From an e-mail sent by our University Fire Marshall:
In keeping everyone safe to enjoy the holidays, we want to remind the members of the USC community of the regulations governing fire safety and holiday decorations.
Chapter 8 of The International Fire Code specifically prohibits live Christmas trees and flammable decorative materials from assembly occupancies, day care operations, institutional occupancies, and covered malls and dormitories unless they conform to the small or large-scale fire resistant test of NFPA 701. Artificial trees may be used to decorate; however, plastic trees are to be labeled certifying that they are made of slow burning materials. Do not use electric light set(s) with metallic trees as this is a possible shock hazard; use indirect spot lighting. Artificial trees with built-in electrical circuits and light sets are to be listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as UL.
Christmas trees or other decorations must be flame resistant and may not be placed in hallways, stairways and lobbies or within the means of egress from any building. Additionally, the fire code prohibits the decoration of light bulbs and exit signs with any type of combustible material.
Lighted candles are prohibited in all University buildings except the Rutledge chapel and they must be attended when burning.
Keep in mind that lighting sets wear out and/or become damaged. Inspect them closely for worn insulation, broken plugs, or loose bulb sockets. Use decorations of non-combustible materials, glass, or materials that have been treated with a flame-retardant chemical. Untreated cotton, flock, tissue paper, cardboard, cloth, hay, moss, grain, dead vegetation, or other untreated highly flammable materials are not acceptable decoration materials. Do not block any exits, fire extinguishers, fire alarm pull stations or exit lights with any decorations.
Upon request, personnel from EHS Fire Safety Office will inspect your decorations to insure compliance with current fire codes. For information call 7-5269. A copy of the codes governing decorative materials can be provided if desired.
Adherence to the above policies will help assure a safe holiday season for all at USC. Happy Holidays!