The Princeton Review, an independent organization that gathers information about colleges throughout the nation and draws comparisons based off of their findings, has finished compiling their statistics for the 2014-2015 academic year. In the fire safety category, Montclair State University was among the 23 honor roll recipients, earning a perfect score. The Princeton Review asked 1,165 schools about the fire safety measures -- such as automatic fire sprinkler systems and smoke detectors in residence hall rooms -- they have in place to support on-campus fire safety. Each school was rated on a scale of 60-99, with only 23 colleges receiving perfect scores.
The staff members of Montclair State University's Department of Fire Safety are members of the Center for Campus Fire Safety (CCFS). The progressive programs that Montclair State University has held and are in the process of planning for their campus community were first learned at the CCFS's annual Fire Forum. "The Fire Forum provides an excellent opportunity for professionals working in campus fire prevention to meet each other and exchange ideas," said Robert Ferrara, Director of Fire Safety at Montclair State University. Ferrara attributes the success of his program not only to his attendance at the Fire Forums, but also to the University administration's commitment to his department.
According to Robert Ferrara, the University's Director of Fire Safety, the recognition reflects "...the dedication and support I have from the University to upgrade life safety systems, as well as the efforts of my staff to update training programs for students and staff. Our administration's attitude echo's the mission of the CCFS's message: 'Everyone graduates.' You simply can't put a price on a student's life," said Ferrara. He continued,"...coupled with the excellent opportunities that the CCFS Fire Forum provide, has made the attainment of a perfect score [on the Princeton Review] obtainable."
The staff of Montclair State University's Department of Fire Safety is continually applying lessons learned from their programs, as well as lessons learned from other colleges, to provide their campus community members with superior fire prevention programming. They regularly review their programs and compare a plethora of data to determine the effectiveness of their fire prevention initiatives. They regularly share their programs at the CCFS Fire Forum.
Noting that 100 percent of Montclair State's residence hall rooms are equipped with sprinklers and alarms, Ferrara says: "We are committed to our community." This commitment is evident in groundbreaking programs like the new Fire Academy for Greek Life Students, scheduled for August 28, 2013.
Partnering with the Bergen County Law and Public Safety Institute (BCLPSI), the daylong academy shows fraternity and sorority students -- an off-campus population that fire prevention programs often overlook -- how simple measures can prevent fires and save lives. The program is held at the BCLPSI's Life Safety Complex, which houses live fire-training simulators.
"This program is the first of its kind in New Jersey," says Ferrara, a past chief of the Lyndhurst (NJ) Fire Department and member of the Center for Campus Fire Safety Board of Directors. "It reflects Montclair State's progressive stance on fire prevention and education." The University has received a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to perfect the pilot program and share it with other colleges and universities.
"Being included on the Fire Safety Honor Roll proves that the efforts of my department and the University's commitment are being recognized on a national level," says Ferrara. "This would have been impossible if not for the Center for Campus Fire Safety," added Ferrara.