Every room has full smoke detection with at least one smoke detector in each room and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors where required. When activated these devices will sound an alarm locally. Alll smoke detector alarms will report to the Department of Public Safety which will respond. It is important that you vacate your room when a smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector alarm sounds.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Detectors

What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas produced when fuels such as wood, gasoline and heating oil burn incompletely. Fireplaces, gas furnaces, gas stoves, charcoal grills and other devices that use combustion are potential sources of CO.

Effects of exposure to CO
Carbon monoxide replaces oxygen in the bloodstream. Individuals suffering from CO poisoning effectively suffocate, since even though their breathing is unhindered, they cannot get enough oxygen into the bloodstream. Mild CO poisoning (e.g. exposure to a concentration higher than 400 parts per million for 2-3 hours) feels like the flu, with symptoms including fatigue, nausea, vomiting and headaches. Higher exposure can result in disorientation, severe headaches, difficulty breathing and ultimately death.

How a CO detector works
The carbon monoxide detector installed in your living area measures how much CO has accumulated in parts per million (ppm) and displays a digital readout of the concentration in parts per million (ppm). The monitor takes measurements every 2.5 minutes and sounds an alarm before the concentration of CO becomes high enough for adults to begin to experience symptoms. The alarm sounds when CO levels reach 100 ppm over 90 minutes, 200 ppm over 35 minutes or 400 ppm over 15 minutes.

What do I do if the alarm sounds?
Evacuate immediately. From another area, call Public Safety at (609) 258-3333 and report the alarm. Do not re-enter the room until instructed to do so by Public Safety, Site Protection or Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). Public Safety will contact either Site Protection or EHS to measure CO levels and determine the necessary course of action. Each monitor is designed to minimize the possibility of false alarms, so treat all alarms as a real problem.

May I put furniture in front of the monitor?
The monitor will not function properly if it is covered up. Make sure there are at least a few inches of clearance around the monitor to allow air to flow through it. Do not place large pieces of furniture or bedding in front of it.

How could the monitor be damaged?
The CO monitor is sensitive to extreme temperature, high humidity and liquids. It should not be placed in very hot or very cold areas.  Water and cleaning solvents spilled or sprayed onto the monitor can cause damage.

Am I responsible for a damaged or lost monitor?
Housing inspectors will include the CO monitors in their routine inspection. If the monitor is missing or damaged by the resident, the resident will be responsible for the replacement cost of the monitor. If the monitor is left unplugged, the resident may be fined.

Who can I contact for more information?
For information about the CO monitor, contact a Housing inspector. For inquiries about the health effects of carbon monoxide, contact EHS at (609) 258-5294.

A 24-inch clearance must be maintained around smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, and carbon monoxide detectors at all times. Tampering with any component of the smoke detection system, sprinkler system, and/or carbon monoxide detector is prohibited.

Absolutely nothing may be attached to wiring, smoke detectors, sprinkler system components, and/or carbon monoxide detectors. Students will be charged for repair and/or replacement of any detection device, and a fine will be issued to all room occupants with possible disciplinary action by the Dean's Office.

Please refer to Fine Schedule for penalty.

Fine Schedules

Candles and incense are not permitted in any undergraduate or graduate dormitory room, annex or common space and will be confiscated and disposed of immediately. Please refer to Fine Schedule for penalty. If a candle cannot be easily removed from its holder, container or receptacle, all parts will be confiscated and disposed of. If unattended lit items are discovered, these items will be extinguished, confiscated and disposed of immediately.  Please refer to Fine Schedule for penalty.

Alcohol lamps, oil lamps, fireworks (including hand held sparklers, ground based sparklers and novelties), flammable or combustible materials such as gasoline, kerosene, propane, lighter fluid, charcoal products containing accelerants, or similar substances are also not permitted in any student housing unit. When discovered, the item will be confiscated and disposed of immediately.  Please refer to Fine Schedule for penalty. Grills are prohibited as is grilling without the permission of the University. Grills discovered on exterior grounds will be confiscated and immediately disposed of.

Fine Schedules

Conference & Event Services Use of Outdoor Space Policy

The New Jersey Hotels and Multiple Dwelling Act, and University policy prohibit cooking in dormitory and annex rooms.

Microfridges rented through the Princeton Student Agencies Dorm Furnishings Agency are allowed, but student-owned microwaves are not permitted anywhere in dormitories or annexes. Additional information regarding microfridges is posted on the "Microfridges" section of "Dormitory and Annex Regulations."

If discovered, unauthorized appliances will be confiscated. Please refer to Fine Schedule for penalty.

Dormitory and Annex Regulations - Microfridges

Fine Schedules

Affixing items
You may not affix anything to a window or egress door (room entry door, bedroom door, hallway door, etc.).

If discovered, please refer to Fine Schedule for penalty.

Egress doors must open fully without hindrance from items in the path of the door swing. If large items such as furniture or boxes are found blocking a door, Fine Schedule # 1 applies. If smaller items such as clothing and paper are found,  refer to Fine Schedule for penalty.

Tampering with safety seals on any egress door is prohibited.

Second means of egress
A number of rooms on the upper floors of several dormitories have a second means of egress that is intended for emergency exit. The second means of egress takes two forms:

  • Emergency doors between suites on the same floor leading to a fire door in the adjoining suite
  • An emergency door connecting to a suite on the same floor that has a fire escape

Additional regulations governing emergency exit doors

  • Furniture or impediments may not be placed on either side of any emergency door at any time.
  • The protective glass doorknob cover is a security device and may be broken or removed by students only in a true emergency situation.
  • You will be charged $100 for the replacement or reinstallation of knob covers that are broken or removed unless the Department of Public Safety verifies that an emergency justified such breakage. Tampering with or removing any University-installed seals or breaking glass enclosures is prohibited.
  • The glass doorknob cover that protects the second means of egress can be removed if all students affected by its removal approve. To have the cover removed contact the Housing Inspection Office at The charge for this service is $50.00, which absorbs the cost of the cover’s removal and its reinstallation when the current residents vacate.
  • Locks, slide bolts, hooks and eyes, chains, or other devices may not be installed on any emergency door (including individual bedroom doors and those from which the glass cover has been removed) within suites that give access to any emergency door or fire escape serving that suite. The residents of the suite will be charged for the removal of any illegally-installed impediments.

Fine Schedules

Only University electrical wiring is permitted in dormitory rooms. You may use UL listed, fused power strips with cords of 12 feet or less; however, you may not use power strips in series to gain greater length.

Electrical cords must not be routed unsafely (under carpets, in pathways, through doorways, taped down, etc). Spliced, taped or frayed cords must not be used. Electrical wiring which is homemade or otherwise modified is prohibited.

Non-breaker, multi-outlet devices such as adapters, cubes, etc. are prohibited. Dimmer switches, ceiling fixtures and ceiling fans may not be installed.

If any of the above items are discovered, refer to Fine Schedule for penalty.

Fine Schedules

Policies governing evacuation placards and other safety signs are posted in the “Evacuation Placards and Other Safety Signs” section under "Dormitory Regulations."

Dormitory and Annex Regulations - Evacuation Placards and Other Safety Signs

All dormitories and annexes are equipped with an alarm system that has audible and visible alarms and can be activated by manual pull stations or smoke detection. If you hear or see an alarm, evacuate immediately, unless you have specific emergency responsibilities, and go to your designated assembly point. Assembly points are listed at the Princeton University Emergency Preparedness website.

If re-occupancy is not imminent, you will be directed to Dillon Gym. Depending on the severity and scale of the event that triggered the evacuation, Public Safety will implement accounting procedures for residents and you are expected to cooperate in the effort. At Dillon, telephone service and e-mail connections will be provided to allow you to contact family members.

During an emergency, students and visitors who may not be familiar with this plan must be informed of the requirement to evacuate. Special attention should also be given to anyone with disabilities, especially those who are visitors or unfamiliar with the building.

Resident College Advisors (RCAs), Dorm Assistants (DAs) and Resident Graduate Students (RGSs)
For the purposes of emergency procedures and evacuations, RCAs, DAs and RGSs are considered residents only and are not assigned or expected to perform any additional duties. However, at the designated assembly points, RCAs should account for all of their advisees.

Assistance in an evacuation
If you think you might need specialized assistance in recognizing an alarm (i.e. a visual alarm device) or help during an evacuation (i.e. specialized evacuation equipment or alternative egress route planning) due to a medical condition or disability, you may contact your emergency coordinator to arrange for an evaluation. Self-identification is voluntary.

All such requests and any special arrangements made will only be disclosed to Public Safety and individuals who have a responsibility to assist under the plan. Remember that elevators are tied to the fire detection system and are not available to residents once a fire alarm sounds.

Emergency Preparedness Website

Exterior elevated areas (fire escapes, roofs, parapets, etc.) of dormitories are intended as a second means of egress in an emergency. Do not place items in these areas at any time or under any circumstances.

Antennae, wires, lights, banners (except for the flag of a country), etc. may not be placed on or affixed to the exterior of any building.

If any of the above items are discovered, refer to Fine Schedule for penalty.

Fine Schedules

Intentional activation of a fire alarm when there is no fire emergency is a violation of state law and will result in a $100 fine and possible disciplinary action by the Dean’s Office with no warning issued.

State law requires regular, unannounced fire drills. Whether drills are conducted during the day or night, full cooperation in quickly and safely evacuating a building is expected.

A student who fails to cooperate or leave the building when a fire alarm sounds is fined $50 and referred to the Dean's Office for disciplinary action.

A student who again fails to leave the building during a subsequent drill may be subject to further disciplinary action and/or may be required to vacate his or her dormitory permanently, with no credit given for the balance of the housing contract.

Fire extinguishers may not be removed from their proper locations or discharged unless there is a true fire emergency. Anyone found tampering with a fire extinguisher will be fined $100 per extinguisher or per student, whichever is greater. Violators also face possible disciplinary action by the Dean’s Office.

Building Services maintains and services portable fire extinguishers; report vandalism and/or discharged fire extinguishers to the Facilities Customer Service Center at (609) 258-8000 or submit an online service request at their website.

Facilities Customer Service Center