Routine fire inspections planned for UH campus

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The State Fire Marshal’s Office (FMO) liked what it saw during its September inspection of the University of Houston.

Inspectors recently conducted a follow-up assessment of the campus to ensure that recommendations made during a 2003 FMO inspection had been acted upon.

Thanks to cooperation from the campus community and guidance from the UH Department of Public Safety (UHDPS), several improvements were noted. Among these were the proper use of extension cords and unobstructed fire exits.

“We also have progressed in the campus residence halls,” said Joe Tremont, assistant fire marshal at UH. “Previously, smoke detectors were often removed by residents. After communicating with students and residence life staff, we reminded them how these devices are there for their own safety, and they’ve left them in place”

While the State Fire Marshal’s Office noted a host of improvements, it also indicated that the university must upgrade alarm and sprinkler systems in some of its facilities, so they are in line with current fire codes.

“These will be upgraded, but this process will not happen overnight,” Tremont said. “Alarm and sprinkler systems cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, so these enhancements must be carefully planned and budgeted for.”

Since the 2003 inspection, the university had already begun upgrading its alarm and sprinkler systems including retrofitting the fire alarm system in the Science and Research 2 building.

“These inspections and re-inspections are a good thing for the university,” Tremont said. “Our department observes the campus every day, so it’s helpful to have another set of eyes evaluate the campus and provide feedback.”

The campus community can learn more about fire safety during Fire Prevention Week Oct. 8 – 12. UHDPS will be available to deliver presentations and offer safety tips to offices, departments and colleges. For more information or to schedule a presentation, contact Tremont at 713-743-5861.

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