ofpclogo_newAs a result of the January 19, 2000 Seton Hall University dormitory fire that claimed the lives of three students, Governor George Pataki appointed a task force to evaluate the commitment and active participation to support and provide fire and life safety at New York’s private colleges and universities.  Upon the conclusion of its charge, the Governor’s Task Force on Campus Fire Safety recommended the revision of the annual fire inspection requirements contained in Section 807-b of the State Education Law. The Task Force’s recommendation consolidates the responsibility for private colleges and universities’ campus building inspections, outside of New York City, to the State’s Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC).

As a result, effective January 1, 2003, OFPC has started the NYS Campus Fire Safety Program. A key component to this program, in addition to establishing a State Campus Fire Safety Advisory Board, providing fire safety training, and setting new criminal penalties for tampering with a fire protective devices or systems, is fire safety inspections. The inspection component will include most, if not all, buildings under the University’s jurisdiction used for student education, recreation, housing, dining, etc., and will focus on compliance with Uniform Building Code and NYS State fire and life safety codes and standards. There are fines and penalties for non-compliance, although Fire and Life Safety Services and the OFPC’s intent is to strive for voluntary compliance through education and partnership.

If you have any questions regarding the NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control’s Campus Fire Safety Program or need additional information concerning compliance, please contact John Rossiter at x5475 or at jarossit@syr.edu.