Skip to main content

Residence Hall Safety

Holiday Decorating

Cooking Safety

Most fires in the United States begin in the kitchen as a result of cooking. Please protect yourself by following these guidelines.

Cooking Safety Tips

  • Always turn on the stove exhaust fan if available
  • Cook only where permitted at SCU
  • Keep cooking areas clean and clean of combustible materials (e.g. food packaging, potholders, rags and towels)
  • Never leave cooking food on the stove top unattended
  • Never place metal products in the microwave
  • Never plug a microwave into an extension cord
  • Turn pot handles inward so they cannot be bumped

In the Event of a Stove Top Fire

  • If safe, turn off the burner
  • If safe, smother the flames with baking soda
  • Never pour water on a grease fire
  • Never discharge a fire extinguisher onto a pan fire since it can splatter the burning grease out of the pan and spread the fire
  • Exit the area and close the door
  • Call Campus Safety Services at (408) 554-4444 and pull the fire alarm pull station to notify others in the building

Candle and Open Flame Safety

Fire prevention techniques such Candle and Open Flame Safety are essential to ensuring the health and safety of the Santa Clara University community.  The following requirements apply to Residential Learning Communities:

  • Candles are not permitted or allowed in any Housing Building or SCU Housing Owned Property

Corridor Safety

An exit corridor and/or stairway is a pedestrian pathway that allows direct access to the outside of a building and/or allows access to a building entrance and subsequent pathways to the outside of a building (e.g. an exit corridor is the quickest, easiest and most director pathway for leaving a building).  Since exit corridors or passageways are the primary means for egress during an emergency, residents shall follow the safety guidelines outlined below:

  • Keep all means of egress clean, clutter-free and unobstructed
  • Do not place hazardous materials or equipment in areas that are used for evacuation 

Common kitchen appliances such as microwave ovens, coffee makers and toasters can be found in many residence halls and shared cooking spaces. Although routinely used, these devices could cause an injury or fire to occur if not properly maintained and used. 

Safety Tips for Kitchen Appliances:

When using appliances, there are several precautions that can be taken to reduce the chances of an injury or fire.

  • Appliances should be listen by an approval agency such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Appliances may have a UL label attached to the electrical cord or the back of the unit.

Use the UL Online Certifications Directory to determine if a piece of equipment has been UL Certified.

  • Always read the warning labels and operations instructions to ensure you have placed the appliance in a suitable location and can use it safely.
  • Remain with your food while you are using a microwave over or toaster. If you food overheats and begins to smoke, you should immediately turn the appliance off. This will help prevent a fire and reduce the chance of fire alarm activation. 
  • Always make sure that the vents on your microwave oven are not blocked or located next to combustible materials. 
  • To help prevent a fire, never place paper plates, napkins, dish towels or other materials that can burn on top of or close to a cooking or heating type appliance. 
  • To reduce the risks of an electrical shock, always make sure that the area around your appliance is kept dry. Remember that electricity and water do not mix.
  • If an electrical appliance gets wet, unplug it before you attempt to dry it, even if it is in the "off" position. 
  • Always use the manual "On" switch for your coffee maker instead of the automatic start feature. This will help ensure that someone in the area can turn it off if a problem develops.
  • Make sure appliance cords do not come in contact with hot surfaces.
  • Periodically check appliance cords for frays, broken plugs or damaged wires. If you discover any damage, unplug the appliance and have the damaged cored repaired. 
  • Do not continue to use an appliance that is damaged or malfunctioning. If an appliance feels too hot, smokes or gives off a strange odor, unplug it immediately and have it serviced or replaced.
  • Always pull by the plug from the socket when disconnecting an appliance. Do not pull on the appliance cord. 
  • Unplug any appliances that will not be used for an extended period of time, such as during extended holiday breaks.

Additional Resources: