Office of Residence Life

Safety Compliance

Safety Compliance

Prohibited Items

The following items are prohibited in Institute residence halls

  1. Candles (whether lit or unlit), incense, scented lamps, live trees, and open flame devices of any kind.
  2. Kerosene, gasoline, butane, or other flammable liquids.
  3. Portable air conditioners, space heaters, electric blankets, sun lamps, string lights, strip lights, halogen lamps, and halogen light bulbs.
  4. Power strips must have grounding, overcurrent protection AND a visible reset. Power strips must not have moveable parts and cannot be connected to another power strip (“piggy-backing”) to add length to an outlet.
  5. Extension cords and multi-taps.
  6. Curtains and cloth-based or fabric tapestries/wall hangings.
  7. Hibachis, other open fire grills, charcoal, and gas/propane grills.
  8. All wax warmers (lightbulb, hot plate, and plug-in mechanisms).
  9. Hover boards.
  10. Privacy bed tents.
  11. Routers/Antennas/Satellite dishes.
  12. Bed risers, lofts other than those from Rensselaer’s contracted loft vendor.
  13. Pets (except fish with a 10 gallon tank size limit); registered service animals and emotional support animals are exempt.
  14. Refrigerators and micro-fridges must be adequately ventilated, 6.0 cu. ft. or less in size, and plugged directly into a wall socket. Students may bring their own or rent from the refrigerator leasing company under contract with Rensselaer. Refrigerators must be plugged directly into the wall outlet.
  15. Appliances that are not Underwriters’ Laboratory (UL) approved and contain an exposed heating element are not permitted. This includes, but is not limited to, 3D printers, hot plates, toaster ovens, crock pots, George Foreman grills, rice cookers, electric skillets, or any appliances without a thermostat/automatic shut off. Pop-up toasters in kitchens are permitted.
  16. Firearms (including antique guns), explosives and other weapons, ammunition, fireworks, starting pistols, incendiary or toxic chemicals, paintball equipment, air rifles, bb pellets, dart guns, torches, stun guns, swords, knives, or any other type of weapon or projectile-firing device. The use of pepper aerosol spray for anything other than self-defense purposes is prohibited.
  17. Entire walls and doors may not be covered.  All decorations must be affixed flat against the walls so that flames cannot reach both sides. Each wall and door cannot exceed 10% covered.
  18. The floor should be free of clutter, clothing, etc. to prevent a trip hazard in an emergency situation.
  19. Trash/waste should be disposed of properly and regularly.
  20. Furniture may not be set up in a way that creates an increased risk to fire safety, this includes blocking egresses, unsafe stacking/placement, etc.
  21. Items and furniture cannot be stored against heating elements (such as base-board heaters).
  22. Tampering with fire safety equipment. All safety and fire equipment in the residence halls (smoke and heat detectors, fire extinguishers, sprinklers, and water pipes) must be kept clear of obstruction.
  23. There must be an 18’’ Clearance below sprinkler heads and ceilings (nothing stored on top of wardrobes).

Residents may not tamper with any fire safety equipment in the residence halls. This includes, but is not limited to, hanging items from sprinkler heads and protective cages, hanging on exposed sprinkler piping, improper use of fire extinguishers, tampering with exit signs, smoke detectors, emergency lighting, etc. Residents found in violation of this policy are subject to disciplinary action and a minimum fine of $100. Residents who tamper with the sprinkler system specifically will be subject to a minimum fine of $250 and possible restitution for damaged belongings.

Confiscation Policy

Due to health and safety concerns, all prohibited items,outlined above, may be confiscated by Institute staff.

Confiscations may occur during:

  • Scheduled Health & Safety Inspections
  • Break closing inspections
  • New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC) inspections
  • Maintenance or custodial work
  • Fire or similar emergencies
  • Invitation of an occupant
  • Unreasonably loud or continuing sound
  • Evidence of a policy violation(s)  

Possession of confiscated items may result in judicial action by the Dean of Students Office. Prohibited items will be confiscated and stored in the Office of Student Living and Learning.

With the exception of alcohol, illicit drugs, weapons, or explosive materials, and at the discretion of the Institute, confiscated items may be retrieved by the owner no earlier than 5 business days prior to Thanksgiving break, winter break, spring break, summer break, or the end of the summer semester. Prohibited items should then be immediately removed from Institute property. Any items not retrieved by the final business day of the semester in which the item was confiscated, the item may be donated or disposed of by the Office of Student Living and Learning. The Office of Student Living and Learning is not financially responsible for any damaged, lost, donated, or disposed items. Confiscation of the same or similar prohibited items, to those previously confiscated, may result in additional judicial action by the Dean of Students Office.

Health & Safety Inspections

Each month, staff members will be facilitating Health & Safety Inspections of each room. The purpose of these inspections is to ensure no prohibited items are in use and that the room is clear of any New York State Fire Code or Institute violations. Staff members will provide you with at least 24 hours’ notice of their inspection. Staff members, in pairs, will knock on your door and either be let in by you or your roommates, or key into the room if no one is present. You do not have to be present for the inspection. Staff will note any violations, remedy the violation(s) (if you are not present, the RA will return later when you are present) or confiscate the violation and will notify you if any further action is necessary. A list of prohibited items can be found above.

New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC) Inspections

An annual fire safety inspection is done by the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC) to all buildings and facilities operated by Rensselaer. This includes individual rooms in the Residence Halls and fraternities/sororities listed as property of Rensselaer. The same policies and procedures outlined in the Health & Safety Inspection section apply during OFPC Inspections with one exception. Like Health & Safety Inspections, students are notified when OFPC Inspections will occur. However, Student Living and Learning does not provide 24 hour notice of the inspection. Due to OFPC Inspections being facilitated by an outside entity, the state Fire Marshall, schedules can often change. It is therefore the policy of Student Living and Learning to provide a range of dates via email which OFPC Inspections may occur. Failure to take corrective action and/or comply with the violation notice will result in a fine assigned by the NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC) at the time of re-inspection. The fine issued by OFPC to the resident(s) of the room found to be in violation of fire and safety codes will be billed to the resident(s) student accounts.

Gotcha Checks

Locking your doors is the simplest and most effective method of securing your personal items. Gotcha Checks is a nation-wide program designed to remedy issues and educate residents about situations that could result in theft. In the near future, RAs and RDs will be conducting Gotcha Checks to ensure that any unoccupied rooms are locked and secure. Student staff members will be walking down each hallway and gently pressing on the door handle to see if the door is locked. If the door is not locked, the staff member will knock on the door and see if you or your roommates are present. If you are present, the staff member will explain why they are knocking on your door and remind you to lock your door when no one is in the room or you and your roommate(s) are sleeping. If you and your roommates are not present, the staff member will lock the door and place a Gotcha tag on the inside of your door.

Fire Drills

Fire Drills In the coming days, each building will experience a fire drill. Regardless of whether it is a drill or you know that it is just your burnt popcorn sounding the alarm, it is IMPERATIVE that you exit the building. Failure to exit the building during a fire alarm could result in a $150.00 fine. Please remember that your closest exit may not be the front door. All buildings have at least one other emergency exit door. Once you have exited the building, move away from the building. When Public Safety or another Institute official has given the all clear sign, you may return to your rooms. If you exited through an emergency exit, you will need to walk to the main door to enter the building.

Last modified: Oct 23, 2018