Fires on college campuses can have devastating consequences, impacting learning and everyday activities. But according to NFPA member, Mike Halligan from UL, safety professionals can take steps to evaluate fire risks and identify gaps to reduce (and hopefully one day eliminate) fire hazards on campus. How? It's all in the planning. And to do so means as a campus fire safety professional, you need to develop a business continuity plan that works together with fire inspections. By doing so, says Halligan, you’ll see the positive impact on your institution as operations quickly get back to normal after a fire incident. He explains below:
When it comes time to decide how you'll tackle the plan, Halligan stresses the importance of focusing on particular areas of campus that are more prone to fires, and not just looking at the campus as a collective whole. Addressing these places of interest and including regular fire inspections, Halligan says, have made a difference in mitigating the risks. Some of the key areas are:
- Research facilities like chemistry and biology labs
- Housing locations
- Special event facilities
- Physical plants
- Remote sites (i.e, research offices, campuses abroad)
And it should be noted that these areas not only create challenges on main campuses but they can also present problems at satellite locations, as well. As more and more higher education institutions expand across the country and around the globe, safety plans can and often do vary from one location to another. Take for instance remote campuses oversees where each country relies on its own codes, standards and safety practices; they are different than here in the U.S. Halligan explains some of the challenges:
So whether your campus sits squarely in the middle of a bustling city or nestled among the hills of a suburban town, if you have one campus or multiple locations, all higher education institutions face similar challenges in keeping students, teachers and property safe from fire, electrical and related hazards. Take this opportunity during Campus Fire Safety Month to review the resources you have. Even with limited budgets, Halligan says that having professionals on your staff who possess the right skills and knowledge to understand the important link between business continuity plans and inspections can make a world of difference, as he points out in the video below:
Did you know that NFPA Conference & Expo attendees and NFPA members have access to all 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo education session recordings, including this one? Learn more about campus fire safety by watching Mr. Halligan’s full session video and browse the full list of additional education sessions here.
Additional information about campus fire safety for students can be found at www.nfpa.org/campus.