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How to Safely Decorate for December Holidays

During the month of December, several holidays and seasonal recognitions are celebrated. Many of these celebrations involve materials that could threaten the safety of the IUP community if not used with care. The following set of guidelines was established by the Environmental Health and Safety Office and the Office of Housing and Residence Life to promote safe celebrations and displays.

All holiday decorations must be removed before the student residence halls close. Housing and Residence Life graduate director/professional staff apartments are excluded from this regulation. Those residing in approved housing over break must remove holiday decorations before they depart.

Please familiarize yourself with these guidelines and take every precaution to promote safe conditions on the IUP campus.

How to Flame Proof Live Trees

Live trees and tree branches must be sprayed with flame proofing and tagged by the IUP Maintenance Department prior to use in all university-owned or university-erected buildings. Trees that are sprayed and tagged may be placed in floor lounges, main lounges, common areas, and graduate director/professional staff apartments and administrative offices. Trees must be treated with flame retardant at the Paint Shop, Maintenance Department in the Robertshaw Building, beginning on the last Wednesday in November to the first Friday in December from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. weekdays only. Prior notification to 724-357-2710 is required. The flame retardant treatment tag must not be removed from the tree.

Placement and Care of Trees and Decorations

A person(s) must be designated to be responsible for watering a live tree on a daily basis and ensuring that the tree is kept away from heating units.

Live trees cannot be placed in individual rooms or apartments in any student residential buildings. However, artificial trees may be used in administrative offices, individual rooms, apartments, or lounges in student residential buildings, if the tree is constructed of fire-retardant materials.

In order that all exits remain unobstructed, trees/decorations may not be placed in hallways or stairwells or next to doorways. No decorations of any type may be fastened to light fixtures, electrical equipment, or heating/plumbing fixtures.

Candles and Lights

The possession and/or use of candles is prohibited in all student residential buildings. Students seeking an exception to this policy for religious purposes must contact their building director for additional information. The burning of incense is prohibited in all student residential buildings.

Students living in student residential facilities are permitted to use one string of UL approved mini twinkle lights (not to exceed one hundred lights) on flame retardant surfaces. Only UL approved LED lights will be permitted on the trees. No lights may be used in any other campus facility. Lights containing frayed or bare wiring are prohibited. Lights should be plugged into a separate wall outlet to avoid a circuit overload. Only UL approved extension cords are permitted.


  • Facilities Operations
  • Robertshaw Building
    650 South Thirteenth Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-2710
  • Fax: 724-357-6480