certain activities, ensuring the visibility of fire exits, changes in event site layout, etc.

  • Any event in which the fire alarm annunciators are turned off will require the presence of an SOFD fire official to monitor the fire detection system control panel.

Fire Safety Announcements at Special Events
At the time of a special non-contiguous event involving (1) fifty or more attendees in an indoor non-classroom setting or (2) fifty or more attendees not affiliated with the University in any indoor setting, a representative of the sponsoring department shall address the group and review the following 10 minutes prior to either the presentation or the activity taking place:

  1. State to the group:

    "Upon activation of a fire alarm immediate evacuation from the building through the nearest safe fire exit is required"

  2. Review with the group the location of the nearest exit(s) or stairwell(s).

  3. State to the group:

    "The use of the elevators is prohibited during an alarm."

  4. State to the group:

    "Once outside the building, everyone must proceed to the assembly area and wait there until an "all-clear" is given by the Fire Department."

  5. Review with the group the location of the assembly area for the building evacuees.

    (NOTE: the assembly area location must be a minimum of 150 feet from the building in a location that will not interfere with firefighting access and operations)

Fire Safety Contact Numbers
Associate Director for Public Safety and Security: Sergio Oliva
Office: (973) 275-2814

Assistant Director for Public Safety and Security: Barry Eck
Office: (973) 275-2537

Safety Coordinator Facilities Engineering Office
Director Facilities Engineering: Leon Vandemeulebroeke
Office: (973) 761-9454

Effective Date

March 30, 2011