Fires and Fire Safety

Recognizing the serious threat of fires in the residence halls, Illinois Wesleyan University offers the following guidelines for student conduct concerning: the inappropriate use of and tampering with fire alarms and equipment; arson; evacuation; and fire hazards.

Fire safety in the residence halls is a shared responsibility, and, to that end, the University has installed smoke and heat detectors and sprinklers in addition to the alarm system and fire fighting equipment throughout the buildings. Students are urged to respect these lifesaving devices and must respond to all alarms appropriately. Students found abusing safety equipment (such as exit lights, stair rails, fire alarms and fire exits), causing false fire alarms or refusing to vacate buildings after alarm sounds or at the direction of a university official will be subject concurrently to both University and civil/criminal sanctions.


Lighting fires in the residence halls is considered a serious offense that could result in suspension or dismissal from the University. Information concerning arson in the residence halls is given to the appropriate city department and can lead to criminal charges. Withholding evidence concerning a fire will result in disciplinary action.


In case of a fire, it is important to know the location of the nearest fire exit and fire-fighting equipment.

If you encounter a fire, follow these guidelines:

  1. Isolate the fire by closing any doors.
  2. Pull the nearest fire alarm.
  3. Call 0 and/or 9-911 to report the fire.
  4. Notify the residence hall staff.
  5. Evacuate the building immediately when the alarm sounds.
  6. Follow all residence hall staff members' instructions.

If your door is hot to the touch:

  1. Do not try to open the door. Remain in the room.
  2. Wedge cloths under the door to keep the smoke out.
  3. Open a window, wave sheets or a towel.
  4. Stay low; breathe fresh air near the window.
  5. If possible, dial 0 or 9-911 and report your situation and location.

If your door is cool and the hallway is clear:

  1. Exit via the nearest stairwell after closing your room door. Do not use elevators.
  2. Close all doors as you leave.
  3. If you encounter heavy smoke in a stairwell, go back and try another stairwell or exit.
  4. If all exits are blocked, go back to your room.
  5. Close your door and wedge cloths under the door to keep the smoke out.
  6. Open a window, wave sheets or a towel.
  7. Stay low; breathe fresh air near the window.
  8. If possible, dial 0 or 9-911 and report your situation and location.

Failure to evacuate the hall when the fire alarm sounds could result in serious injury or death, and, at a minimum, may result in disciplinary action.

Fire Hazards

Anything that may create a safety or fire hazard is not allowed in the residence halls. This includes, but is not limited to, candles, incense, large ceiling or wall hangings or wall paneling. Students should use extension cords and/or multi-plug adapters (a minimum of 14 gauge) equipped with a circuit breaker and UL approved. Please be reminded that circuits can be easily overloaded by simultaneous operation of high-draw electrical equipment such as hair dryers, stereos, televisions and refrigerators. Please refer to the "Electrical Equipment and Appliances" policy for further guidelines regarding what electrical items constitute a fire hazard. This policy is in accordance with the local fire codes.

Possession, manufacture or use of fireworks or explosives on University property is expressly forbidden. Definition of these items includes, but is not limited to, firecrackers or sparklers, gunpowder and unstable or hazardous chemicals, except for those stored and used in appropriate laboratory facilities. No flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline or kerosene may be stored in University housing.