This letter is regarding the “Fire department staffing shortage raises ULV dorm safety concerns” article published on September 17, 2021. My hope is to provide greater context and insight, focusing on the safety of our residents.
The University became aware of the matters related to the La Verne Fire Department in June and made it a point to reach out to the city to ensure that student and resident safety was being fully addressed. The University was assured that there would be appropriate fire department response to any emergency situation that might arise at the University and its residence halls.
It is worth noting that fire safety protections are multifaceted, including fire department response, but also fire safety features and policies.
The two residence halls mentioned in the article, Vista and Citrus, are both relatively new. Before being cleared for occupancy, each had to meet stringent fire codes set by the county for congregate living facilities. The codes for congregate living facilities are much stricter than typical apartment or residential homes and include many regulations to ensure the fire safety of occupants.
These include smoke detectors and fire detectors in every room, fire sprinklers in every room, fire retardant materials (i.e. carpet, mattresses), fire resistant electrical outlet, and multiple fire escape routes .
In addition to these precautions, the University has policies in place to ensure fire safety, including not allowing use of candles or certain type of heating devices, annual testing of devices, and evacuation drills.
In summary, the safety of students is our top priority, and we are confident that appropriate measures are in place to help us achieve that goal.
Chief Student Affairs Officer