Life Safety

Problems that might qualify as a life safety emergency:

Smoke Detector

Smoke detectors are typically located on the ceiling or high on the wall.  Most residence halls have 120Volt equipment backed up by batteries or they are connected to a system.  If the batteries are removed or put in backwards, the equipment will chirp intermittently.  If the smoke detector is beeping or chirping, it will still work.  The batteries are changed on an annual basis during a regular preventive maintenance exercise. Tampering with fire alarm systems or components is against the housing guidelines.

If the smoke detector is beeping or chirping intermittently, submit a FixIt request.

Smoke Smells

Smoke smells in dorms could be coming from several sources.  If you see smoke, fire or sense imminent danger to yourself, other occupants, or the building itself, pull the closest pull station and evacuate the building.  There are fire extinguishers available in all dorms as a preventive measure to limit damage.  All fires must be reported to GWPD at 202-994-6111.

Smoke smells may also be a result of: 

  • Dust on heating equipment (this is typical during the summer to winter transitions)
  • HVAC system equipment belts emitting a burned rubber smell through the ductwork

Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are provided in residence halls as a preventive measure.  All fire extinguishers are on an annual preventive maintenance schedule to be checked, filled if needed, and recertified.   If an extinguisher is expired, it will still work, but you should submit a FixIt ticket.  If the extinguisher is discharged, GWPD must be given notice so it can be replaced 202-994-6110.  Tampering with life safety equipment is against the housing guidelines policy. 


Sprinkler heads will be located throughout the buildings. These should not be tampered with in anyway.  Do not hang any items from the sprinkler head.    

Water leaking, dripping or pouring out of the sprinkler head would qualify as a sprinkler emergency. 


Have a maintenance request?

Submit your maintenance issue through FixIt, our on-line maintenance portal. 

Emergency requests should be called into Facilities Central at 202-994-6706 option 2.