Fire Prevention

The best time to think about fire safety is before a fire starts. Fire is a real threat to the welfare of students, faculty and staff. Building designers plan for fire safety in the construction and renovation of campus buildings. Occupants must be aware of the fire protection features of their buildings and be careful not to undermine their purpose. In addition, occupants must know and practice fire safe behaviors by identifying hazards and using appropriate preventative measures. The building may be constructed to the highest standards but it is only as safe as the behaviors of the occupants. Residents in campus housing should refer to Housing and Residential Life Policies.

Fire Hazard Training

The best way to avoid a fire is to be knowledgeable of fire hazards and how to prevent them. Specific training for processes of facilities will be provided upon request.

Each NMSU employee, faculty, and staff member shall attend fire extinguisher and safety training at least once. Training is conducted every Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. and every Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. Call the Department of Fire and Emergency Services at 646- 2519 for reservations.

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Consider the following potential fire hazards:

  • Heat-producing equipment – computers, copiers, coffee makers – are often overlooked as a potential fire hazard. Keep them away from anything that might burn.
  • Electrical appliances can be fire hazards. Be sure to turn off all appliances at the end of the day. Use only grounded appliances plugged into grounded outlets (three prong plug).
  • If electrical equipment malfunctions or gives off a strange odor, disconnect it and call the appropriate maintenance personnel. Promptly disconnect and replace cracked, frayed, or broken electrical cords.
  • Keep extension cords clear of doorways and other areas where they can be stepped on or chafed and never plug one extension cord into another.
  • Do not allow combustible material (boxes, paper, etc.) to build up in inappropriate storage locations (near sources of ignition).

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Cooking Safety

Cooking-related fires are the third most common cause of fire. Cooking can be a safe and enjoyable experience if safety requirements are followed. Cooking is permitted only in areas approved by the NMSU Fire Department.

Permitted Areas

  • Restaurant-style establishments
  • Residential buildings in areas designated for cooking (i.e., kitchen)
  • Employee lounges and break rooms where appliances are installed in compliance with the appropriate standards, and the area is maintained in a safe manner (i.e. stoves/ovens are turned off when not in use)
  • Cooking should never be left unattended.

Areas normally not permitted

  • Offices, laboratories, classrooms and storage areas
  • Sleeping areas in dormitories, fraternities and sororities (microwave ovens are permitted)
  • Automotive, industrial and manufacturing settings.

Special Cooking Areas

Requests for cooking in the areas mentioned above for normal or special occasions must be submitted in writing to NMSU Department of Fire and Emergency Services two (2) weeks in advance of the event.

Safety Procedures

Where cooking is permitted, the following safety procedures must be followed:

Residential Electric/Gas Stoves

  • Stoves/ovens must have electric or gas connections installed and maintained by a qualified individual.
  • Stoves and ovens, when installed, should have a grease filter over the stove. Where a grease filter is not installed, cooking will be limited to foods that will not produce grease-laden vapors.
  • Combustible material, such as potholders, paper towels, etc., should be kept at least 18″ from the stovetop and any burners.
  • A dry chemical fire extinguisher shall be installed in or near the kitchen area. NMSU’s Fire Department will determine the required locations.
  • When cooking, the stove must not be left unattended for any length of time. If it is necessary to leave the room unoccupied, the stove must be turned off.
  • Do not use matches to light gas stoves equipped with electric starters. If the starter is inoperative, the unit must be repaired or replaced.
  • Check all burners on the stove before leaving to ensure that all units are off.

Barbecue Grills (gas and charcoal)

  • Barbecue grills will not be permitted for use inside or on top of buildings.
  • Barbecue grills will not be used within 15 feet of a building when there is a door, window, air intake vent, or other similar avenue for smoke or uncontrolled flames to enter the building.
  • All gas lines, valves and connections on gas grills will be periodically checked to detect leakage. If a leak is detected, the grill will be taken out of service until repaired. Used charcoal must be left in the grill until cold to the touch or thoroughly soaked in water before disposal.
  • When using a charcoal grill, flammable charcoal lighter fluid will be used prior to lighting. DO NOT ADD LIGHTER FLUID AFTER THE CHARCOAL IS LIT. If more charcoal is required, add pre-soaked coals.
  • Do not leave a grill unattended.
  • Keep combustible materials at least 15 feet from the grill.
  • Do not use a grill within 50 feet of flammable storage areas.

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Candle Safety

Candles are prohibited inside buildings except for religious, dining or ceremonial purposes and
ONLY under the following conditions:

  • Candles must be in containers that will resist tipping over
  • The container, if tipped, must be capable of containing the entire candle,dripping wax, and any convected heat within it
  • The candle may not be used within three feet of combustible materials. The exception is on table displays where the candle is in an approved container, one (1) foot from combustible materials
  • The display must be supervised
  • Whenever candles are lit, a person must be in attendance wherever they are used. All candles must be extinguished at the end of the event
  • Candles must not be used in close proximity to heat or smoke detectors or sprinkler heads in such a way that the heat or smoke may activate the device.

The use of candles in university-owned residence areas (i.e., residence halls, dormitories, fraternity houses and sorority houses) is prohibited.

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Smoking Policy

Smoking-related fires are still the most common cause of all fires in America. Smoking of tobacco products is prohibited in all buildings (exceptions below) owned or leased by NMSU as well as within 25 feet of entrance or exit, vehicles, and during some organized outdoor events on university property.

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