1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to reduce or eliminate the potential threat of a fire by the improper use of open flame during a function held at the college that could result in personal injury and/or extensive property damage. There are limited exceptions to these restrictions. A) The proper and safe handling of equipment or fuel associated with an “open flame” officially performed during a sanctioned academic session with a college faculty member present. B) College sanctioned function where food service personnel are acting under safe and normal operational procedures to warm food in a function room or food prepared on an authorized grill outside of the building. C) Authorized traditional ceremonial practices.

2.0 Policy

Organizations, groups, and individuals are not permitted to have fuel or equipment designed for open flame use within the college buildings unless the building or area is specifically designed for such devices or unless written permission is granted by the Campus Safety and Security Manager or the Events Coordinator. Open flame devices include, but are not limited to, candles, sparklers, incense, flammable gel in cans or other devices, pyrotechnic devices, smoke foggers, torches, and butane burners.

Fuels and open flame devices must be transported, stored and maintained in appropriate fire safe containers.

Teaching labs that traditionally use flames such as Chemistry and other science labs are exempt from this policy although these labs must use safe practices and have quick access to fire extinguishers and fire alarms.

Food service operations using portable cooking equipment to keep food warm are permitted within the industry guidelines; however, the flammable gel (e.g., sterno) or other warming device must be placed on a non-combustible surface and/ or the flame cannot be allowed close to combustible materials.

Kitchens and food service operations should be conducted within the designed rooms for food service having operable exhaust hoods and automatic fire extinguishing systems.

Candles may be permitted for ceremonial purposes if the ceremony is approved by the Dean of Student Services or designee, if approved by the Campus Safety and Security Manager, and that the ceremony is supervised by a College faculty member or manager. A fire extinguisher should be located within or immediately outside the room used for the ceremony and safety precautions must be reviewed by the employee coordinating the ceremonial event prior to the event. The open flame cannot be left unattended and extinguished as soon as possible. After extinguishing the device the identified faculty member or manager is responsible for assuring that no heat source is maintained from the open flame device before leaving the room. Where possible, battery operated candles are preferred.

Open flame candles for use on tables or decorative devices at special events are discouraged. Battery operated candles are preferred. The Events Coordinator and the Campus Safety and Security Supervisor may grant an exception if the user group can demonstrate that the candles will be on noncombustible bases and the candle flame will be protected.

No open flame devices or fuel including candles, tea lights, votives, incense burners or other similar types, are permitted in offices, storage areas, or classrooms.

Propane gas containers must be maintained in proper condition, stored in proper protective cabinets and are not allowed inside the college buildings. Gas barbecue grills are permitted but only outdoors and at least three feet from the structure and away from combustible materials.

Welding and soldering for building maintenance and repair by qualified personnel is permitted with approval of the Facilities Manager or designee and when in compliance with OSHA, VOSH, and state fire codes. Fire extinguishers must be present at work site.

3.0 Procedures

4.0 Definitions

5.0 References

California State University Policy No. G-09
University of Louisville, Open Flame Policy
University of Florida Open Flame Policy
University of Kentucky Open Flame Policy

6.0 Point of Contact

Security & Safety Manager

7.0 Approval and Revision Dates

Approved by President’s Council on February 12, 2007.
Revised and approved by President’s Council March 16, 2009.

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