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Partnership committed to life safety and fire awareness
Facilities Management and the UH Fire Marshalís office have formed a partnership in support of campus fire and life safety initiatives for the universityís physical environment.

The most recent initiative, led by Barry Simmons, Facilities Management Project and Program Manager, is the development of a full two-year program plan. This plan will address various fire and life safety projects, including prior compliance items related to fire/life safety needs across campus, as well as to establish a planned maintenance program for repaired and restored systems. The maintenance program will provide that all system needs are planned, funded, scheduled and administered on an annual basis to ensure the ongoing safety of the campus community.

In calendar year 2012, the program team worked to complete more than 24 projects valued at over $12 million. These projects have included the clearing of aged compliance issues with the state fire marshal, fire hydrant and city fire department connections, and standpipe hydrostatic testing, inspections, and repairs across the campus.

The program teamís approach has been to prioritize a completion schedule based on the following criteria: facility safety, SFMO compliance requirements, funding availability, facility occupant work and class schedule needs, project significance, design requirements, public procurement process, and project phasing.

A good example of the diversity of project types is also one of the more visible fire safety projects that have been undertaken: the annual inspection, maintenance, and painting of the fire hydrants across campus. During the course of the project, Barry received an email from a campus observer asking why the university was painting the bonnets (tops of the fire hydrants) UT orange and not UH red. Barry responded with the explanation that the fire hydrant bonnets are painted in this manner based on the water flow rate, which indicates to the city fire department how much water, or flow rate, can be expected from that fire hydrant.