Event Fire Safety Policy

Students, sponsors, and faculty must review the Fire Safety Policy prior to the event and assure compliance with the specified procedures before and during the event.

Reason(s) for the Policy

  • The Fire Safety Policy is to ensure the health and safety of faculty, staff, students, and visitors while also ensuring compliance with appropriate regulatory agencies. 
  • The intent of this Policy is to ensure activities that create a fire risk are identified and mitigated.

All events must comply with University Fire Safety Policy and the local Fire Department regulations for occupancy, aisle and ceiling clearance and fire exits. Any event which has vehicle displays, fog machines, fueled cooking demonstrations, laser, exhibits (including tabletop) or extensive productions with staging and props must have a certified permit from the local Fire Marshall. All associated fees for permits, floor plan approval and stand-by fire watch are the responsibility of the event sponsor. Permits must be provided to UEM at least three business days prior to the event.

An event can be interrupted or possibly canceled or terminated should fire safety violations exist. Event venues must have clearly identified fire exits and occupancy limits must be enforced. Should a fire alarm sound, house lights will be turned up, if necessary, and all participants will be instructed to leave the area or to respond as directed by fire safety or fire department personnel.

Open flames and candles, with the exception of votive candles and sternos, are not permitted at events in any UEM-managed facilities. Only flameless (electric) candles are allowed. For outdoor events, exceptions will be made on a case by case basis for special circumstances like memorial services or vigils. In these cases, the event sponsor should work with UEM to obtain a candle holder to capture wax (called a bobeche).

Occupancy Limits

Columbia University regulates occupancy limits on the number of persons who can be in a space during each event to ensure the safety of all in attendance. Ticket sales will be restricted to the appropriate capacity limit to ensure compliance with established limits. Occupancy capacities for specific venues will be discussed and resolved as part of the space reservation/event management process. The sponsoring organization is responsible for taking positive actions to ensure that occupancy limits are observed throughout the course of the event.