MSU Fire Safety Staff

Fire Safety

The Office of Fire Safety is responsible for all aspects of life safety throughout the University. This includes fire and life safety inspections of campus buildings to ensure compliance with fire and life safety codes as well as reviewing plans for construction and renovation projects. Preventive activities include fire prevention training for University personnel, conducting fire and evacuation drills, testing of fire detection and protection equipment, providing educational programs, evaluating materials and establishing guidelines for fire-safe materials.

Montclair State University Fire Prevention Plan


Fire Safety Resources

Life Safety Systems Information




Life Safety Systems

  1. Emergency Fire Response
  2. False Alarms
  3. Fire Inspections
  4. Fire Extinguishers

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 Montclair State University 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.

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.

Montclair State University Emergency personnel responds to any 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, Montclair State University 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 Montclair State University 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. All fire alarms are monitored 24 hours. 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.

Because 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. Montclair State University 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.

E. Fire Safety Systems in Student Housing

All student housing structures contain fire alarms that report to the University Police Headquarters by way of a state-of-the-art Notifier Monitoring System. The hardware for the Notifier Monitoring System was last up-graded in 2016.

All on-campus Student Housing facilities are equipped with a full NFPA 13 fire suppression system installed throughout each building. Sprinkler testing is conducted quarterly by a State Certified Contractor and University Fire Safety employee.

A description of each on-campus student housing facility and its corresponding fire safety system is identified in the table below with an indication of the most recent improvements:

Building Description of Fire Safety System
Blanton Hall The fire alarm system was upgraded in 2013 to a Voice Activation System and room detectors were upgraded in 2015 from 110v smoke detectors, to wireless monitored device that now report to University Police
Bohn Hall The fire alarm was last upgraded in 2016 to a Voice Activation System with addressable room detectors that report to University Police
Freeman Hall The fire alarm was last upgraded in 2014 to an addressable fire alarms system that reports all alarms to University Police
Russ Hall The fire alarm was last upgraded to an addressable fire alarms system that reports all alarms to University Police
Sinatra Hall This facility was constructed in 2014 to include a Voice Activation System with addressable fire alarm systems that report all alarms to University Police
Dinallo Heights This facility was constructed in 2011 to include a Voice Activation System with addressable room detectors that report to University Police
Machuga Heights This facility was constructed in 2011 to include a Voice Activation System with addressable room detectors that report to University Police
Hawks Crossing Room detectors were last upgraded in 2015 to a wireless monitored fire alarm system with addressable room detectors that report to University Police
The Village The fire alarm is a fully addressable smoke detection system that reports to University Police

F. Plans for Future Life Safety Improvements

A description of future plans for fire safety improvements to each on-campus student housing facility is identified in the below table:

Building Description of Fire Safety System
Freeman Hall Upgrade main fire alarm panels in this building to a Voice Evacuation Mass Notification system
Russ Hall Upgrade main fire alarm panels in this building to a Voice Evacuation Mass Notification system
Hawk Crossings Upgrade each of the main fire alarm systems beginning in 2020.  Replace the previous wired system installed in 2015 with a fully addressable Notifier System with Intelliquad carbon monoxide sensor detectors.
Fire Permits

The State of New Jersey Division of Fire Safety, for the following activities on campus, requires fire permits.  These are some of the required permits: Cooking, food trucks, open flame (bonfire or open fire) tents over 900 sq ft or over 30 feet in any direction, made up as one tent or mutable tents but together , welding cutting, fireworks, fumigation, insect fogging carnivals .

Permits are required to be processed a minimum of two weeks prior to the event, the Department of Fire Safety at Montclair State University, will apply for all permits with the state to streamline the process, outside vendors must fill out the permit applications and the departments shall include an account charge back number prior to the permit being processed.

Request a Fire Permit Here

Please submit completed permit applications two weeks prior to the event to

Outside Cooking Permits

Because barbecues present a hazard, a permit and an inspection by the Office of Fire Safety are required for campus groups, organizations, departments, offices, or other bodies to hold barbecues.

Enclosed Mobile Food Trucks Permitting & Inspection Requirements


The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety has determined that “Enclosed Mobile Food Truck” vehicles, once they are parked and operating, are “premises” and subject to ALL regulations and permit requirements contained in the New Jersey Uniform Fire Code.

Administrative Requirements

1) The operator must obtain a Type 1 Permit (enclosed mobile food truck requiring a fixed suppression system) (N.J.A.C. 5:70-2.7(a)3.xii)

2) Permits will not be granted unless a completed application and payment of the application fee is received by the Department of Fire Safety during normal business hours, at least two (2) business days prior to the commencement of the event. (N.J.A.C. 5:70-2.7(b)).

3) For the purposes of this policy, “completed application” shall include all information requested on the application form.

4) If the applicant is someone other than a representative of the property owner, a letter from the property owner authorizing the applicant to perform the permitted function is required to be included with the initial application.

5) A permit application will be not accepted unless the permit fee in the form of cash or check or credit card payment is provided. (N.J.A.C. 5:70-2.7(i))

6) The applicant shall specify and date/time requested for inspection on the application form. No permit will be issued until such time as an inspection is completed. (N.J.A.C. 5:70-2.7(c)).

7) The igniting of gas-powered appliances prior to an inspection shall constitute a violation of the code and the operator shall be subject to penalty (N.J.A.C. 5:70-2.12(b)7i)

Technical Requirements:

1.)A food truck utilizing a cooking operation that, by way of cooking method or type of cuisine, creates grease laden vapors, must be equipped with an exhaust hood and a kitchen hood fire suppression system (NJAC 5:70-4.7(g))

2.) The suppression system must be inspected/tested within previous 6 months by a company possessing a valid NJ Division of Fire Safety Contractor Permit (if the truck is registered in another state, such as PA or NY, then it must have been inspected within the last 6 months, but the inspection does not have to be performed by a company having a NJ Division of Fire Safety Contractor Permit). (Section 904.5.1, 2006 IFC, NJ Ed.)

3.) The operator must have a copy of the actual fire suppression system inspection report in the vehicle (not just the cylinder tag).

4.) The truck must be equipped with a “K” type portable fire extinguisher, if the truck is equipped with deep fat fryers. (Section 906-4, 2006 IFC, NJ Ed.)

4.) Propane cylinders must be inspected for rust, damage, dents, leaks, alterations. (NFPA 58-

5.) Propane hoses, exposed portions, must be inspected for general condition and leaks. (NFPA 58-6.18.2)

6.) Maximum propane tank size is 125 lbs. (300 gal wc). (There is no maximum amount per vehicle) (NFPA 58-

7.) Propane containers and regulators must be installed on the outside of the vehicle, unless in a cabinet that is vapor tight to the inside of the vehicle, accessible only from outside the vehicle, and properly vented to the exterior of the vehicle. (NFPA 58-

8.) Propane cylinders must be attached to the vehicle-they may not be free standing, even if properly secured (NFPA 58-

9.) Propane cylinder valves, regulators, hoses, etc., must be protected from damage from physical impact, stones, mud, etc. (NFPA 58-6.21.3(B))

10.) Regulators must be installed so that the pressure relief valve is pointing downward and the vent must be protected to prevent dirt, mud, etc., from entering the vent (NFPA 58-

11.) The entire vehicle is subject to full inspection for all other applicable requirements provided for “premises” in accordance with NJ Uniform Fire Code, sub –chapter 3

Barbecue Grill Safety Guidelines

  • Obtain permission for barbecuing prior to your event from the Office of Fire Safety.
  • Obtain a fire extinguisher from the Office of Fire Safety prior to your event and have it readily available during your event. Never take an extinguisher from a building, unless an emergency necessitates it.
  • Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic.
  • Watch your food! Always pay attention to your food to prevent it from burning.
  • Use long-handled grilling tools, to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames when cooking food.
  • Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill, so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
  • Use only outdoors! If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, barbecue grills pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to carbon monoxide.

Charcoal Grills

  • Purchase the proper starter fluid and store out of reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.
  • Starter fluids are prohibited from being stored within any campus building.
  • After you are done cooking, place coals in a metal container and fill the container with water, to ensure that the coals are completely extinguished.

Propane Grills

  • Check the propane cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will reveal escaping propane quickly by releasing bubbles.
  • If you determined your grill has a gas leak by smell or the soapy bubble test and there is no flame:
    • Turn off the propane tank and grill.
    • If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
    • If the leak does not stop, call University Police at 973-655-5222.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call University Police at 973-655-5222. Do not attempt to move the grill.
  • All propane cylinders manufactured after April 2002 must have overfill protection devices (OPD). OPDs shut off the flow of propane before capacity is reached, limiting the potential for release of propane gas if the cylinder heats up. OPDs are easily identified by their triangular-shaped hand wheel.
  • Use only equipment bearing the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions on how to set up the grill and maintain it.
  • Never store propane cylinders in buildings or garages.

Hot Work Permits

Many departments and contractors have to perform “hot work” as part of their duties on campus. This work creates a possible hazard to not only the workers, but also to the building occupants. Because of this, the Office of Fire Safety strictly controls all “hot work” performed in the buildings and grounds of Montclair State University, with the exception of hot work performed by physical plant staff. Depending on where the work is performed, what type of work is being performed, and what the University is statutorily required to do, additional costs may be incurred for this work. The requesting department may be billed for services rendered due to these obligations.

Red Tag Permits

Red Tag Permits are used when components of the University’s fire sprinkler systems are disabled for construction, renovations, and other similar work. Because of the nature of this permit, the applicant must demonstrate an absolute need for the impairment of these systems. Additionally, it is important that as much time as possible is allotted for these permits to be issued, as the Office of Fire Safety is responsible for coordinating the system shut downs with various University and external departments and agencies. Depending on where the work is performed, what type of work is being performed, and what the University is statutorily required to do, additional costs may be incurred for this work. The requesting department may be billed for services rendered due to these obligations.

Tent Permits

When tents are erected on our campus, they are often subject to inspection by the State Division of Fire Safety or from various code compliance offices within Montclair State University. The purpose of the tent permit application is to determine whether the tent will require an inspection from the State, our department, or another department; it is also intended to aid the requester in the obtainment of a permit from the State Division of Fire Safety, should one be needed, as the permit application supplies all the information that we need. In the event that the State of New Jersey is not obligated to perform a tent inspection, the University’s Office of Fire Safety will perform the inspection. As a result of a State or other inspection, additional fees may be incurred for the erection of a tent; this permit application will help the campus community in determining the level of inspection and any associated fees required. To help us in coordinating your tent permits, this application should be filed at least 20 days prior to your event.

Theatrical Permits

In an effort to comply with the Office of Fire Safety’s obligation to ensure the safety of our campus community and to comply with the request from the State Division of Fire Safety that we ensure that all theatrical performances are inspected, we have developed this application to streamline the notification and inspection process.


The Center for Campus Fire Safety

Logo of Center for Campus Fire Safety Member Organizations

Montclair State University is a proud member of CCFS, a non-profit organization comprised of more than 4,000 campus fire and life safety officials devoted to reducing the loss of life from fire on college campuses.  Robert Ferrara, Director of Fire Safety, serves as a Director on the CCFS leadership team.

Center for Campus Fire Safety


Contact Fire Safety
150 Clove Road