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CMU partners with Grand Junction Fire Department to enhance community safety

Grand Junction The Grand Junction Fire Department and CMU safety personnel tested emergency systems and procedures at the University Center parking garage on Monday, December 17, 2018. 

Director of Campus Safety Pua Utu was prepared to receive calls from the public about the drill. 

“Some people might have worried seeing all the fire trucks outside the university yesterday,” said Utu. “Students and the community can rest assured we were simply making sure campus safety systems work as designed.” 

Colorado Mesa University champions the strength of partnerships built with local first responders including the Grand Junction Police Department and the Grand Junction Fire Department. Specialized training exercises often showcase the collaborative approach to emergency planning used by CMU and emergency service providers. 

CMU Vice President of Student Services John Marshall coordinates campus safety programs and said, “When it comes to campus safety, CMU works to integrate first responders into everything we do. From the physical safety of students to the mechanical integrity of buildings, we coordinate with the Grand Junction fire and police departments on a continual basis.” 

CMU Manager of Life Safety Rick Fox assisted in scheduling the drill along with UC Director Breanne Meier. 

“President Foster established an expectation that we do all that we can to assist and coordinate with first responders making campus safety our highest priority,” said Fox. “Allowing the use of our facilities for training strengthens CMU partnerships resulting in a campus that is even safer for students.” 

The fire department tested what is known by firefighters as dry stand pipe. The steel pipe is located throughout the UC parking garage facility, which is a separate building but connected to the UC. While the pipes contain no water day-to-day, there are connection points allowing firefighters to pressure up the water pipe system in order to respond to a vehicle fire or emergency in the garage. 

Grand Junction Fire Department Deputy Chief Gus Hendricks said, “Only real world training can prepare firefighters for real-world action.” He expressed the importance of using community facilities for practice in order to help prepare firefighters for emergencies that could happen anywhere in the community. 

“Training at CMU is invaluable for our team as we access specialized structures within our response area,” said Hendricks. “Working with CMU provides firefighters insights into these structures for incident planning purposes before an emergency occurs.”