Holiday fire safety information


Do you want to get into the holiday spirit here on campus? If so, we’ve good news – holiday decorations are permitted in office and common areas!

If you’re looking to decorate your workspace, remember:

  • Candles and open-flame devices are not permitted.
  • Corridors should not be decorated wrapping paper.
  • All decorations, trees, and wrappings should be disposed of immediately after the holidays, by taking them to campus dumpster areas.

Otherwise, please adhere to these guidelines from USC Fire Safety and Emergency Planning:


  • May not obstruct or conceal (in whole or part) any emergency routes, signage, or devices — such as exits, exit lights, fire alarm pull stations, fire hose cabinets, fire extinguishers, sprinkler heads, smoke detectors, etc.
  • Must be made from a non-flammable material, or treated with a flame-retardant solution or process approved by the State Fire Marshal.
  • May not take up more than 20% of the wall on which they are attached.
  • May not be hung from the ceiling.


  • Must be kept out of corridors, and away from doorways and heat sources.
  • Must be flame-retardant – cut natural trees are strongly discouraged on campus. If one is donated to your department or school, contact USC Fire Safety for an inspection. Trees should be flame-retardant, treated in accordance with Title 19, C.C.R., and a State Fire Marshal Certificate of Flame Resistance Tag should be attached near the base.
  • Must be kept in water at all times – if natural cut – to slow the natural drying process. Water daily.
  • Must be disposed of properly once they start dropping needles – dried-out trees are highly flammable, so you should not leave them in a building or lean them against the side of a building.


  • LED lights must bear the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) seal of approval.
  • Ensure there are no loose sockets, and that wires are not frayed or damaged.
  • Do not run wiring through doorways, under carpeting, or through holes in walls.
  • Do not use zip cord extension cords — we recommend using a multiple-outlet power strip, with an internal circuit breaker. Never plug one extension cord into another.
  • Always turn the holiday lights off when you leave the building.

If you’ve any questions, please email