Right to Know Act

[View Montclair State University - Right to Know Act pdf

The Campus Fire Safety Right-to-Know Act is an amendment to the Higher Education Opportunity Act. This amendment serves to increase campus fire safety awareness across the nation, providing students and their families with the fire safety records of colleges/universities. Signed into law by President George W. Bush on August 14, 2008, this amendment requires post-secondary institutions to publicly display fire safety information and statistics, much as they already do with other safety statistics, such as campus theft and assault. This information provides prospective and current students of the policies, concerns, and fire safety conditions that are present at the institution in which they have applied or are enrolled.

Montclair State University has developed this web-site with all the required information for viewing. Please take time to review our statistics and fire safety information. Let us know if you have any questions in regards to fire safety. We can be reached daily at 973-655-5401 to answer any questions. Thank you for choosing Montclair State University and we look forward to helping you through your educational career.

Campus Fire Safety Right-to-Know Act

I.  On-Campus Student Housing Fire Statistics

A. 2013

2013 Fire Statistics

B. 2012

2012 Fire Statistics

C. 2011:

2011 Fire Statistics

D. 2010:

2010 Fire Statistics

E. 2009:

2009 Fire Statistics

II. Life Safety Systems

A. Emergency Fire Response

Montclair State University has access to 24 hours-a-day, seven day a week response to any fire alarm or report of burning odors. Our duty is to assure the safety of everyone on the MSU Campus.

However, fire alarms alone do not ensure any person's safety unless that person knows how to safely exit a building when the fire alarm sounds.

Fire Drills are conducted twice a year in all residence halls. The first drill is scheduled early in the fall semester and all residents are told in advance. The second drill is conducted some time during the spring semester with no advance warning.

If residents do not evacuate a hall in a reasonable amount of time, the drill is repeated until emergency officials are satisfied with the evacuation time. All repeat drills are unannounced.

Fire drills are also conducted on a regular basis for the University Health Center and the Child Care Centers. Drills for other campus buildings are not conducted unless requested and scheduled by the building's occupants.

When the fire alarm sounds, you should leave the building immediately--even if someone else tells you it is a false alarm. Do not use the elevator and do not assume it is an alarm test (unless a test has been announced)--fire alarms should never be taken lightly.

You may go back into the building when emergency personnel tell you it is safe to re-enter.

MSU Emergency personnel responds to a fire alarm (24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year) to assist the Fire Department with building and room entry. They can also provide information about a particular area due to their familiarity with the fire alarm system and practice of inspecting buildings. They help locate the alarm area for the Fire Department by checking and operating the fire alarm control panel. While trained in fire-fighting techniques, MSU Emergency personnel do not fight fires unless the Fire Department asks for their assistance.

B. What Are "False Alarms?"

A false alarm is when a person intentionally sends in a false report of a fire. This causes emergency crews (Montclair Fire Department, Clifton Fire Department, Little Falls Fire Department and University Police) to expend time and effort in responding to a non-existing situation. False alarms kill. It has been documented by numerous fire agencies around the country that a number of fire departments responding to false alarms have been involved in accidents while responding to such reports, which resulted in firefighters being killed or injured, and vehicles and equipment damaged. Fire Department personnel may be delayed in responding to a real emergency where lives are at stake.

The fire detection systems in MSU facilities are designed to respond to a condition of smoke and/or heat. How does a smoke detector work? When a foreign object or substance enters the inner chamber of a smoke detector, it activates the detector's sensor, which sends a signal to the fire alarm control panel and sets off the fire alarm. However, a smoke detector cannot distinguish the differences in smoke, dust, insects, and water. 
All fire alarm systems on campus are connected to a central receiving panel that is monitored 24 hours-a-day by the University Police Department. When a fire alarm goes off in a campus building, the dispatcher immediately knows in which building the alarm was activated. Each call is taken seriously and response is within a few minutes.

Fortunately, the cause of most fire alarms is not fire, but something else. Causes can be accidental (somebody bumping into a fire alarm device, a worker spray painting, sawing/sanding wood, or welding too close to a detector), unintentional (dust or insects the detector sees as smoke, or a smoke detector too close to a kitchen area, or water that leaks into a detector), mechanical (a malfunctioning system--usually when a new system is being installed, an electrical storm, or a faulty wire), or malicious (intentionally setting off the alarm).

The number of fire alarms on campus could be greatly reduced if we just pay more attention to our surroundings and what we are doing. Fire alarms disrupt campus life: classes, labs, special activities, office activity, sleep, etc. It is the goal of the Director of Fire Safety to reduce the number of fire alarms on campus through education, maintenance of alarm systems, and a smoke detector cleaning program.

C. Fire Inspections

Inspections of all life safety devices are on going THROUGHOUT campus / all fire alarm systems are tested annually before the start of the fall semester. The fire alarms are monitored 24 hrs. a day at the University Police headquarters.

Sprinkler systems are tested annually during the summer months and inspected quarterly, all of the Resident Halls are fully sprinkled. Additionally some of the academic buildings have sprinkler systems.

Cooking systems in all dining halls, diners, and classrooms are protected by hood suppression system. This is like a fire extinguisher that is hooked up to the hood above the stove. These systems are tested every 6 months.

D. Fire extinguishers

There are over 2000 fire extinguishers on campus, all fire extinguishers are tested once a year, and are hydrostatically tested in accordance with the N.F.P.A 10. if you see a fire extinguisher with an old inspection tag please report the location to Fire Safety at X 5401.

Being we are a state agency, the State of NJ division of Fire Safety inspects all campus property. Some buildings are inspected quarterly depending on their classification and use. MSU Department of Fire Safety inspects the buildings throughout the year to insure compliance with all State codes.

Testing of all life safety systems is done by an independent company to ensure compliance with all codes and standards. Copy of these reports are filed in the Fire Safety office.

III.       Fire Drills:

Our department conducts four fire drills, during the academic year.  There are two fire drills during the fall semester and two during the spring semester.  These drills are supervised and mandatory.

IV. University Policies

A. List of Prohibited Items

The following is a list of the common items that are cited during inspections, which are NOT permitted in the Residence Community::

  1. Extension Cords/Octopus Plugs
  2. Candles/Incense
  3. Electric Heaters
  4. Halogen/Torchiere Lamps
  5. Lava Lamps
  6. Explosives/Fireworks
  7. Firearms and Ammunition
  8. Live Christmas Trees and/or Wreaths
  9. Power Strips Without a Fuse
  10. Obstruction of Sprinkler Heads
  11. Obstruction of your Doorway
  12. Holiday Trees (only artificial ones are approved)
  13. Smoking in Common Areas
  14. Throwing Liquids (can accidentally activate fire safety systems)
  15. Tampering with any Fire Safety or Emergency Equipment
  16. Hot plates or Cooking Appliances (cooking appliances are allowed in Clove Road and Village kitchens only)
  17. Draperies, tapestries, curtains and other cloth wall hangings.
  18. More than one Microwave/Refrigerator per room.
  19. Refrigerators larger than 3 cubic feet or drawing more than 1.5 amps.
  20. Microwaves larger than 700 watts.
  21. Other items and conditions prohibited by the State of New Jersey's Uniform Fire Code.

Please note that this compilation is not an exhaustive list of the violations for which you may be cited.  For additional information, please refer to your Resident Student Guidebook and your Residence License and Dining Agreement.

FIRE SAFETY VIOLATIONS WILL JEOPARDIZE YOUR OWN AND OTHERS' SAFETY, AND WILL RESULT IN DISCIPLINARY ACTION UP TO AND INCLUDING YOUR REMOVAL FROM THE RESIDENCE COMMUNITY!

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B. Smoking Policy

Montclair State University is subject to NJSA 26:3D-15 through 21 on smoking in public places (health and vital statistics). In compliance with this law, the President approved a revised smoking regulation, which was endorsed by the College Senate on October 7, 1993 upon the recommendation of the ad hoc Smoking Cessation Committee. The regulation prohibits the smoking or carrying of lighted cigars, cigarettes, pipes or any matter or substance that contains tobacco in all indoor spaces on the Montclair State campus, including:

  • classrooms
  • storage rooms
  • conference rooms
  • gymnasiums
  • offices
  • locker rooms
  • auditoriums
  • pools
  • lecture halls
  • hallways
  • libraries
  • stairways
  • eating areas
  • elevators
  • rest rooms
  • residence halls
  • campus-owned / chartered / rented / leased vehicles

The department head or unit manager is responsible for the administration and enforcement of this policy within his or her area.
Any member of the campus community may ask an individual to comply with the provisions of this regulation or may file a complaint with University Police, who may issue a summons. Any individual who fails to comply is subject to a fine as determined by the local court where the summons is filed (typically $25-$200).

C. Evacuation Procedures

All members of the Montclair State University Community are, by State law, required to review the Fire Evacuation Plan and to review the staging areas and building evacuation maps for the building in which the community members work, attend class, and/or reside; this information is available under Section XI, Staging and Accountability, of this fire evacuation plan. This is required to be done by all campus community members on an annual basis. Go to the Fire Evacuation Form to confirm that you have reviewed this information.

I. Objectives:

The objective of this document is to provide the campus community access to a comprehensive emergency evacuation procedure for the evacuation of buildings with activated fire alarms, and, in doing so, to comply with the International Fire Code, as adopted by the State of New Jersey in effect as of February, 2009.

II. Scope:

This document is applicable to all persons on the campus of Montclair State University, including faculty, staff, students, and visitors. 

III. Fire Evacuation Procedure:

Staging areas and building evacuation maps.

1. Emergency Evacuation

  • Become familiar with your work area and exit locations in advance of an emergency.  Always know at least two ways out of a building.
  • If a fire alarm sounds, prepare to evacuate immediately.
  • Do not panic. Walk quickly to the closest emergency exit.
  • Do not use elevators. If power is disrupted, elevators will stop working.
  • Walk in a single file. Stay to the right when walking through corridors and stairwells.
  • Avoid unnecessary talking and keep the lines moving.
  • Individuals requiring assistance in an evacuation should proceed to a stairwell entrance area and wait for assistance.
  • If smoke is encountered, drop to the floor and crawl along the wall to the nearest exit.
  • When approaching a closed door, feel the door with the back of your hand. If the door is cool, carefully open the door and, if safe, proceed with the evacuation.
  • No one is to return to the building until permission is granted by the local fire department or University Police.

2. Evacuation of Persons with Disabilities:

  • Be aware that faculty, staff and students with disabilities may also need individual assistance. Assist them whenever possible. A list of students with disabilities, which is updated each semester, is available for emergency responders in the event of an emergency. All faculty and staff with disabilities may contact the Department of Fire Safety at (973) 655-5401 or at ferrarar@mail.montclair.edu with their work schedule if they would like to be placed on this list.
  • If evacuation cannot be done safely, contact University Police at (973) 655-5222 and provide them with your name, location (including floor and stairwell), the reason why you are unable to evacuate, and if immediate assistance is required. This information will be relayed to responding emergency personnel.
  • Students with visual and physical disabilities (whether permanent or temporary) are permitted to await the arrival of emergency personnel at the stairwell landing from which they called. However, the student must contact the University Police Department, if opting to shelter in place.
  • We advise students with permanent and temporary disabilities contact Linda Smith, in the Disability Resource Center (smithli@mail.montclair.edu) to be placed on the disability list and for other guidance.

3. Hearing and Visual Impairments:

  • Assist people with these disabilities by notifying them of the emergency and assisting them out of the building.

4. To Evacuate People with Permanent and Temporary Mobility Disabilities:

  • Individuals at ground floor locations may be able to exit without help.
  • Assist and accompany them to the evacuation site, if possible.
  • Proceed to the stairwell or area of refuge.
  • Notify emergency responders of the mobility impaired person’s location, by calling University Police at (973) 655-5222.
  • Stay with the mobility impaired person, if possible.

5. In the Event of a Fire Alarm Activation:

  • Leave the building immediately--use the stairwells--not the elevator.
  • If you are a mobility-impaired person on an upper floor, proceed to the stairwell landing on your floor and instruct someone to notify emergency response personnel of your location.
  • No personnel will be allowed to re-enter the building without permission from University Police or the local fire department.
  • Assist any person in immediate danger to safety, if it can be accomplished without risk to yourself.

6. To Report a Fire:

  • Signs of a fire include: smelling smoke, seeing smoke, or seeing actual fire; these are emergencies and need to be reported.
  • If you encounter signs of a fire, immediately activate the building fire alarm system.  (Note:  Pull stations are shown on building evacuation plans.  Pull stations are located by stairwells and exit doors). This will sound the fire alarm bells or electronic horns to evacuate the building and will automatically notify University Police. It is better to have these agencies respond and not be needed than it is to have them arrive too late for potential rescue.
  • Notify University Police of the location and size of the fire by calling (973) 655-5222 or by using an emergency telephone (which connects directly to University Police).
    Always call from a safe location (i.e. from outside the building).
  • When a fire alarm sounds, all personnel in the affected areas should evacuate the buildingimmediately. However, if the fire is small enough and it is safe to do so, use a nearby fire extinguisher to control and extinguish the fire. Don't fight the fire if the fire is too large or out-of-control, if the atmosphere is toxic, or if you do not feel comfortable doing so.
  • To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:
    • Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.
    • Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
    • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
    • Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
  • If the first attempt to put out the fire does not succeed, evacuate the building immediately.
  • If possible, doors and windows should be closed as the last person leaves a room.
  • Do not use elevators--use building stairwells.
  • Upon evacuating the building, personnel shall proceed to the designated staging area. 
  • NO personnel will be allowed to re-enter the building without permission of University Police or the local fire department.

7. To Report an Outdoor Fire:

  • Notify University Police of the location and size of the fire by calling (973) 655-5222 or by using an emergency telephone (which connects directly to University Police). Always call from a safe location.

IV.    Procedures for Faculty:

Review the fire evacuation procedure (Section III of this plan) for the room(s) in the building(s) in which you are assigned to conduct class(es) and in which you have an office.  Locate all exit routes, secondary exit routes, and staging areas.  During the first week of class or when a new student transfers to the class, review the evacuation plan, routes, and staging area with the students.  In the event of an alarm, escort/lead students out of the building and report to the staging area.  Upon arrival at the designated staging area, account for your students and report any missing students to the building manager.  For further information on building managers, see page 6 of this plan.

V.      Procedures for Staff/Contractors/Other Employees:

  • Review the fire evacuation procedure (Section III of this plan) for the room(s) in the building(s) in which you are assigned to work.  Locate all exit routes, secondary exit routes, and staging areas.  In the event of an alarm, immediately leave the building and report to the staging area.  Managers and department heads are responsible for designating a person to be responsible to account for the persons in their department or area(s) in the event that an emergency evacuation must occur.   This person will take a head count (henceforth, “accountability”) and report any unaccounted-for individuals to the building manager. 
  • Staff members have the responsibility to ensure that, in the event of a fire alarm, all visitors and contractors are escorted out of their area of control, while the staff member is exiting the building.  In larger areas, such as in dining facilities, libraries, retail stores, and bookstores, employees shall perform a sweep of their area while exiting.  The staff members are to direct visitors and contractors to the designated staging areas, to await instructions from emergency responders.  If any individual is not accounted for, such findings shall be reported immediately to the building manger.

VI.    Procedures for Residence Halls:

Community Directors are ultimately responsible for the fire evacuation procedure (Section III of this plan) in their respective buildings.  It is the Community Director’s responsibility to make sure that each Community Assistant, Desk Assistant, and resident is familiar with the fire safety plan for his/her respective building(s).  During their initial floor meeting each semester, Community Assistants will give fire safety information to the students who reside in their area of responsibility.  If a resident has a guest in their residence hall, that resident is responsible for escorting his or her guests out of the building, in the event of an emergency evacuation.  Upon a fire alarm activation, Community Assistants, Service Assistants, and Community Directors are to evacuate the building along with the students, guests, and/or residents and report to their designated staging area.  Once at the staging area, the Community Assistants, aided by the Service Assistants, are to account for their residents.  Any abnormalities (e.g. missing or otherwise unaccounted for students, staff, and/or guests) are to be immediately reported to the Building Manager or to University Police.  Under no circumstance should any student, student employee, guest, or staff member remain in a building during a fire alarm activation, unless expressly directed to do so by emergency personnel.

VII.   Assembly Use Groups:

1. Notification:

Assembly Use Groups are buildings or areas used for the public to assemble.  Examples of such buildings or areas on our campus include Kasser Theater, Memorial Auditorium, Student Center Ball Rooms, University Hall Conference Center, etc.  When these areas are used for public gatherings (e.g. not for a class) an audible announcement shall be made not more than ten minutes prior to the start of each program to notify the occupants of the location of the exits to be used in the event of a fire or other emergency and the location of the building’s staging area.

2. Training:

 Those employees assigned to evacuate persons from assembly use groups shall receive training in fire safety, exit and evacuation plans, and their duties during an emergency.  They shall receive this training at their orientation and annually thereafter.

VIII. Procedures for Summer Camps and Other Groups Staying   Overnight:

As with all groups staying overnight on the Campus of  Montclair State University, Summer Camps and other related groups will be responsible for their emergency evacuation and accountability.  The person responsible for the entire group (henceforth, the “Supervisor”), is responsible for ensuring that all of his or her campers or building occupants are aware of this plan.  In the event that the “Supervisor” has counselors, or other similar staffing to whom this duty may be delegated, he or she may delegate this duty to those individuals. 

“Supervisors,” and/or their delegated counselors, are to review the emergency egress plan with the building occupants. (Section III of this plan)  Please take note that the way you enter a building is not necessarily the closest exit.  Familiarize yourselves with the building before an emergency occurs.  Additionally, all occupants should be aware of the designated staging areas prior to the occurrence of an emergency.

In the event of an alarm, all building occupants are to immediately exit the building.  Elevators are not to be used.  Upon exiting the building, all occupants are to gather at the designated staging areas.  Once the occupants are staged, accountability, in the form of a head-count, is to be taken.  If counselors are taking the accountability, their findings must be reported to the “Supervisor” immediately.  Any discrepancy is to be immediately reported to the University Police Department, by either reporting to an officer upon his or her arrival on scene or by dialing campus police at (973) 655-5222.  It is important to remember to always err on the side of caution.

In the event that an individual is unable to exit the building, whether because of a physical impairment or due to a fire condition in the hallway, that person is to remain in his or her room and notify University Police at (973) 655-5222.  As a general practice, any group staying overnight should have the University Police Department’s telephone number programmed into their cellular telephones.

Finally, a fire drill will be conducted within 24 hours of each group’s arrival; participation in this drill is mandatory.

IX.    Procedure for Critical Employees to Remain in a Building during a Fire Alarm:

At no time should an employee of Montclair State University remain in a building when an alarm is sounding.  The only exceptions to this are emergency personnel (e.g. the police department or a representative of the Department of Fire Safety).  In the event that an unsafe condition exists, all such persons are to leave the building immediately.

X.      Other Employee Responsibilities:

Those employees who, as part of their job, are tasked with assignments which pose a fire hazard are to receive fire safety and extinguisher training.  Examples of such employees include, but are not limited to, plumbers, welders, electricians, and employees assigned to conduct or oversee “hot work.”

XI.    Staging and Accountability:

All employees will report to the building’s staging area, in the event of a building evacuation.  It is the responsibility of the hall directors, managers, and department heads to identify a responsible person (or persons, such as in the case of the residence hall directors) and a back-up person (or persons) to account for all employees, faculty, staff, students, and guests in their area at all times.  This person will establish a meeting area within the staging area designated for each building (See maps of staging areas and building evacuation plans for more details on staging areas) where, in the event of an emergency, his or her employees will meet.  At the staging area, this person will account for all employees that are in his or her work area and report his or her findings to a Building Manager or an Assistant Building Manager.  A Building Manager and Assistant Building Manager will be assigned to each building by the Dean or Vice President who is in charge of said building.  The Building Manager is to remain at a centralized area within the staging area until accountability is taken and reported.  In the event that a Building Manager is unavailable, the Assistant Building Manager will act as the Building Manager.  Once all departments have checked in with the Building Manager, he or she will report to the front of the building and give his or her findings to a University Police officer.

XII.   Emergency Aid:

Emergency aid (including emergency medical, fire, and rescue needs) will be provided by the University Police Department, the University Emergency Medical Services, and local fire departments.  To receive services from these organizations, contact University Police at (973) 655-5222.

XIII. Occupant Notification:

In the event that a building needs to be evacuated and no fire condition exists, emergency responders may activate the fire alarm system to signal the need to evacuate the building.  Notification may also be made through electronic voice communication systems (located in several of the University’s buildings), the campus text message alert system, and through e-mail.  In the event that a fire exists in a building, the automatic alarm system will notify the occupants of the hazard.  Manual pull stations may also be used to activate this system.

XIV. Notification of Activated Fire Alarms and Emergencies:

All fire alarm systems and campus wide emergency phones are monitored at University Police headquarters.  In the event of an activated fire alarm, the University Police Department will contact the appropriate fire department via phone or local police and fire radio frequencies.  After they evacuate, assuming they have pertinent information, employees, students, or others are asked to contact University Police in the event of a fire.  The additional data that can be gathered through your phone calls greatly helps responders in their response to our campus.  

XV.   Further Information and Explanation of the Duties under this Plan:

For further information and explanation of the duties under this plan, you may contact Robert Ferrara, Director of Fire Safety, at (973) 655-5401. 

D.        Training information:

Per the University’s Fire Evacuation Plan, all members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the fire evacuation plan.  The Department of Fire Safety offers fire safety training to all Residents, Community Assistants, and various departments throughout campus.  Fire Safety training for specific departments is always available through a request made by the unit supervisor.