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Perhaps most crucial is for local fire departments to play as aggressive a role as their state laws allow when it comes to campus fire prevention and safety. Legal barriers that prevent fire department inspectors from inspecting college buildings have to be broken in states where they exist. When it comes to the off-campus rooming houses and make-shift dorms, the local fire department has full responsibility to provide fire protection, which should include the power to inspect premises and order corrections of code violations. And, when a fire does occur, on or off campus, the first call should go directly to the fire department - not campus security.
HAL BRUNO, a FirehouseÂ® contributing editor, retired as political director for ABC News in Washington and served almost 40 years as a volunteer firefighter. He is a director of the Chevy Chase, MD, Fire Department and recently retired as chairman of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.