Follow university guidelines when decorating for the holidays
By Cindy Granier
With winter weather and the holidays rapidly approaching, holiday decorations will be arriving on campus. The following are a number of guidelines to apply when decorating office/work areas:
A. The top five days for candle fires are Halloween, Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Year’s
Day, and New Year’s Eve. The use of open flames, such as candles, is prohibited on campus. (MAPP 06.03.01 Fire and Life Safety Code).
B. Please ensure that decorations, tables, chairs and any other items do not block or obscure exits. This is particularly important during office or departmental gatherings.
- Decorations should be kept within the confines of the room. Paper decorations, lights and tinsel should not be strung across hallways and corridors.
- The use of holiday lights on doors should not be allowed.
- Decorative materials should be of a fire-resistive nature or chemically treated to make the materials fire-retardant. There are commercial products available or the following solution is acceptable: 9 ounces borax, 4 ounces boric acid, 1 gallon water, and ½ teaspoon low sudsing detergent.
- Natural materials such as straw and pine garlands should not be used.
- Paper decorations should not cover more than 25 percent of the surface of any wall. For example, if an office wall is 8 feet high by 10 feet long, the paper decorations should not cover more than 20 square feet of wall area.
- No items may be attached to or hung from sprinkler heads or sprinkler system piping. This is a particularly important requirement because of the potential breakage of the sprinkler heads, pipes, and pipe hangers.
C. Please prohibit the use of lighting on metallic trees. Only allow lights which have been tested by an independent agency, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
D. Please discourage the use of cut natural Christmas trees. If, however, a cut natural tree is utilized, it will be subject to the following restrictions:
- Contact the Fire Marshal’s Office for approval and assistance.
- Immerse the trunk in water or wet sand while the tree is located inside the building.
- Treat the tree with a flame-retardant product, if it is to be maintained in excess of 15 days.
- Place the tree in such a way as not to obstruct aisles or exits. Do not allow in proximity to any ready source of ignition.
- Remove the tree prior to the extended campus holiday shutdown.
E. Remove all decorations before departure for the holiday break.
Questions can be directed to Fire Marshal Chris McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-743-5866.