Oct 272010
Authors: Keeley Blakley

There have been 10 campus fire incidents reported to the Poudre Fire Authority since January, several of which were in university apartments that do not have fire sprinklers.

While most residence halls are equipped with fire and smoke detectors, Allison and Newsom halls do not have fire suppression sprinklers. The university is currently working to retro-fit the older dorms, and Corbett Hall was the most recent to receive an update.

The university works with Poudre Fire Authority, PFA, for the end goal of safety, said Patrick Love, captain of public affairs and education.

“This means that we collaborate on items such as new building construction plan review, safety training for staff and students, emergency planning and preparation, firefighter hands-on training, campus building and systems familiarity, among others,” Love said.

The university is still deciding whether it will put sprinklers in Allison or Newsom Halls, or if one or both of these halls would be demolished in the future, said Ken Quintana, university coordinator for emergency planning and response.

“The university has made the commitment that every new building would have fire sprinklers,” Quintana said.

The most common reason for fires on campus is cooking, Love said. This is in line with national statistics that label cooking as the No. 1 cause of residential fires.

Students living in the residence halls are provided with fire safety through the housing guide, presentations at CSU’s Preview Freshman Orientation, the residence hall handbook and programs throughout the year, said Tonie Miyamoto, director of communications for Housing and Dining Services.

According to the 2010 Fire and Safety update from the CSU Police Department, there were six fires in residence halls in 2009. Each of these fires resulted in damage costing $100 or less.
Quintana said the fires reported were likely suspicions of fires.

Fire alarms are checked four times a semester. Each semester, students living in the dorms have an evacuation drill.

The drills serve a dual purpose to make sure the fire alarms are working and to ensure students know what to do in case of a fire, according to Quintana.

All of the residence hall fire alarm panels are networked to CSUPD, which can pinpoint the location of an alarm going off, according to the HDS website.
Fire residence hall drills for the fall semester were completed in September, Miyamoto said.

Abby Bender, a freshman psychology major who lives in Newsom Hall, said that inspections and fire drills have already be done in her hall.

“I think everyone would act differently if it was a real fire,” Bender said. “I don’t think you can know how you’ll react until you’re there.”

The Residence Hall handbook states that students should not have:

  • Ceiling attachments like lights or posters,
  • Open flames or candles,
  • Exposed heating coils, and
  • Flammable liquids.

In addition, students must plug large appliances like microwaves and refrigerators directly into the outlet. Students are also warned not to plug a power strip into another power strip.

Staff writer Keeley Blakley can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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