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Fire safety efforts spread across campus

Engineering Day participants and robots
Scott Schulte, assistant director of Fire Safety, led a mock dorm fire at last year's Campus Fire Safety Day on the Old Main Quad, one of many efforts to educate the campus community about fire safety.

The number of fire calls to campus has cooled off since the campus community honed its fire prevention and safety skills.

The collaboration of Assistant Director of Environmental Health and Safety for Fire Safety Scott Schulte, resident directors, resident assistants, building coordinators, faculty, staff and students resulted in 94 fewer fire calls to campus in 2007 than 2006.

In 2006, the New Paltz Fire Department responded to 328 fire calls on campus, most of which were false alarms. At the end of 2007, the number of campus fire calls was down to 234. As per state law, every fire alarm activation, regardless if it is real or false, requires a full deployment of fire trucks to campus. "The result of this mitigation program has been nothing short of stunning," said Terry Dungan, Village of New Paltz mayor.

The sensitivity levels of the campus's heat and smoke detectors were adjusted and the college purchased additional smoke detectors.

Schulte, who is also a captain with the New Paltz Volunteer Fire Department, said he meets with New Paltz Fire Chief David Weeks every week to develop strategies for addressing fire and emergency calls.

He has also instituted a number of new programs designed to promote fire safety on campus. One mandates notification if a smoke detector, pull box or heat detector is or will be impaired in any way; another, the Hot Work Program, is a set of guidelines for those working with possible sources of ignition, such as welding or torching tools.

Other campus efforts include designating a new fire lane outside of Bouton Hall and organizing a campus- wide Fire Safety Day.

For more information about the campus's fire safety programs, visit www.newpaltz.edu/firesafety.