Fire and Life Safety

Students are prohibited by Massachusetts law and MIT regulations from committing fire and safety violations, including but not limited to:

  • conducting maker activities that involve the use of solder irons, hot knives, or 3D printers, or any tools or activities that are classified as orange, yellow or red light risk level activities under Project Manus
  • setting a fire, making a bomb threat, issuing a false alarm, failing or refusing to evacuate during a fire alarm
  • tampering with firefighting equipment, fire-alarm systems, fire protection sprinklers, or smoke detectors
  • students are not allowed to cover more than 40 inches by 40 inches per wall of the walls in their rooms, suites or apartments, and no more than 1/3 of their doors with decorations and/or tapestries. Ceilings may not be covered or decorated.
  • natural evergreens are prohibited, in any room, corridor, stairwell, lounge, dining hall, lobby, or other public area
  • using a fireplace in a manner that does not comply with MIT guidelines
  • placing objects in any exit or on fire escapes
  • entering or occupying the roof of any residence except in areas designed for, and approved by, MIT for assembly use
  • possessing, using or burning candles or incense, but using flameless candles is permitted
  • possessing or using microwaves, toaster ovens, pressure cookers, slow cookers or other cooking devices in student bedrooms without a kitchen facility
  • possessing and using space heaters that have not been provided by MIT HRS
  • possessing and using vaporizers, air purifiers, or other plug in devices that release steam. Excessive moisture can lead to mold and other problems.  Students who have medical conditions should work with Disability Access Services and their House Operations Manager to arrange appropriate accommodations.

Students may be subject to disciplinary action for violation of any Massachusetts law or MIT fire safety regulations.

Fire Alarms
When a fire alarm is activated in a residence hall, residents are required by law to evacuate to their designated meeting points. Residents who do not evacuate may be subject to disciplinary action from the Division of Student Life and/or the Committee on Discipline.  Institute policy is to evacuate immediately, NOT to fight fires.

Evacuation Procedure 

In the unlikely event of a fire, please follow the building evacuation procedure listed below: 

  1. Select the nearest exit
  2. Do not take the elevator
  3. Activate the manual fire alarm if not already sounding
  4. Travel along the right-hand side of corridors and stairwells
  5. If possible, direct yourself to the designated assembly locations* for your building (indoor or outdoor), and away from fire lanes. 
  6. Do not stand in front of the building entrance.  Firefighters require easy access to the building.
  7. If there is inclement weather, take shelter in nearby buildings wherever possible.
  8. Once the Cambridge Fire Department or staff from Housing & Residential Services give the ‘all clear,’ you may return to your room.

*Assembly locations are reported on the Emergency Evacuation Plan posted on each floor next to elevators and stairs.

Emergency Plans
Each residence hall has a detailed emergency preparedness plan that includes information on fire alarms, evacuations, evacuation meeting points, shelter-in-place instructions, fire marshals, and other items. Copies of these plans can be obtained from the House Operations Manager in each residence hall.
Basic evacuation information is also posted on the back of every bedroom door and each elevator or stairwell where no elevator exists. Area Directors and Graduate Resident Advisors (GRAs) who reside in the halls are trained annually in MIT fire safety practices. 

Recreational Fires & Barbeques

The City of Cambridge prohibits the use of chimineas, fire pits and outdoor fireplaces.  Guidance regarding barbecues and other outdoor cooking on campus is available on the MIT Environment, Health & Safety Office website.

Fire Safety Resource

Please visit the MIT Emergency Management website for preparedness information and guidance on what steps you should take in the event of a fire.