Campus complies with fire testing statute

August 26, 2010
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Fire alarm testing will continue on campus next week as UCCS completes mandated testing of its fire emergency procedures.

Occupants of Centennial, Columbine, Dwire, Engineering, Science & Engineering, and University Hall all successfully completed fire alarm evacuation drills this week, according to Ron Honn, safety and environmental health, Department of Public Safety, said. Next week, students living in campus housing will practice responding to fire alarms and orders to evacuate.

Despite using new procedures this week, Honn reported only minor glitches.

Those practicing evacuation were also given a challenge. In some cases, main entry and exit doors were blocked by safety personnel. The idea, Honn said, was to simulate a fire that required occupants to find exits other than those they most commonly use.

“Everyone did really well, even when we threw them a curve,” Honn said. “I appreciate the cooperation of everyone. In the event of a real fire, this practice can save lives.”

But testing fire alarms and evacuation plans is more than a good idea, it’s the law.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department strongly encourages UCCS to regularly test its alarms and evacuation procedures but a new federal law mandates it. The results of fire alarm testing and evacuation will be published in the UCCS Annual Safety Report. Annual campus safety reports are required under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near campus. The act was recently amended to include fire safety.

The law is named for Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old Lehigh University freshman who was murdered in her campus residence hall in 1986. The Clery Act, was signed into law in 1990.

The 2009 UCCS Annual Safety Report is available at www.uccs.edu/~pusafety/2009Safety/

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