To Our Campus Community:

Fire safety is a critical component of everyone’s responsibility at the University. Unfortunately, on average, someone in the United States dies in a fire about every 162 minutes, and deaths from fires and burns are the fifth most common cause of unintentional injury deaths.

At UNC-Chapel Hill fire safety and emergency planning is a 24/7 operation and involves comprehensive and systematic planning that includes inspections, engineering, enforcement, response, fire investigation, education, and training.

With more than 8,500 dormitory residents, 9,300 including the student family housing neighborhood of Baity Hill, 400 buildings, 170 sprinkled buildings, 7,000 fire extinguishers, 275 alarms, seven dining facilities, and 44 stand-alone cooking hood extinguisher systems, the Fire Safety section team works all over campus, every day, to ensure fire safety. Their daily schedules include a wide range of activities, including testing alarms, sponsoring fire test drills, and inspecting fire extinguishers.

In the past three years, there have been 16 fires reported in our student housing facilities. None of these fires resulted in a death or injury requiring medical treatment, and only one fire incident had a property loss of greater than $1,000 in value. During this period, 75% of fire incidents were associated with cooking or food preparation. One fire occurred in an elevator motor, another fire was associated with damage to a wall outlet, one other was an 8.5” x 11” sign that was burned on a door, and another was a USB-operated juicer that caught fire and activated the building sprinkler system.

Developing a culture of fire safety awareness for the campus community is the number one priority for the Fire Safety team, with online and instructor-led classes for students and employees on the proper use of fire extinguishers, emergency coordinator responsibilities, general emergency response, and administrative emergency response procedures.

This annual Fire Safety Report is a requirement of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (PL 110-315) requiring all United States academic institutions to provide information regarding fire safety practices and standards as well as statistics regarding fires in campus housing facilities.

Our purpose is to support the University’s core mission of teaching, research, and service by providing comprehensive environmental, health, and safety services to the University community. That effort is always improved when our campus members take an active role in contributing to safety initiatives. In that spirit, we invite your comments and suggestions about how we can continue to make UNC-Chapel Hill a safe place for all.

Sincerely yours,

Mary Beth Koza
Executive Director
Environment, Health and Safety/Risk Management

Higher Education Opportunity Act – Part II
Department of Education
34 CFR Parts 600, 668, 675, et al.
General and Non-Loan Programmatic Issues; Proposed Rule
668.49 Institutional fire safety policies and fire statistics. (74 FR 42441)

(b) Annual fire safety report required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act – Part II
Beginning by October 1, 2010, an institution that maintains any on-campus student housing facility must prepare an annual fire safety report that contains, at a minimum, the following information:

  1. The fire statistics described in paragraph (c) of this section.
  2. A description of each on-campus student housing facility fire safety system.
  3. The number of fire drills held during the previous calendar year.
  4. The institution’s policies or rules on portable electrical appliances, smoking, and open flames in a student housing facility.
  5. The institution’s procedures for student housing evacuation in the case of a fire.
  6. The policies regarding fire safety education and training programs provided to the students, faculty, and staff. In these policies, the institution must describe the procedures that students and employees should follow in the case of a fire.
  7. For purposes of including a fire in the statistics in the annual fire safety report, a list of the titles of each person or organization to which students and employees should report that a fire occurred.
  8. Plans for future improvements in fire safety, if determined necessary by the institution.

(c) Fire statistics.

  1. An institution must report statistics for each on-campus student housing facility, for the three most recent calendar years for which data are available, concerning:
    1. The number of fires and the cause of each fire;
    2. The number of injuries related to a fire that resulted in treatment at a medical facility, including at an on-campus health center;
    3. The number of deaths related to a fire; and
    4. The value of property damage caused by a fire.
  2. An institution is required to submit a copy of the fire statistics in paragraph (c)(1) of this section to the Secretary on an annual basis.

(d) Fire log.

  1. An institution that maintains on-campus student housing facilities must maintain a written, easily understood fire log that records, by the date that the fire was reported, any fire that occurred in an on-campus student housing facility. This log must include the nature, date, time, and general location of each fire.

Fire Safety Report: This Report can be found as part of the Safety and Security report required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act on the UNC Police website.

Fire Log: A copy of the University’s Fire Log for the past 60-day period is available in printed form during normal business hours at the Department of Environment, Health and Safety office at 1120 Estes Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27599. Any portion of the Fire Log older than 60 days is available within two business days of a request for public inspection, during normal business hours.