Fire and Life Safety Guidelines

All University-owned housing has fire and life safety equipment. It is there to protect you and your neighbors. The only way it can work is if you leave it alone and report any problems to Physical Plant Customer Service at 860-685-3400 or

In the event of a fire alarm activation, you must evacuate the building by the closest exit and call 911 or Public Safety (860) 685-3333 or x3333 from a campus phone, to report the details of the incident.

Do not cover, or in any way tamper with smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, pull stations, horn/strobe devices, sprinkler heads or pipes, or fire extinguishers. There will be points issued for tampering with any fire life safety equipment and for possession of explosives, ammunition, incendiary devices and fireworks. Due to the laws in the State of Connecticut other actions may be required.

The University has a range of sanctions of graduated severity to deal with infractions of varying seriousness. The total range of points goes from 1 to 10. Regulations 8, 9a-f, & 15C.

The following items are NOT allowed in resident rooms or common areas, including porches, because of the fire and life safety risk: (Click on words below for more detailed definitions)

  • Candles

    Candles are defined as anything made of wax or any other substance that has a wick (or something that sustains a flame). Even decorative candles are prohibited. There are three main types:

    1. White wick, unburned, never used – this type includes candles the owner may display for sentimental reasons, to enhance the smell of the student room, or has received as a gift from someone not familiar with Wesleyan University's fire safety policies.
    2. Black wick, burned, used – this type has a black wick (or something that sustains a flame) which is evidence that it has been burned as well as evidence of melted candle material; the candle is contained in or on some type of non-combustible material, like a jar or tin, that can also contain any melted wax if the candle produces any.
    3. Black wick, burned and dangerous – this type of candle is 100% wax, no glass or tin container, no candle stand, holder or other type of non-combustible container that stops melted wax and/or flame from spreading dangerously on combustible surfaces.

    No candles literally mean NO candles or any other type of open flame device (i.e. Tiki Torches). This applies to all residences during the academic year, as well as winter, spring and summer breaks for students staying on campus during those times. All of the above items will be confiscated; a WARNING will be issued for a white wick candle only. Point(s) will be issued where there is any type of candle that shows evidence of being used.

  • Incense

    All forms of incense, including incense sticks (or "joss sticks"), cones, and pyramids, are prohibited.

    Incense is defined as anything made of compressed combustible material that is intended to burn and smolder and smoke in order to dissipate scented smoke. Incense will be confiscated and point(s) will be issued. No incense literally means that NO incense of any kind is allowed in any University residential facility. This applies to all residences during the academic year, as well as winter, spring and summer breaks for students staying on campus during those times. All incense of any kind will be confiscated and the resident(s) will receive a warning for unburned incense and point(s) will be issued for evidence of burned incense.  

  • Used smoking materials
    Used Smoking Materials is defined as any cigarette, cigar, or marijuana butts; pipes, hookahs or bongs with ashes; or residue of ashes or any other evidence of used smoking materials. Smoking is not allowed in or within 25' of any University building, including residential facilities. This includes all areas in residence halls, program houses, apartments and wood frame houses and their balconies, porches or decks.
  • Open Flame Devices or any Combustible Fuel

    Combustible fuel or devices are not allowed in any university-owned houses or residences, or on porches/balconies or on any grounds on campus (i.e. front or back yards) at ANY time.

    Devices include- Tiki Torches, Kerosene or propane lamps

    A kerosene lamp is any type of lighting device that uses kerosene as a fuel. Kerosene lamps have a wick and a glass chimney or globe; lamps may be used on a table, or hand-held lanterns may be used for portable lighting. Propane lamps work similarly but use propane as its fuel source. Combustible fuel is defined as lighter fluid, charcoal lighter fluid, tiki torch fluid, & gasoline.

  • Cooking appliances

    Includes anything with a heating element, such as hot plate, electric kettle, electric frying pan, wok, toaster or toaster oven, waffle maker, electric grill, popcorn popper, rice cooker, etc. (Cooking appliances are allowed in apartment, wood frame and program house kitchens).

    Cooking Appliance is any device that is not a microwave, mini refrigerator, or coffee maker and water kettle with automatic shut-off. Rice cookers, hot plates, grills (electric, gas, charcoal), crock-pots, toasters, toaster ovens, waffle makers, etc. are all cooking appliances and are prohibited in student rooms. Any cooking appliance found in any student room will be confiscated and point(s) will be issued. Cooking appliances are allowed in the kitchens of residence halls, program houses, apartments and woodframe houses.

  • Ungrounded extension cord

    Two-prong cords are prohibited. Only grounded (three-prong type) extension cords and fused power strips are permitted

    Ungrounded extension cords is defined as any extension cord that only has 2 prongs that plug into a wall outlet, and only allows a 2-prong device to plug into it. They are typically white or brown, come in 4', 9' or 12' lengths, and are labeled "For Household Use Only." They are easily overloaded and are an extreme fire hazard. A warning will be issued for the first offense.

  • Portable electric or space heaters

    If you don’t have sufficient heat in your room, house, or residence please call Customer Service at 860-685-3400. If needed, a heater can be supplied by the University.

    A portable electric heaters, also called a space heater, is defined as a device that plugs into a standard wall outlet or receptacle that produces heat for the purpose of heating a room or area. Heaters may be a radiant type that circulates warm oil inside a unit that looks like a radiator, may have exposed metal coils that heat upand turn red, or may be a "ceramic" heater that has a non-combustible surface that is heated and radiates warm air. Some may also have a fan. They pose a serious fire hazard because of potential contact with combustible materials and due to overheating of the cord or the electrical wiring in the building. If habitable conditions cannot be maintained in a sleeping room, the HVAC department in Physical Plant may provide a space heater until they are able to correct the problem. Please call Physical Plant Customer Service at 860-685-3400 or send an email to for assistance.

  • Altering light fixtures

    Altering light fixture, lamps and light bulbs are another reason for electrical fires. Installing a bulb with a wattage that is too high for the lamps and light fixtures is a leading cause of electrical fires. Always check the maximum recommended bulb wattage on any lighting fixture or lamp and never go over the recommended amount.

    Another cause of fire is placing materials like cloth or paper over a lampshade or fixture. The material heats up and ignites, causing a fire.

  • Tapestries hanging on walls or ceilings

    It is prohibited to hang anything on the ceiling of a bedroom, common room or hall. Tapestries 5’x7’ or smaller are permitted on walls only.

    Finable tapestries are defined as any tapestry, flag or fabric larger than approximately 5'x 7' or 35 square feet. It is prohibited to hang anything on the ceiling of a bedroom, common room or hall. It is prohibited to cover any light fixture, smoke detector, CO detector or sprinkler head on the ceiling or wall with any size tapestry, flag or fabric. It is prohibited to hang any tapestry, flag or fabric larger than approximately 35 square feet on walls. Any size tapestry, flag or fabric hanging on a wall may receive a warning if there is a lamp or loaded electrical outlet in a location that could pose a potential hazard to the resident.

  • Charcoal or gas grills

    Charcoal or Gas Grills are allowed on campus. Grills are not allowed in any university-owned houses or residences, or on porches or balconies at ANY time (i.e. grills cannot be stored on porches). Please store your grills outside. When the grill is in use please have the grill 10-15 ft away from the house.

    Grills are defined as a device or surface used for cooking food, usually fueled by gas or charcoal, or the part of a cooker that performs this function.

  • Plug adapters
    Plug adapters are defined as a device that converts attributes of one device or system to those of an otherwise incompatible device or system, ex. 3-prong to 2-prong adaptors.
  • Halogen lamps
    Halogen Lamps, both standing and desk-based, are defined as a standing "torchiere." These used to be a very common lighting appliance, but have mostly been withdrawn from the market due to the heat the lamp generates, creating a serious fire hazard. Now it is very common to have a halogen desk lamp, which also poses a serious fire hazard. The halogen light bulb operates at a very high temperature and will ignite any combustible material it comes in contact with. In student dorm rooms we have had several instances of a pillow or article of clothing starting to smolder and/or burst into flame when in close proximity to a halogen desk lamp. A warning will be issued for the first offense; the lamp will be confiscated if found during subsequent inspections.
  • Coffee makers and water kettles without automatic shut-off
    Coffee Makers or Electric Water Kettles with automatic shut-off are defined as any device that automatically makes coffee or boils water, and automatically shuts itself off after a fixed period of time. Water kettles typically turn off after water boils, coffee makers after 30 – 60 minutes or another preprogrammed amount of time. It is not always obvious to anyone but the owner of one of these if the appliance has an automatic shut-off feature. It is very helpful if the owner of a coffee maker or water kettle leaves some documentation from the web-site or the instruction booklet with their appliance that clearly states that it has an automatic shut-off feature.
  • Vaporizers
    Vaporizers are a new item on the market that have become popular on college campuses; these items use a ceramic or other type of heating element to diffuse essential oils and vaporize dried herbs for inhalation. The heating element poses a fire hazard, the unit does not have an automatic shut-off, and the vapor that is released could accidentally activate the fire alarm systems installed in residential buildings.
  • Mercury thermometers
    A mercury-in-glass thermometer, also known as a mercury thermometer, consists of mercury in a glass tube. Due to the potential environmental hazard and significant clean-up costs associated with a mercury spill or contamination, mercury thermometers are prohibited in any student residence.
  • Smoke/fog machines
    A smoke or fog device emits a dense vapor that appears similar to fog or smoke. Portable smoke/fog machines generate non-toxic water or oil-based artificial smoke. These types of devices are prohibited because the smoke/fog will activate smoke detectors.
  • Open burning/Fire pits

    Bonfires and camp fires etc. are prohibited by both the university and City of Middletown ordinances.

    Open burning defines the burning of unwanted materials such as paper, trees, brush, leaves, grass, and other debris, where smoke and other emissions are released directly into the air without passing through a chimney or stack. Open burning also includes incineration devices that do not control the combustion air to maintain an adequate temperature and do not provide sufficient residence time for complete combustion. Open burning pollutes the air and poses a fire hazard. The air pollution created by open burning can irritate eyes and lungs, obscure visibility, soil nearby surfaces, create annoying odors, and are a danger to those with respiratory conditions.

  • String Lights

    String lights are allowed but must be installed following these guidelines:

    • Cannot be plugged through a window or a door way (pinching of the cord)
    • Cannot be hung on any fire safety device (i.e. sprinkler pipes, smoke detector, etc.)
    • Canned not be plugged in using an ungrounded extension cord (2 prong)
    • Needs to be attached to the wall properly without causing damage when removed
    • Must be hung in such a way as to not hinder the opening or closing of a door (above 6ft)
    • Cannot be hung on a ceiling (walls only)
    • All lights must be working

    ** String lights are NOT be installed on the exterior of your residents if you do not have an exterior outlet.

  • Wax Warmers

    Wax Warmers are prohibited, although fire danger from an open flame is eliminated, there are still several reasons why wax warmers are considered a fire safety hazard - these include - overheating of warming plate or electrical outlet & burns hazard associated with hot wax.

  • Electric Personal Transportation Vehicles using lithium-ion batteries

    The possession, storage, and use of Hoverboards, E-Bikes, E-Scooters, and/or any Electric Personal Transportation Vehicles using lithium-ion batteries as a power source are not permitted on campus due to risk of fire, the hazards of charging the units, and the potential for serious injuries or property damage. 

    Damaged or defective batteries can overheat, catch fire, or explode.

    Lithium-ion battery fires give off toxic gases and they burn extremely hot.



  • Alarm activation due to prohibited activity
    If there is a fire alarm activation due to a prohibited activity; such as smoking, candles, incense, and any other prohibited item listed above. Students may also be referred to the Community Standards Board (CSB).
  • Tampering with any fire/life safety devices

    This includes, but is not limited to:

    • Fire extinguishers (discharged or missing)
    • Disconnecting or covering smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors
    • Hanging items from sprinkler pipes or sprinkler heads.
    • Broken exit sign
    • Pull station activation for non-emergency
    • Removing battery from detector (if detector is beeping please call 860-685-3400 to report it)


    Students will be referred to the Community Stands Board (CSB)

  • Explosives, ammunition, incendiary devices and fireworks

    Explosive devices are subject to a points and may be referred to the CSB, depending on circumstances and items found; Middletown Police may be called to assist. An explosive material is a reactive substance that contains a great amount of potential energy that can produce an explosion if released suddenly, usually accompanied by the production of light, heat, sound, and pressure.

    Ammunition refers specifically to gunpowder and artillery.

    Incendiary weapons, incendiary devices or incendiary bombs are bombs designed to start fires or destroy sensitive equipment using materials.

    Fireworks are a class of explosive pyrotechnic devices used for aesthetic and entertainment purposes (sparklers are considered fireworks and are also prohibited).

University staff will conduct unannounced room inspections throughout the academic year. Residents will receive point(s) for each violation, and prohibited items will be confiscated.  Candles, incense and extension cords will not be returned; contact Campus Fire Safety for other confiscated items. A receipt will be given to you, or left in your room, notifying you of any violations and/or fines.

Other unauthorized items found during inspections

If upon entering a room, the inspectors find any other unauthorized items such as a weapon – gun, sword, knife, etc. – or illegal drugs, which are prohibited by the Code of Non-academic Conduct; the inspector must contact Public Safety to confiscate the item. Public Safety or the office of the Dean of Students should be contacted for information regarding other unauthorized confiscated items.

Room inspection procedures

The inspection team consists of two inspectors - one inspects and one fills out the inspection form. They carry a digital camera to take photos of violations when necessary. Two people enter every room. They will knock on the door and announce themselves as Campus Fire Safety inspectors. If a student responds, the inspectors will wait to be invited in or for the resident to open the door. If no one answers, they open the door and again announce "Campus Fire Safety". Once inside they take an overall visual scan of the room. If any prohibited items are observed in plain view, an inspection form is filled out, a photo is taken, and the item is confiscated (if possible). A second and final visual inspection is made of the room and then the form is signed. The white copy is kept by Campus Fire Safety, and the yellow copy is left where the resident(s) can find it. If there are other unauthorized items found during inspections, Public Safety is called and they determine the appropriate action. See statement above.

If you received points and live in a double or triple room, all registered residents of the room will receive the points. The person responsible for the prohibited item must contact Campus Fire Safety to update our records. Send an email to

If your residence hall, apartment or house received a common area violation, all registered residents of the location will receive points. If one person chooses to take responsibility for the violation, the points will be transferred from all other residents to the responsible person.

If you have questions, please email or call (860) 685-3300.