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   from the issue of April 19, 2007

Fraternity leaders announce new fire-response initiative

The Interfraternity Council, consisting of presidents from the 23 UNL Greek fraternities, passed an amendment to its by-laws April 11 requiring all fire alarm systems at UNL fraternities to be monitored by an approved supervising station. This will shorten the notification and response times of fire department units to each structure.

Monitoring systems must meet international building and fire codes and will be required to function year-round. The by-law, which requires the monitoring systems to be installed by Aug. 27 passed unanimously at the April 11 Interfraternity Council meeting.

"Our Interfraternity Council has shown great leadership in making fire safety a priority this year," said Tim Pederson, IFC president. "This requirement is the logical next step in an ongoing effort to ensure fire-safe living environments for our members."

Since assuming office in January, the current Interfraternity Council has assisted with several programs and initiatives aimed at raising awareness for fire safety. In January, House Corporation Board members were invited to attend a seminar that included a fire simulation and evacuation drill. Greek leaders attended a liability summit in February where Rick Campos, fire inspector/investigator with the city of Lincoln Building and Codes Department, provided students with information on current fire codes, fire prevention tips, and fire suppression and detection systems. The President's Council has also endorsed including Greek living units in the university's tobacco-free campus policy which will prohibit the use of tobacco products in Greek living units. This will become effective May 6.

UNL officials said they are also pleased to have been asked to partner with the city of Lincoln on a grant application to the U.S. Fire Administration. This federal grant focuses on fire sprinkler education. The grant would provide a campus fire safety resource officer and would assist chapters with the cost of installing sprinkler systems in Greek living units. If funded, installation of fire sprinkler systems will likely begin in summer 2008.

"The IFC has shown great leadership and responsibility on improving fire safety issues within Greek housing," said Bill Moody, chief fire investigator with the Bureau of Fire Prevention. "Sponsoring fire safety forums, encouraging individual chapter fire presentations, and working with the Department of Building and Safety on upcoming fire safety projects are just a few examples of their dedication. The IFC has made fire safety a priority to each and every Greek member."



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