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Fire Prevention

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Old Dominion University is committed to instilling a culture of fire prevention and life safety within the campus community. Led by a full-time Fire Prevention Manager and a part-time Fire Prevention Inspector with over 60 combined years in the fire service, the ODU Office of Fire Prevention's programs focus on fire prevention and life safety education, realistic training, proactive inspections and enforcement, customer service, and modern technology to realize our goal of a fire-safe campus.

Through a partnership with local fire departments, fire prevention bureaus, and the Virginia State Fire Marshal's Office, the ODU Office of Fire Prevention works to meet or exceed all local and State fire code requirements. In particular, we work closely with Norfolk Fire-Rescue - the first responder to all main campus fire and medical emergencies - to plan for, train, exercise, respond to, and mitigate fire hazards in all University facilities.

ODU Fire Prevention Policies & Procedures

Smoke-Free Campus

  • All campus buildings, residence halls, and student rooms are smoke-free (including vaping)
  • Smoking is not allowed within 20 feet of any building entrance
  • Smoking any substance or creating smoke through the use of incense, candles, or other smoke-producing items is prohibited in all campus buildings, including residence halls
  • Students documented for possession of candles/incense in a residence hall may be assessed a fee of up to $75
  • Students documented for burning candles/smoking in a residence hall may be assessed a fee of up to $100

Fire Evacuation

  • When a fire alarm sounds, all building occupants (including residents) are required to stop activities, exit the building, and meet in the building's designated Emergency Assembly Area(s) (EAA). When leaving, feel doors for heat with the back of the hand, crouch low to the ground, protect the nose and mouth if smoke is present, and leave via the closest accessible exit."
  • Failure to evacuate for any reason may result in referral to the judicial system and assessment of up to a $50 fee for the first offense and $75 for the second offense

Tampering with Fire Safety Equipment

  • Any student, faculty, or staff member who tampers (which includes but is not limited to covering, removing, defacing, damaging, or rendering inoperable) with fire and life safety equipment to include fire alarm systems, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, emergency egress lighting, or exit signage is subject to disciplinary action, which may include up to a $200 fine
  • Any student, faculty, or staff member who deliberately activates a false fire alarm is subject to disciplinary action, which may include dismissal from the residence hall, possible suspension from the university, or other penalties
  • The Old Dominion University Police Department may charge any violator tampering with fire safety equipment a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $2,500 and/or 12 months in jail

Negligent Alarms

  • Residents who activate a fire alarm as a result of negligence (including but not limited to cooking, hair styling, steam, etc.) may be assessed up to a $50 fine

The Virginia House

Residence Hall Fire Prevention

Old Dominion University houses over 4,600 students in 56 on-campus housing facilities. We are proud to say our housing facilities meet or exceed all minimum fire and life safety standards. The following items are prohibited in residence halls:

  • Extension cords
  • Multi-plug adapters
  • Halogen and torch lamps
  • Toasters/toaster ovens
  • George Foreman type grills
  • Hazardous materials
  • Appliances with exposed heating elements
  • Explosives/flammables/propane/gas grills
  • Motorized vehicles
  • Firearms/weapons/Incendiary devices
  • Live Christmas trees
  • Candles/incense/oil lamps/open flames
  • Portable heaters
  • Fireworks

HRL Fire Extinguisher

Education, Training, and Outreach Programs

The ODU Office of Fire Prevention offers multiple educational and outreach opportunities to the greater University community, including fire prevention awareness, fire extinguisher use, Stop the Bleed training, and child safety seat checks. For more information, please call (757) 683-5166 or email firesafety@odu.edu.


Procedures and Forms

Fire Protection Impairment Program: The Fire Protection Impairment Program provides instructions to authorized individuals who wish to request to modify the normal operation of the University's fire alarm, fire protection, and/or life safety systems during events including but not limited to construction, demolition, outages, maintenance, testing, and building system impairments. Persons who wish to take any fire protection system out of service for any reason must fill out a request for a permit to do so. These documents contain an effective management program used to minimize the risks associated with fire alarm and fire protection impairments.

Hot Work: Personnel conducting hot work on ODU property must review the ODU Hot Work Safety Guide and apply for a Hot Work Permit with the Office of Fire Prevention. Upon permit approval, personnel must follow the provisions set forth in the Hot Work Safety Guide and Hot Work Permit, and post Hot Work Signage outside of the designated work area until work is complete.

Fire Watch: A Fire Watch must be implemented when an occupied building's fire protection systems or equipment are out of service, and must remain in effect until the systems or equipment are returned to service. A Fire Watch Form, Patrol Log, and Signage must be used when performing Fire Watch duties.