Higher Education Opportunity Act
Campus Fire Safety Annual Compliance Report
The Highter Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) was signed into law in August 2008 and contains several crucial campus safety components. One of the main provisions of the HEOA is the Campus Fire Safety Right-to-Know Act. This provision calls for all Title IV elegible institutions that participate in the Title IV programs and maintain on-campus student housing facilities to publish an annual fire safety report that outlines fires safety systems, policies, practices, and statistics. The following report discloses all information required by HEOA as it relates to Westminster College.In 2010, Westminster College owned and operated twelve 2-level residence halls, twenty residential houses, and one fraternity house. The College also had a lease agreement to maintain one 3-story house and two 2-level apartment buildings to house students. In addition, there are five additional fraternity-owned fraternity houses on the Westminster College campus.
View the Report: 2013 Fire Alarm & Safety Statistics
Fire Safety Policies
Westminster College recognizes that fire safety is everyone's responsibility. In a residential setting, carelessness affects not only one student's safety, but that of every resident of the building. As explained in the Student Handbook, all residents should actively avoid creating fire hazards and are not permitted to:
- Smoke tobacco products anywhere on Westminster College's property
-Use halogen lamps, incense, candles, oil lamps, lighter fluid
-Have any open flame
- Barbeque on large grills, gas grills, or smoker grills; use charcoal which must be ignited with lighter fluid; grill in any locations not approved by Residential Advisor (RA) or Security; leave grills unattended; leave used coals without dousing with water until cold; discard cold, wet coals in unapproved container; store grills and charcoal inside campus buildings.
- Hang items from fire sprinkler heads, heat detectors, or smoke detectors
- Use fireworks or explosives
- Use space heaters, toasters, hot plates, toaster ovens, any resistance coil cooking and heating units
- Have firearms or weapons
This is not all inclusive. Additional items may be added as deemed necessary by College personnel or as outlined in the College's Housing Contract and/or Student Handbook. Violating the aforementioned is considered a violation of the College Standards, which may result in punitive action.
Tampering with or misuse of fire safety equipment (extinguishers, smoke detectors, alarms, sprinklers, exit signs) is considered to be exceptionally dangerous behavior in a residential community and represents a serious violation of the College Standards.
Fire Safety Education and Training
Westminster College conducts fire safety, emergency response, evacuation protocol, and Residential Advisor responsibility training at the beginning of the academic year. The Residential Advisors are responsible for training their residents at their first meeting of the academic year. New students receive one hour of safety training, which includes fire safety, during orientation. Safety information and rules are spelled out in the Student Handbook.
New or relocating employees are trained for fire safety and other emergencies in Emergency Action Plan training. Building Contacts, persons assigned to monitor safety in each building, receive more extensive training based on the Campus Emergency Plan. Employees designated to respond as our Incident Command team participate in an annual tabletop exercise pertaining to the Campus Emergency Plan.
The College holds supervised fire safety drills in conjunction with fire extinguisher training for each administrative building, student residence hall, and fraternity house once each year. All occupants are expected to participate by going to the nearest exit and congregating in the designated safe zone for accountability. Plans for future improvements in fire safety include increasing the number of fire drills, more training of fraternities, moving some training to power point with questions at the end, and planned building inspections.
Emergency Response Procedures
Warning Systems: Westminster College facilities are equipped with some form of fire notification. Most academic buildings have self-detection systems and will automatically sound the warning and call the fire department. Others have aerosol boat horns for notification, manual alarm systems, smoke detectors, and a few have sprinkler systems. Other emergency notification systems utilized on campus are community and college sirens, text messaging, email messaging, verbal warning, and telephone intercom warning. For housing without fire alarm systems, the person spotting the fire/smoke must verbally make sure other occupants are notified and call 911 and Security.
Responsible Parties: Persons responsible for carrying out our emergency notification process are: Director of Campus Security, Executive Director of Plant Operations and Auxiliary Services, Environmental Health & Safety (EHS), Vice President and Dean of Student Life, Vice President for Business and Chief Financial Officer, Director of Counseling and Health, local health agencies, state health agencies, federal health agencies, local EOC, Fulton Fire Department (FFD), and Fulton Police Department (FPD).
Warning Initiation: Westminster College has developed procedures to immediately notify the campus community upon the confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation. All persons are asked to be proactive in calling for assistance if they are first on the scene. They are to call Security in all instances, call 911 if necessary, and initiate warning systems such as fire alarms or voice warnings as the situation warrants.
Emergency Confirmation: Westminster College will confirm there is a significant emergency by initially trusting in and acting on warning from the automatic alarm systems and opinion of first person on the scene. In the case of public health issues, outside agencies will be used for confirmation. Verification will com e secondarily to response, in the form of knowledge from Security, Building Contacts, and first responders.
Further Notification: Westminster College notification system is initially directed toward the population affected. Security and, depending on the nature of the incident 911, are notified for first response and furthering the notification. Upon a call to Security, other notification means will be set in motion. Security will further the warning if necessary by initiating text and email messages, or sounding the campus siren. Security will also contact the appropriate Incident Commander(IC) for the situation, and the IC will further notify appropriate persons. In the case of health related issues, the Director of Counseling and Health will work in conjunction with the IC for health issues and notify the campus via emails and posted information. Security will further the warning to the Executive Director of Plant Operations and Auxiliary Services, and/or EHS for assistance.
Notification Variations: Westminster College will, without delay, initiate the notification system unless the notification will compromise efforts to assist victims or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency. The content of emergency notifications is predetermined in text messages and warning emails. Content of telephone intercom warnings will be brief and mirror the information in text/email messages. However, each incident will be analyzed at its onset to determine the best and safest means of handling persons affected by the emergency. Public health issues are no exception to this, as information from county, state, and federal officials will weigh in on notification methods and content. Predetermined variations to most common emergencies are:
- Small fires which are put out with an extinguisher: these affect only the immediate population exposed, therefore the FFD is contacted through their non-emergency number and persons in the immediate vicinity are asked to evacuate until FFD determines the area is safe and the likelihood of reigniting nil.
- Bomb threats in general a call for evacuation but persons are warned to keep their eyes moving and be aware of any secondary plots when evacuating.
- Imminent tornado warnings which occur at the end of a work shift are sent, but employees and students who may be leaving campus are asked to stay put until the danger has passed.
- Lockdown calls for an immediate warning to stay put, but the incident may contain variables which alter the warning. On a large scale, Security and emergency responders will make instantaneous judgments as to the best response. On a small scale, persons are asked to stay put unless it is imperative that they move. In that case they are told to have an exact plan where they will go, have a backup plan if the first plan is dangerous, keep their eyes moving, and never move toward the police.
- Workplace violence and civil disorder also call for immediate decision making based on the scenario at hand. This type of emergency calls for cooperation and playing it smart, but the situation may call for more aggressive response.
Post Response: Persons, departments or organizations to which individuals should report that a fire has occurred:
- Fulton Fire Department (FFD)
- Director of Campus Security
- Executive Director of Plant Operations and Auxiliary Services
- Vice President of Business and Chief Financial Officer
- Environmental Health & Safety
- Building Contacts
- Residential and Greek Life
-Vice President and Dean of Student Life
Information Dissemination: Westminster College will utilize College Relations to disseminate updated post-emergency information to the campus, families, alumni, Board of Trustees, and the local community.
Emergency Evacuation Procedures
Fire safety training for residents teaches that each student must leave the building immediately when a fire alarm is sounded. RAs will meet their residents at the designated safe zone and do a head count. Security, college officials, or emergency personnel will direct students to safe shelter if needed. Students are required to abide by the instructions given during emergency situations.
Students and employees may not disregard a fire alarm or refuse to evacuate a building in which an alarm is sounding, regardless of its nature (drill, false alarm, or actual alert). Residents who fail to evacuate a building in a voluntary and timely manner will be subject to disciplinary action and possible change of or removal from College housing.
Westminster College will test and document emergency response, evacuation procedures, and emergency equipment on the schedule below, documenting each exercise with the date and time and whether it was announced or unannounced.
Fire drills: At least once per year
Tabletop exercise of the Campus Emergency Plan: Annually
Text message: Annually
Telephone intercom: Annually
Plans for future improvements in fire safety include increasing the number of fire drills, more training of fraternities, moving some training to power point with questions at the end, and planned building inspections.
Institutions must maintain a fire log that reflects the nature of the fire, date, time and general location of each fire in on-campus student housing facilities. Westminster College complies with this rule by including all fire-related incidents in the Daily Fire Log.
The Campus Security maintains a Fire Log of all incidents reported. This log includes the incident type, date incident is reported, date and time of occurrence, general location of each reported incident type and the disposition of the incident if that information is known. Campus Security posts specific incidents in the Fire Log within two (2) business days of receiving a report of an incident and reserves the right to exclude reports from a log in certain circumstances as permitted by law. The most current sixty (60) days of information is available in the Office of Campus Security in the General Services Building.