Meet the Division of Emergency & Safety Services

From left: Safety Technician Matt McGrath, Fire Marshal Kris Parsons, Director of Emergency Management Arthur J. Simental, EHS Manager Cynthia Norton

The Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency and Safety Services encompasses the University’s Office of Emergency Management, Office of the Fire Marshal, Environmental Health & Safety, and Hazardous Materials Management.

The offices were reorganized into a separate department under the Department of Public Safety in 2023 to better represent and align their respective missions, roles, and responsibilities that are separate from the Police Department. The Division is led by the Director of Emergency Management, Arthur J. Simental, who reports to the Executive Director of Public Safety & Chief of Police DeWayne McCarver.

“Under the Department of Public Safety we are one team, multi-department, multi-mission, with one priority: to keep UCCS safe,” explained Arthur J. Simental, Director of Emergency Management.

The mission of the Division of Emergency & Safety Services is to enable the university’s mission of teaching, research and service by providing comprehensive emergency management, environmental health and safety, hazardous materials management and fire and life safety services.

To better represent who they are on campus and to the UCCS community, the team has adopted a new division patch and uniforms to professionalize and distinguish them from UCCS Police.

Division Patch Symbolism

Each of the symbols represent the respective offices within the division and their unique missions, roles, and responsibilities to public safety. They each contribute in different ways across prevention, protection, mitigation, response, recovery and readiness. The symbolism is part of the long-held traditions and histories established in emergency services. 

What Does The Maltese Cross Represent? 

There are eight points on the Maltese cross, each point symbolizing eight knightly virtues. The Maltese cross symbolized a special breed of people that take the motto “For the Service of Mankind” as a way of life. The eight knightly virtues have been personalized by fire & emergency services to the eight we know today. The meaning behind each point is observation, tact, dexterity, explicitness, perseverance, sympathy, gallantry and loyalty respectively. These are virtues that each member of the division strives to uphold.

Offices within the Division

Office of Emergency Management

Emergency Management supports the university’s core mission of teaching, research and service by providing the comprehensive management of all hazards, threats and risks for the university community. It is their responsibility to reasonably protect life, property and the environment from the effects of emergencies and disaster incidents on the campus, including preparation for special events. They are also responsible for coordinating emergency management activities that eliminate or reduce hazardous events, and for the prevention, mitigation of, preparation for, response to and recovery from such events. Emergency Management leads all of the university Emergency Support Teams and the Emergency Operations Center. During a campus state of emergency, the Director of Emergency Management leads the university’s emergency response in support of first responders and Incident Command.

Environmental Health & Safety & Hazardous Materials Management

Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) supports the university’s core mission of teaching, research and service by providing comprehensive environmental health and safety services to the University community. It is their mission to ensure the health and safety of the community, resources and the natural environment at UCCS. To that end, they are dedicated to creating a partnership with the campus community and providing services to assist faculty, staff and students in integrating safety and compliance into their workplace culture and behavior.

EHS encompasses:

  • Environmental Health & Safety
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Hazardous Materials Management
  • Biosafety & Laboratory Safety
  • Radiation Safety
  • Public Health

Office of the Fire Marshal

This office is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all members of the UCCS community through the delivery of comprehensive fire suppression, life safety and fire prevention programs. Their approach includes intense training, hazard mitigation, thorough planning and preparation, quality inspections and enforcement of all applicable codes and standards. Working in close partnership with the Colorado Springs Fire Department and UCCS Police Department, they collaborate to improve emergency response and engage the UCCS community through educational outreach programs that promote fire and life safety awareness. By fostering a culture of safety and awareness, the Office of the Fire Marshal provides a healthy learning and working environments for all.

Impact across UCCS

The Division of Emergency & Safety Services manages and responsible for 73 different areas of compliance and reporting to regulatory agencies across:

  • Emergency Management
  • Fire Marshal
  • Environmental Health & Safety + HazMat Management

They are integrated into nearly all UCCS departments, programs and activities to enable, support and partner ensuring health, safety, security and wellness across university support and academics. Their team:

  • provides many emergency preparedness training programs across campus for staff, faculty and students
  • conducts annual Resident Assistant Emergency Preparedness Training
  • manages campus Emergency Support Teams such as Floor Safety Liaison Teams
  • conducts semester fire evacuation drills, disaster drills and many others

They also enable and support university research and teaching by:

  • serving as the Administrator for Institutional Biosafety Committee (required by NIH for certain types of biological research)
  • providing lab safety oversight and training so research labs can operate within regulatory requirements
  • providing student lab and workshop safety
  • conducting campus fit testing with Nursing, Engineering, Facilities, etc
  • supporting all aspects of facility, faculty, and student safety & preparedness

They also enable and support university special events by coordinating public safety reviews, approvals and permitting. If you’d like to learn more about their programs or offerings, please contact them at [email protected].