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Fire Department to House Fire Marshal's Office
Thanks to legislation that is the first of its kind in Connecticut, the UConn Fire Department was officially designated to house a fire marshal's office during a signing ceremony Sept. 26 at the Centennial Alumni House. The move will streamline a number of processes on campus and enhance various aspects of fire safety.
The designation, which required changes in state statutes, means fire investigations and permit processing in several areas will now be completed in-house. It also allows the department to make several changes that will enhance the University's abilities in fire prevention and safety on campus.
"With UConn 2000 and the subsequent growth of the main campus and the regional campuses, a major review of life safety, code review and fire inspections has been underway for three years," said Robert Hudd, director of public safety at UConn. "This new service provided by the UConn Division of Public Safety will streamline processes and enhance all aspects of fire safety.
Hudd praised Dale Dreyfuss, vice chancellor for business and administration, Arthur Spada, state commissioner of public safety, and John Blaschik, deputy state fire marshal, for bringing about the change. "This is a fundamental change to a past way of doing business, and it will better serve the entire University community," said Hudd.
"In addition, it will provide a more clearly defined office for students, faculty, staff, and parents to contact with questions regarding fire safety issues," he said. "With the signing of this document, the UConn Fire Department will have the necessary statutory authority to fulfill its fire safety obligations to the UConn community."
Deputy Fire Chief Francis Williams will fill the role of UConn's fire marshal. During periods when Williams is not on campus, the four shift captains at the department, all named deputy fire marshals, will be allowed to act in his place. Additionally, Firefighter Christine Chaulk was promoted to lieutenant and named the department's fire inspector, a new position that will give the department more flexibility in completing and following up on safety inspections.
Besides fire investigations, a campus-based fire marshal will be responsible for responding to several types of permit requests that, until now, have had to be filed with either the state or Mansfield fire marshals. These include requests for liquor permits, which used to be filed with the state fire marshal's office, and applications for permits to blast, which - since the inception of UConn 2000 - has become a more frequent activity. Previously, the Mansfield fire marshal considered those requests. UConn officials also will be able to request permits for the use of fireworks from Williams.