Fire Safety

The Department of Residence (DOR) is committed to providing safe and code compliant facilities for our residents, staff and guests. Over the past 5 years, extensive efforts and financial resources have been committed by the DOR to complete numerous capital life safety projects within our facilities.

The DOR has a comprehensive life safety program that includes working with students and staff and also involves partnering with Iowa State University Environmental Health and Safety, ISU Police, ISU Risk Management, ISU Facilities Planning and Management, Iowa State Fire Marshal's office and the Ames Fire Department. All of these entities contribute to and play a significant role in the success and implementation of our fire and life safety programs.

Please carefully review the following information:

Emergency Evacuation
Emergency Evacuation of Mobility Impaired Persons
Emergency Evacuation Maps
Emergency Generators
Fire Alarms and Drills
Fire Equipment Abuse
Fire Extinguishers
Prohibited Items
Responders to Fire Emergency
Smoke and Heat Detectors
Sprinkler Systems
State Fire Marshal

Emergency Evacuation

In the event that a fire alarm sounds in your building, please don't panic. Calmly do the do the following:

  • Exit your room, closing and locking your room door behind you.
  • Leave the building immediately. Use the stairs if you are on an upper floor. Do not use the elevators.
  • If there is smoke in the air, keep low. Smoke heat and toxic gases normally rise to the ceiling.
  • Once outside, assemble a safe distance from the building (at least 150 feet).
  • Make certain that emergency response personnel and equipment are not blocked from entering the building.
  • Try and account for residents and staff known to have been in the building.
  • Provide fire and rescue personnel information and location of the fire.
  • Do not re-enter the building until the fire department has declared the building safe.
  • A bright orange Fire/Emergency/Tornado Procedure sticker has been placed on the backs of all student room doors in the Residence Halls, Fredericksen Ct. and Schilletter and University Village Apartments.

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Emergency Evacuation of Mobility Impaired Persons

Some members of the residenial community may need help in evacuating the building. We ask that you provide assistance, to the extent you are able, to get these individuals to a safe location.

  • Assist the person by helping them move to the nearest marked exit. In case of a fire, do not use the elevator.
  • If the person's disability prevents them for exiting the building, they should be left in a stairwell. Stairwell landings will provide temporary shelter from fire and smoke and shall be considered an "Area of Refuge"
  • Upon exiting the building, immediately inform fire and rescue personnel of the exact location of a non-ambulatory person that was left in a stairwell or student room. Firefighters will assist persons unable to evacuate.
  • Do not re-enter the building until the fire department has declared the building safe.
  • Mobility impaired students may use the elevator once it is back in operation to return to their room. Hall Directors have the override key to the elevator to return them to service.

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Emergency Evacuation Maps

Evacuation maps are posted throughout the residence halls near elevators and entrances and show stairwells and exits. Resident students are expected to learn the location of the exit stairwells and doors and plan more than one exit route.

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Emergency Generators

The Department of Residence has emergency generators for each Residence Hall. In case of a power outage or interruption, these generators provide power to the hallway lights, emergency lighting, exit lights, exhaust fans, dampers, sprinkler pumps, smoke and heat detection system. The generators are tested monthly by Residence Maintenance staff.

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Fire Alarms and Drills

Alarm pull stations and fire bells or horns are located in hallways and other common areas throughout the Residence Halls. A building's fire alarm will sound when an alarm station is pulled. The alarm signal is transmitted to the Department of Residence Service Center and ISU Police. ISU Police dispatch will process the signal and then contact the AFD and request that they respond to the building in alarm. Automatic fire alarms are similar in their procedure for emergency response. When a heat or smoke detector is activated automatically, the Service Center and ISU Police are notified electronically through Metasys. ISU Police will then contact the AFD for response. ISU Police Officers will also oftentimes respond and be onsite when a building is in alarm. Alarm systems are inspected and tested twice annually by a certified fire alarm inspection company.

Designated rooms in the Residence Halls are equipped with assistive devices such as bed shakers, or strobe lights for students with a disability or physical impairment. These devices are wired into the fire alarm system and will activate when the building goes into alarm. When the buildings alarm system is temporarily out of operation, a firewatch (walking patrol of the building by staff with airhorns and radios to warn residents of a need to evacuate) is maintained until the system is restored.

The Department of Residence conducts a fire drill at the beginning of each semester. Fire drills are announced through postings and at house meetings. The DoR policy handbook states the following:

"You and your guests are required to evacuate the building when a fire alarm is sounded, and reenter the building only when fire department staff gives permission to do so. Failure to do so endangers not only you, but residence and fire department staffs as well. If you (or your guests) do not evacuate the building when the fire alarm sounds, or if you (or your guests) re-enter before permission has been granted, you will be held accountable through the judicial system."

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Fire Equipment Abuse

The fire alarm system, fire extinguishers, fire department standpipes, sprinklers, and exit lights are installed for your protection. Report immediately to the Service Center (294-3322) any apparent defects in fire safety equipment. Tampering with fire equipment, including the removal of batteries in smoke alarms, the removal of glass box hammers, or tampering with smoke doors and Knox boxes (small boxes attached to the exterior of buildings), is a violation of state law and will lead to university disciplinary action. In the event of any fire extinguisher being used, call the Service Center for recharging and checking, and replacing if appropriate.

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Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are located throughout the residence halls and are inspected and maintained yearly by ISU Environmental Health and Safety.

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Prohibited Items

Flammable Liquids - Because of the safety hazards they represent, the use or storage of flammable/toxic fluids and chemicals is prohibited.

Candles - For safety reasons, candles (with or without wicks) are not permitted in the residence halls or on-campus apartments.

Open Flames - For safety reasons, open flame devices are not permitted in the residence halls.

Appliances and Electrical Cords

  • Due to fire and sanitation hazards, space heaters, halogen torchiere lamps, sun lamps, and air conditioners may not be used in student rooms.
  • No lights, ceiling fans or other electrical appliances are to be hung on ceilings or interior walls.
  • Extension cords with built-in circuit breakers should be used in rooms. The use of extension cords as permanent wiring is not permitted. Multiple receptacle plates that fit into wall outlets are not recommended.
  • Smoke or fog machines may not be used anywhere within the residence halls.

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Responders to Fire Emergency

Emergency response is provided by the City of Ames Fire Department. Fire Station 2, located at 132 Welch Avenue, responds to all Residence Hall fire alarms. Fire Station 1, located at 1300 Burnett Avenue, responds to fire alarms at the Fredericksen Court and SUV Village Apartments.

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Smoke and Heat Detectors

Single station smoke detectors are located in every student room and also in all of the Department of Residence apartments. Some of the smoke detectors in student rooms are hard wired into the fire alarm system while others are battery operated. Batteries are changed twice a year (at the start of each semester) by Residence Dept. staff.

Heat and smoke detectors are located throughout all of the Residence Halls and dining facilities. Additionally, all automatic operating dampers that are located in HVAC ductwork are inspected yearly.

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Sprinkler Systems

These are inspected quarterly by a certified building sprinkler inspection company. Hood suppression systems that are located in the kitchens for ISU Dining and Residence Hall kitchenettes are inspected twice a year. Residents are reminded to not hang items from sprinkler heads in their rooms. The following table illustrates the sprinkler status of the residential buildings:

Building(s) Total Sq. Ft. Sq. Ft. Sprinkled
Barton-Lyon-Freeman 73,820 73,820
Birch-Welch-Roberts 118,516 118,516
Buchanan 93,739 93,739
Eaton 84,000 84,000
Frederiksen Court 499,928 499,928
Friley 364,149 0
Helser 150,605 150,605
Larch 101,228 101,228
Linden 119,829 119,829
Maple 103,778 103,778
Martin 84,000 84,000
Oak-Elm 137,120 137,120
Wallace 103,778 103,778
Willow 101,229 101,229
Wilson 103,778 0
Total 2,239,497 1,566,564

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State Fire Marshal

The Iowa State Fire Marshal's office is the delegated authority for life safety inspections and compliance for the Department of Residence. Facility inspections occur biennially.

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