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To Our Campus Community:

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) department is committed to supporting a safe and healthful environment for the University community. Fire safety is a critical component of campus safety, and campus fire prevention and emergency response are a 24/7 operation.

Fire safety requires comprehensive and systematic planning that includes inspections, engineering, response, fire incident investigation and enforcement of building and fire codes. EHS Fire Safety staff work daily to assess fire safety risks, inspect fire-related equipment, and to test alarms and detection systems across a campus that includes more than 9,100 student residence hall and apartment beds, 400 buildings, 170 sprinklered buildings, 7,000 fire extinguishers, 275 fire alarm systems, seven dining facilities, and 44 standalone cooking hood extinguisher systems, The Fire Safety team also monitors and provides on-site support for campus programs and activities, including athletic events, commencement exercises and other events.

The University has adopted and developed numerous fire safety policies and guidelines to help promote a safe environment for students, employees and campus visitors. These policies and guidelines and other fire safety information can be accessed on the Environment, Health and Safety website.

University fire safety policies and programs are enhanced through education and training initiatives to help develop a culture of fire safety awareness for the campus community. Online and instructor-led trainings, safety fairs and fire drills are held throughout the year to educate students and employees on the proper use of fire extinguishers, emergency coordinator responsibilities, general emergency response and evacuation procedures, and administrative emergency response procedures.

In the past three years (2018 to 2020), there have been nine 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, 66% of fire incidents were associated with cooking or food preparation. In the past three years, one fire was associated with a candle that was being used that caught a few sheets of paper on fire, another was an 8.5”x11” sign that was burned on a door, and another was a USB-operated small appliance that caught fire and activated the building sprinkler system.

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,

Catherine Brennan
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)

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.

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:
    • The number of fires and the cause of each fire;
    • The number of injuries related to a fire that resulted in treatment at a medical facility, including at an on-campus health center;
    • The number of deaths related to a fire; and
    • 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.

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.