Fire Safety

The Fire Safety shield depicts the Columbia lion.

Fire Safety in Facilities Management & Campus Services has one mission: keeping the CUMC community safe from fire. We update and maintain the fire alarm systems, fire suppression systems, and extinguishers. We also manage fire and emergency planning, fire drills, fire permits and compliance, hot work, and event fire safety.


For laboratory and research, occupational, environmental, and additional safety resources, visit Environmental Health & Safety. For general safety information, you can also visit Columbia University Public SafetyFor fire safety at the Morningside campus, visit Fire Safety at Morningside


If you have questions or concerns about fire safety at the Medical Center, e-mail


Fire Safety Dispatch

Spring Cleaning

Spring is traditionally the time to clear out unnecessary items that may have accumulated over the past year. ´╗┐The New York City Fire Department considers “excessive storage” conditions a contributing factor to the growth of large fires and an obstacle during evacuation.


We encourage everyone across the medical center to do the following:

  • Do not store anything in CUMC hallways.
  • Maintain an adequate aisle within your office or lab for emergency egress.
  • To discard large items, request a garbage bin, or request a recycling bin, submit a work order to CUMC Facilities or call 212-305-HELP (4357), option 3.

Fires and other emergencies can happen. For your safety and the safety of others, keep the tradition going—do some spring cleaning.


For general building questions or concerns, email For lab-specific questions or concerns, email


Download our fire safety dispatch on spring cleaning.  


Read previous dispatches:


Fire Safety Basics

Increase your readiness and lower the risk of starting a fire by reviewing these crucial safety guides:


Be Prepared—Know Who to Call


  • Medical Center Public Safety: 212-305-7979
  • Morningside/Manhattanville Public Safety: 212-854-5555
  • To reach the New York City Police and Fire Departments or request an ambulance, call 911.


Medical Center

  • Facilities Management & Campus Services (any non-urgent fire safety questions): 212-305-HELP (4357), Option 3
  • Environmental Health & Safety: 212-305-6780
  • Public Safety: 212-305-8100


  • Facilities: 212-854-2222
  • Fire Safety: 212-854-8518
  • Environmental Health & Safety: 212-854-8749
  • Public Safety: 212-854-2797


Fire Safety Policies

Questions or concerns about fire safety policies at the medical center? Email us at


Hot Work Permits

Hot work permits are required by New York City Fire Code for all contractors and maintenance staff when welding, grinding, thawing, brazing, soldering, cutting, or when using any heat-, flame-, or spark-producing equipment. Hot Work permits are valid for the day, the operation, and to the Torch Operator and Fire Guard team (with valid FDNY Certificates of Fitness) for which they are issued.

We must be notified at least 48 hours in advance of the intended hot work. For non-residential buildings, hot work permits are issued in the Campus Life Safety & Regulatory Compliance office in Black Building, room B-02. For residential properties, permits are issued by the CUMC Office of Housing Services in Bard Hall.


Fire Protection Devices

Any scheduled work at the medical center that requires fire alarm devices (smoke detector or water flow) to be disabled or the entire building taken offline must be requested 48 hours in advance to the Campus Life Safety & Regulatory Compliance office. The project or facilities manager must also submit a service request 48 hours in advance for Facilities Engineering support for drain downs (both branch and risers).

If emergency work must be performed after hours, a direct notification to Campus Life Safety & Regulatory Compliance must be made to take a building offline prior to work and disable affected fire alarm points within the building.


Fire Drills

New York State Education Law and the New York City Fire Code mandate that fire drills must be conducted in all campus buildings. The purpose of fire drills is to familiarize building occupants with the medical center's response procedures in a fire or non-fire emergency.


Corridor Clearance

Keeping medical center corridors uncluttered is extremely critical in fire and other emergency scenarios. A full building evacuation will be compromised by obstructions in a corridor, especially where visibility is reduced. Read about our efforts to keep your corridors clutter-free.


Open Flames

New York City Fire Code and medical center policy prohibit the use of any open flame such as candles and the burning of incense on campus. However, some exceptions are made at the discretion of the campus fire safety team.


Portable Space Heaters

Use of portable space heaters in any medical center building can lead to fire hazards if they are not approved appliances and operated properly. Before you buy or deploy a space heater, call Facilities Management to request a heating assessment. If deemed necessary, Facilities Management will conduct an electrical evaluation to determine the appropriate size heater.

Only oil-filled, radiator typeportable space heaters with no exposed heating elements are allowed. The unit must be UL rated (inspection tag intact) and have a grounded plug.

Review our fire safety bulletin for more information.


Solid Alcohol (Sterno) Fuel Use

Departments planning a catering event utilizing Sterno Fuel should contact The Faculty Club to ensure that all safety protocols are followed.


Upholstered Furniture

The medical center complies with California Technical Bulletin 133 (CAL 133), which requires that all upholstered furniture in dormitory and hospital occupancies follow the mattress testing standards of the New York City Fire Code. All furniture must be purchased through an approved Purchase Order processed through Columbia University Purchasing.


Need Help? Contact Facilities Management

212-305-Help (4357), select 'Option 3'
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
All other times, call Public Safety at
305-8100 for routine matters or
305-7979 for an on-campus emergency.

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Facilities Operations

650 West 168th Street
Black Building, Room B-02
New York, NY 10032
Tel: 212-305-4357 (Option 3)
Fax: (212) 305-1026

Parking Office

650 West 168th Street
Black Building
New York, NY 10032
Tel: 212-305-4357 (Option 7)
Fax: 212-305-1026

Columbia University
School of Nursing

Housing Services

50 Haven Avenue
Bard Hall, 1st Floor
New York, NY 10032
Tel: 212-304-7000
or 212-305-4357 (Option 2)


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