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Health and Safety Inspection FAQs

  1. Where can I find a list of the prohibited items?
  2. A prohibited item was taken from my room during a health and safety inspection. When/how can I get it back?
  3. I know that halogen lamps are prohibited. What kind of lamps can I have?
  4. Are extension cords allowed?
  5. I am just storing some prohibited items in my room until I have time to send them home. Will they be confiscated?
  6. I have candles in my room for decorative purposes only, but they have not been used or burned. Will they be confiscated?
  7. Are coffee pots prohibited?
  8. Where am I allowed to have cooking appliances?
  9. Will the inspectors enter my room while I am present?
  10. Will the inspectors enter my room while I am not at home?
  11. I am uncomfortable with an inspector of the opposite gender performing an inspection in my room while my roommate is away. Can I request an inspector of a different gender?
  12. Is there any screening process for the inspectors?
  13. How will I know if an inspection has occurred in my room while I was away?
  14. Will the inspectors go through my personal belongings?
  15. Is there any way to file a complaint against an inspector?
  16. My room was recently inspected and I was cited for a violation. What will happen now?
  17. My room inspection receipt indicated there were some maintenance problems in my room. Do I need to call in a FIXIT Ticket for these issues?
  18. Who should I call if I have questions about the health and safety inspections?
  19. My prohibited electrical appliance has a red locking device attached to the plug. What will happen now?

Q: Where can I find a list of the prohibited items?
A: The most up to date prohibited items list is available at http://living.gwu.edu . You can also review a list of the most frequently found prohibited items on the Risk Management Health and Safety Inspections web page, entitled ‘List of Prohibited Items.’

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Q: A prohibited item was taken from my room during a health and safety inspection. When/how can I get it back?
A: Prohibited items will not be returned. All residents are required to read and sign a housing agreement with the GW Housing Programs office. This agreement explains the inspection process, as well as references the RCCGs. Both documents explain that prohibited items will be confiscated and donated or disposed of if found.

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Q: I know that halogen lamps are prohibited. What kind of lamps can I have?
A: Both incandescent and fluorescent lamps are available in a number of style and sizes. These lamps should provide sufficient lighting, as well as maintain a much safer temperature level during long duration usage. For more information on halogen lamps, please review the halogen lamp education piece.

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Q: Are extension cords allowed?
A: Only surged protected extension cords are allowed in the residence halls. Non-surge protected cords, multi-plugs, and splitters will result in a violation. Refer to the University's Extension Cord and Multi-Plug Power Strip Usage Policy for more information.

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Q: I am just storing some prohibited items in my room until I have time to send them home. Will they be confiscated?
A: Yes. Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine whether the item has been or will be used. Prohibited items should not be in the room and should be sent home immediately.

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Q: I have candles in my room for decorative purposes only, but they have not been used or burned. Will they be confiscated?
A: Yes. Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine whether the item will be used in the future. All candles are prohibited.

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Q: Are coffee pots prohibited?
A: No. At this time, the University will allow students to have coffee pots in their rooms. However, we strongly recommend auto-shutoff pots, or single serving pots.

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Q: Where am I allowed to have cooking appliances?
A: Cooking appliances are only allowed in designated cooking areas. Most students who do not have designated kitchens in their units will have access to a common kitchen. Appliances should be stored and used in these areas.

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Q: Will the inspectors enter my room while I am present?
A: If an occupant is present, they are allowed several minutes to prepare for the inspection. If a student verbally recognizes the inspector and grants permission, the inspector will complete his work with the occupant present.

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Q: Will the inspectors enter my room while I am not at home?
A: Yes. Due to the number of inspections which must be completed and the time constraints of the semester year, the inspectors must maintain a strict schedule. Inspectors are instructed to knock loudly several times and announce themselves from outside. If no one answers the door, inspectors will key the door, enter the room, and announce themselves again upon entry. If a student is found to be unresponsive or will not cooperate with the inspector, the University Police Department is called to assist.

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Q: I am uncomfortable with an inspector of the opposite gender performing an inspection in my room while my roommate is away. Can I request an inspector of a different gender?
A: Either male or female inspectors will be available upon request at the time of the inspection.

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Q: Is there any screening process for the inspectors?
A: Yes. All persons entering residence hall rooms for the purpose of conducting health and safety inspections are put through a thorough background check before they start.

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Q: How will I know if an inspection has occurred in my room while I was away?
A: Health and Safety Inspections are completed on handheld computers. Inspectors carry with them mobile printers and leave a paper receipt in each room. Only one receipt is left per room, so roommates will be responsible for communicating the information with fellow occupants.

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Q: Will the inspectors go through my personal belongings?
A: No. At this time, inspection activities are limited to a visual assessment of each space. If items that pose a substantial threat to person or property are found, UPD and GW Housing Programs will be contacted and a thorough administrative search will then be conducted.

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Q: Is there any way to file a complaint against an inspector?
A: If you allege inappropriate action or behavior on the part of a health and safety inspector, you can file a formal complaint with UPD. All complaints should be filed immediately following the alleged misconduct.

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Q: My room was recently inspected and I was cited for a violation. What will happen now?
A: All violations related to student behavior or activities are forwarded to GW Housing Programs. Depending upon the severity of the violation, Housing Programs and Student Judicial Services will follow up with the student appropriately.

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Q: My room inspection receipt indicated there were some maintenance problems in my room. Do I need to call in a FIXIT Ticket for these issues?
A: No. Any issues that do not indicate they are student responsibility will be followed up by the appropriate University department. Facilities Management, Residential Property Management, and GW Housing Programs all received daily updates of the inspection process.

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Q: Who should I call if I have questions about the health and safety inspections?
A: The GW Housing Programs office will receive and answer all questions regarding the health and safety inspections. The help desk can be reached at (202) 994-2552.

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Q: My room was recently inspected and I was cited for a violation. Also my prohibited electrical appliance has a red locking device attached to the plug. What will happen now?
A: All violations related to student behavior or activities are forwarded to GW Housing Programs. Depending upon the severity of the violation, Housing Programs and Student Judicial Services will follow up with the student appropriately. Pertaining to the red locking device you can bring your locked prohibited electrical appliance to The Office of Health and Safety, located in the Support Building, 2025 F Street, NW, Suite 101 between 8-9am or 4-5pm on Tuesdays or Thursdays. The Office of Health and Safety will remove the lock and escort you to GW Mail Services where you can ship your item(s) home. Please be sure to bring the appropriate packing material and method of payment for the GW Mail Services.

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