Fire Safety Policy and Procedures: Morningside Campus

This policy outlines the University's protocols for fire safety, including fire prevention, fire incidents, fire alarms system inspection and testing, fire drills, and life safety requirements for places of assembly.


Reasons for the Policy

Fire in a University building has the potential to endanger lives and destroy property.  The purpose of this policy is to promote the safety of the University community, prevent damage to University property and to comply with federal, state, city and university regulation and policy.  Every member of the campus community is responsible for preventing and properly handling common fire hazards, and for familiarity with proper emergency procedures and phone numbers. 

Responsible University Office & Officer

Morningside Facilities Operations is the responsible office for fire and life safety and fire systems.  The Director of Fire Safety is responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of this policy as it relates to fire and life safety. 

Who Is Governed By This Policy

All faculty, staff, affiliates, students and visitors of and to the Columbia University environs are governed by this policy.

Who Should Know This Policy

All faculty, staff, affiliates, students of the University.

Exclusions & Special Situations



Columbia University Facilities Operations – Office of Fire Safety is responsible for all aspects of fire and life safety within the Columbia University environs.   Duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  1. Development and implementation of all fire-related training material for faculty, administration, staff and students.
  2. Development and dissemination of emergency response protocols and procedures.
  3. Development and dissemination of fire and related emergency evacuation protocols.
  4. Development and dissemination of policy and procedures for fire-related activities.
  5. Conducting required fire drills in all academic and residence hall buildings.
  6. Inspection and reporting of all fire and life safety deficiencies in University buildings.
  7. Reviewing construction project plans for code compliance.
  8. Acting as a liaison with the New York City Fire Department and all other agencies involved with fire and life safety issues.
  9. Maintaining a repository for all fire and life safety data and statistics.

Columbia University Facilities Operations – Office of Fire Systems is responsible for the proper operation of all fire systems including testing, inspecting, maintenance and repairs to ensure reliability in case of fire or an emergency.  Fire systems include fire doors, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, Keltron units, OS & Y valves, fire alarm monitoring systems, sprinkler/standpipe systems, fire hoses and nozzles, fire pumps, pull stations, pre-action systems, Siamese connections, smoke and heat detectors and bells, gongs and horns.

It is the University's policy to endeavor to protect all persons on its premises from the hazards of fire.

Specifically, the University endeavors to ensure:

  • That adequate means of egress in case of fire exist for all persons on University premises.
  • That all means of egress are correctly maintained, kept free from obstruction and available for safe and effective use at all times.
  • That all fire detection and annunciation equipment required to give warning in the event of fire is properly installed and maintained.
  • That fire suppression equipment for containing or fighting fire is present and maintained in proper working order.
  • That  emergency  response,  management,  notification  and  investigative  management procedures are followed in responding to and in the aftermath of a fire.
  • That appropriate fire safety training is developed and implemented to provide faculty, staff, administration and students with a working knowledge of fire and life safety practices and evacuation policy and procedures.
  • That all premises owned or occupied by the University receive a fire and life safety inspection at reasonable intervals.
  • That measures are taken to mitigate potential risk in buildings, installations and equipment from fire that are commensurate with the risks and are appropriate to the value of teaching, research or commercial importance of those assets.