Housing & Residential Living


The safety of students is very important. As a result, the Carleton College has in place equipment, policies and procedures to help protect our residents. It is important that students be familiar with our policies and procedures so they can act responsibly to help keep themselves and others safe.

Fire Safety

The density of the population in the halls and houses, combined with the age of some of the buildings make fire safety an important issue for everyone. Like security, fire safety is the responsibility of every resident; one damaged smoke alarm or one overloaded extension cord can put the entire building at risk.

All residential facilities are protected by fire detection and fire fighting equipment. Each room has a smoke detector that will sound with a limited amount of smoke. Room detectors in the residence halls and the public areas of the houses are wired to a central alarm system. Should the battery in a smoke detector need replacement, contact the Maintenance Office at Ext. 4133 during the normal work week (M-F,8-5) and Security Services at Ext. 4444 after hours. Students are not to remove batteries. Always contact Security to silence/disconnect a detector (even if the detector is malfunctioning). When an extinguisher is used for any reason, inform Hall Staff immediately so they can contact Security Services or the Maintenance and Custodial Office to have the extinguisher recharged.

If you spot a fire or smoke, sound the alarm immediately. Then, from a safe location call the fire department (9-911) and Security (ext. 4444), identify yourself, and give the appropriate information on the location.

When a fire alarm sounds, all residents of the hall/house MUST leave the building via the nearest exit. NEVER USE THE ELEVATOR AS A MEANS OF ESCAPE. Once the situation is resolved/investigated, the “all clear” will be given by Security and residents may reenter the building. Students who do not leave the building during a fire alarm may face formal disciplinary charges. The minimum fine for a first offense is $250. Additional violations of this rule will increase the fine amount, up to $1000.

Students should acquaint themselves with the emergency escape plan of their living area. Throughout the year the fire alarm system is tested in each residence hall to assure that it is in working order. When an alarm sounds all residents must vacate the facility via the nearest exit to ensure their safety and to ascertain the cause of the alarm. Residents will be permitted to re-enter the building when Security Services personnel have determined it is safe to do so. If possible, before leaving the room, residents should close all windows, turn lights on, and exit via the stairwells, not the elevators. Residents should notify their RA, or Area Director immediately if they believe that a smoke detector or other fire fighting equipment is malfunctioning.

Tampering with equipment is not only against College policy and federal law, it jeopardizes the safety of every resident of that building. Covering smoke detectors, discharging fire extinguishers, setting off fire alarms under false pretenses or failing to leave the building when a fire alarm sounds have life-threatening implications. In addition to any local municipal action, the College reserves the right to initiate formal disciplinary charges for these offenses. The minimum fine for a first offense is $250. Additional violations of this rule will increase the fine amount, up to $1000. There may be additional restitution costs for any items needing maintenance.

Safety inspections are conducted by Residential Life Staff in all student residential facilities. During Fall term residents and staff identify any potential fire or safety hazards existing within rooms and alert residents as to hazards. Fire drills are conducted each term. Residents are expected to comply with the fire safety guidelines provided and to remedy any existing problem. Hallways should remain clear at all times as furniture or personal belongings left in the hallway block access and increase risk of personal injury. Electrical cords are not to be run through hallway doors due to increased risk of fire. Residents are not to have items or materials in their rooms, nor are they to decorate their rooms, in a manner that could increase the risk of fire.

Security and Safety

Safety is fundamental to group living. We need each resident to do his/her share in keeping our residential spaces safe for everyone. Please contact Security Services or Residential Life if you have any questions.


Residential Life, Ext. 4072

Security Services, Ext. 4444 (24 hours a day)

Severe Weather and Tornadoes

Living in the Midwest, we must contend with the threat of severe weather which may include tornado activity. On the first Wednesday of each month the city of Northfield tests the tornado warning system at 1 p.m.. In the event of a threat of a tornado approaching the area, the City will sound the warning siren. Should you hear the siren, please go immediately to the lowest level in the building. If there are windows at that level, please go to an inside corridor or any area without windows. Most buildings on campus have blue and white signs to identify safe areas. You should stay within the safe area until the all clear siren sounds. In the event of a tornado warning, Security Services and Residential Life will work with students and staff to move individuals to safe areas.

Approved by Residential Life on July 25, 2007.

For: Students

Last Reviewed: September 15, 2014

Maintained by: Residential Life

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