Fire Safety Information

Familiarize yourself with fire safety information for specific activities listed below.

Be alert and be safe: proactive actions can minimize the possibility of a fire or accident.

Kitchen Fire Safety (download PDF)

Food preparation is a skill requiring its own procedures, ingredients, and safety measures. Learn to prevent and know to safely extinguish kitchen fires with these safety tips. 

  • When cooking in a kitchen make sure that the kitchen hood system is on and functioning properly.
  • Clean cooking surfaces regularly. A significant hazard during cooking is the built up grease, large amounts of grease can ignite easily.
  • If a grease fire starts, smother it. DO NOT USE WATER!
  • Clean up spills and practice good housekeeping by keeping your work surfaces neat and organized.
  • Keep flammable objects clear of open flames. Pot holders, towels, and paper products can easily catch fire. If possible keep flammable items at least three (3) feet from a source of ignition. Never pour water on a cooking fire. If a pan of food catches fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan and turn off your stove burner. Keep the lid on until completely cooled. If a fire starts in your oven, close the oven door and turn off the heat source.
  • When heating up oil make sure to heat it slowly. This will prevent hot oil from splattering into your eyes or onto skin. Pour the oil into the pan before the burner has been turned on if possible.  Never pour oil into a hot pan.
  • Keep pot handles near the center of a cooking surface and away from aisles. This will minimize the possibility of bumping into the pot and spilling food or hot liquids onto yourself.
  • Know the location of fire extinguishers, fire alarm pull station and kitchen hood suppression release device in your area.
  • Familiarize yourself with the proper operation of the fire extinguishers in your kitchen.
  • Place a rubber or non-slip mat on the floor. If the floor gets wet from water, oil, or grease, a rubber mat will minimize the possibility of slipping.

Office Fire Safety (download PDF)

  • When the fire alarm activates, all occupants must exit the building. Never use the elevators.
  • Be aware of your environment. Know where the emergency evacuation routes and emergency equipment are. Have two ways your of your area.
  • Keep all paths of egress free and clear of obstructions. Maintain a minimum isle width of 44 inches at all times.
  • Do not prop or block open fire doors. Fire doors are designed to keep smoke and fire from spreading. Only approved mechanical methods should be used.
  • Use only surge protectors or power strips that have an internal circuit breaker. These units will trip the breaker and prevent overheating if the power strip overloads or is shorted.
  • Surge protectors, power strips, and extension cords are not a substitute for permanent wiring.
  • Do not plug surge protectors and power strips in to each other. This practice is called “daisy chaining” or “piggy backing” and can lead to serious issues.
  • Never block fire alarm pull stations, fire alarm speaker/horn/strobe lights, fire extinguishers, sprinkler heads, or other emergency equipment. Keep all storage 18 inches away from ceilings.
  • Only use approved space heaters. Never leave units unattended. Before every use, inspect units and cords for any signs of damage. If damage is found, do not use the unit. Only use UL (Underwriters Laboratories) listed devices.

If you have any concerns of fire and life-safety issues in your workplace, please contact our office for a consultation at 203-432-9923 or Facilities Operations at 203-432-6888.

Portable Space Heaters (download PDF)

Portable space heaters can be a potential source of ignition. Proper use, applicable code requirements, and manufacturer’s recommendations must be followed at all times to maintain a safe environment.

If a space is not being adequately heated using the building’s heating system, the following actions must be taken.

  • Contact Facilities Operations at 203-432-6888 and report the condition.
  • If the buildings heating system cannot be repaired in a timely manner, Facilities Operations may recommend a temporary space heater meeting the precautions listed below.

Improper use of a space heater could result in a substantial fire and life safety hazard. To reduce the risk of fire, the requirements listed below must be followed at all times.

  • Before use, inspect the unit, attached cord, and wall power receptacle for visible damage. If damage is found, discontinue use and contact Facilities Operation for assistance. Never use or give away a damaged unit.
  • Read and comply with all manufactures instructions before use.
  • Never leave the unit unattended. Always unplug the unit when your are not in the immediate vicinity of it.
  • Keep a three (3)-foot area around the unit, when in use, that is clear of all combustibles.
  • Ensure the unit has a “tip over” feature that automatically shuts the unit off if it is accidently turned over.
  • Ensure the unit is UL listed and has the UL sticker or marking on it.
  • Use only units with three-prong grounded plugs and wall receptacles with the same feature. Never use extension cords or adapters when powering a unit.

Grill Fire Safety (download PDF)

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides education materials on grilling other activity safety. For more information, visit the NFPA’s education webpage at

Toaster Ovens (download PDF)

When using any appliance, basic fire safety procedures should be used. The following are concepts, which will drastically reduce the possibility of an incident occurring.

  • Read all instructions before appliance is used.
  • Be careful not to touch hot surfaces. When operating the toaster make sure that the handles and knobs that are provided are used.
  • When the unit is not in service, make sure it is unplugged.
  • Allow unit to cool before it is moved, covered, or cleaned.
  • When unit is in operation, make sure a three (3)-foot area around the toaster is free of all combustibles. Do not use unit if covered.
  • If the plug, cord, or toaster unit is damaged, discard the unit immediately. A malfunctioning unit is not to be sold or given away.
  • Only use the toaster for items that are meant to be toasted.
  • Do not use attachments or pans that are not recommended to be used with the unit.
  • Use direct supervision when toaster is used by children.
  • When in use, the toaster should never be left unattended.
  • When operating the unit make sure that the cord for the unit is out of the way, and is not hanging over the edge of the counter. Also, make sure that the cord is not subjected to direct contact and a safe distance away from a heat source.
  • The crumb tray should be emptied and cleaned on a daily basis. When this cleaning occurs make sure the unit is unplugged and cool.
  • Do not cook, warm, or toast rice cakes, fried foods, or non-bread items.
  • Heat pastry filled or frosted items on the lightest setting.

Lithium-Ion Battery Safety (download PDF)

A growing cause of fires are due to the increased use of lithium-ion batteries. They supply power to many kinds of devices, including smart phones, laptops, tablets, scooters, e-bikes, e-cigarettes, smoke alarms, toys, and vehicles. Lithium-ion batteries store large amounts of energy and pose a threat of fire if not properly used. Like any product, a small number of these batteries may be defective. We want you to take care when using them, because in rare cases, they can overheat, catch fire, or explode.

Safety recommendations
  • When purchasing devices containing lithium-ion batteries, be sure that the products include an Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) mark. The UL mark shows that the product has been safety-tested.
  • Select personal e-mobility devices, such as scooters and hoverboards needs to meet UL2272 requirements.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how to safely use a product.
  • Place batteries in the device the correct way.
  • Only use the battery and charging cord that came with, or that is designed for the device—the power adapter that comes with the product is made specifically for that device. Do not buy cheaper chargers for replacement.
  • Do not charge your device under your pillow, on your bed, or on your couch or armchair.
  • Do not charge your devices in exit stairs or exit hallways.
  • Keep batteries at room temperature. Do not place them in direct sunlight or keep them in hot vehicles.
  • Always charge your batteries at room temperatures and in a well-ventilated space. Extreme temperatures both hot or cold can cause damage.
  • Store batteries away from anything that can catch fire.
  • Never leave devices charging unattended.
Signs of a problem

Stop using lithium-ion batteries if you notice these problems: odor, change in color, too much heat, change in shape, leaking, or if you hear odd noises coming from the battery. If it is safe to do so, power off and move the device away from anything that is flammable. If the battery starts to smoke or catches fire, call 911 and activate the fire alarm pull station in the building you are in, if it has a fire alarm.

Battery disposal

Lithium-ion batteries cannot be discarded in the general trash. They must either have their terminals covered with tape or each battery must be placed in an individual plastic bag. For proper disposal, (1) label each battery, or battery collection container, “universal waste batteries” and add the accumulation start date; (2) store inside a building; and (3) submit a chemical waste pickup request via Yale’s Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Integrator right away. Call EHS at 203-432-6545 with any questions.

For leaking, bulging, or hot batteries, call the Office of the Fire Marshal’s on-duty fire inspector at 203-432-6888.