EHS & Waste Management

Student Fire Safety in Universities and Colleges

By January 15, 2020 No Comments

Student Fire Safety on Universities

Student housing fires are, unfortunately, part of university life, the grim statistics regarding student fire safety demonstrate that the risk of tragic fire events is persistent and significant.  Maximizing student fire safety is thus an imperative, both to save lives and to manage university liability.

Wisely managing campus‐related fire risks and student fire safety are essential to managing litigation risks.  Reducing the number of fires in and about college campuses is a manageable challenge, albeit one requiring focused effort by university administrators.  By being proactive about student fire safety, colleges and universities can save lives, save money, reduce risks, and reduce liability.

Student Housing Fire Liability  – Risks Universities and Colleges Face

Lawyers always go after perceived “deep pockets.”  When a fatal or injury‐causing fire occurs in student housing, universities and colleges are inevitably embroiled in the associated litigation.  This is because parties who suffer losses always try to ascertain whether the school could or should have done something to maximize student fire safety that may have saved a life or prevented a disaster.  It’s part of determining “who’s at fault.”  It’s in our nature and the nature of our civil litigation system to assess liability by fixing blame.   Important related questions in litigation strategy are: who has the ability to pay; who was covered by liability insurance; who has an incentive to settle?

Universities have a target on their backs because “they are in charge.”  Some of the questions that end up before courts across the nation when a tragic fire occurs on a college campus include:

  • Who was in a position to do something to avoid this terrible tragedy?
  • Who was responsible?
  • Who had a duty to ensure student fire safety?
  • Who could have done something?
  • Who had the wherewithal (and resources) to do something?
  • Who didn’t do what could have been done?

When the finger‐pointing starts, the answer to such questions is, unfortunately, the University – at least to the mind of victims, their lawyers, the media, and often the judiciary.  In fairness to this perspective, Universities are in a position of leadership vis‐à‐vis their employees and their students and can therefore influence behavior.

Unsafe buildings and reckless students are hard to control.  The problem for universities is that “unsafe” properties and careless behavior create risks and liability.  Campus and off‐campus housing present a unique safety challenge for administrators, primarily because of the youth and inexperience of student housing residents, and the difficulty of monitoring every possible source of fire.  If something could have been done to prevent the fire, minimize damage, or make residents safer, and the university failed to take the appropriate action, or implement an available solution, someone will attempt to claim that the university has liability.   Examples of available solutions are a fire extinguisher inspection system or a life safety inspection system with a mobile app. It’s very easy to argue that “something” could have been done, especially with the benefit of clear hindsight.

The United States is a highly litigious nation.  All universities and colleges are exposed to both meritorious and spurious claims spawned by our country’s “litigious culture.”  Whether the university was actually at fault or not isn’t necessarily relevant.  In our culture it’s not the substance or merit of the claims that counts, it’s “the seriousness of the charge leveled” that often governs the dialog.  Claims will be filed against universities regardless of actual liability, regardless of the actual facts, and regardless of a claim’s actual merit.  Why?

Filing legal claims creates leverage to settlement.  It is a very effective tool.  Litigation is extremely expensive, and anyone embroiled in it has a very strong incentive to end the conflict (and stop the bleeding) regardless of the substance or merit of the claims.  The initiation of litigation requires any party with “potential” liability – even those who did nothing wrong – to allocate substantial time and resources to a very cumbersome and time‐consuming process.  The burden of litigation, especially high‐profile litigation that poses public‐relations issues, can be crushing.

Fire Extinguisher Barcode Inspection Software

Fire Extinguisher Barcode Inspection Software system can be used to manage monthly fire extinguisher inspections, annual inspections and 6 year and 12 year inspections and also general fire safety inspections. Allowing Managers to record safety observations while performing facility tours which can improve overall fire safety. A Fire Extinguisher Inspection Software system that can create corrective actions as a result of inspection failures and allocate these corrective active actions to the appropriate persons, with deadlines for resolution will greatly reduce the time, effort and cost of managing NFPA inspections. Implementing a Fire Extinguisher Barcode System, where users scan each fire extinguisher using a Mobile Fire Extinguisher Inspection Software App aids with compliance with NFPA and The joint Commission and other Authorities having Jurisdiction(ADJ’s)  within Universities, Colleges, Hospitals, Medical Centers, Manufacturing, Oil and Gas and many other sectors.

IMEC Technologies provides Safety Management Software to increase worker safety and aid compliance. IMEC’s Safety Management Software will manage inspections and audits, provides hazard identificationincident reporting, management of corrective and preventative actions from generation to closure. IMEC provides lock out tag out software solutions that will allow users to create lockout tagout procedures using an intuitive Mobile App and Manage Lockout Tagout Procedures, also the Review and Execution of those Lockout Tagout Procedures using the Mobile App. Annual Lockout Tagout Procedures audits are conducted using a Mobile App. The Mobile Inspection App allow users to perform inspections and audits, for example the system can be used as a Fire Extinguisher Barcode Inspection Software system to manage monthly fire extinguisher inspections and general fire safety inspections and also to record safety observations and manage corrective actions, anywhere and anytime. The solution can be used as a fire extinguisher barcode inspection software system or life safety inspection system to aid compliance in Higher Education, Healthcare, Industrial and Commercial Organizations. Benefits from a Fire Extinguisher Barcode System include the elimination of paperwork and reducing the burden of compliance with regulations such as NFPA, The Joint Commission. The Incident Reporting App allows users to easily and quickly report incidents, hazards and near-misses, these are then sent to the appropriate people for action and are managed to closure.  Web Apps provide features such as, setup, management, scheduling tools, analysis, reporting and dashboards etc with the ability to report incidents to government bodies such as OSHA and RIDDORHazMat T&T is a hazardous waste management software solution designed for Environmental Service Companies and companies who generate a large quantity of hazardous waste. The solution tracks hazardous waste from cradle to grave aiding compliance, providing accurate waste inventory, increasing waste handling efficiency, reducing risk and also helps manage waste costs. HazMat T&T Hazardous Waste Management Software can be deployed in a number of deployment scenarios, from Large Hazardous Waste Generators, tracking their hazardous waste at their site to Environmental Service and Waste Management Companies using it track and manage hazardous waste at transfer and disposal sites. For more information visit our website www.imectechnologies.com