Community Risk Reduction
Historically, the University of California Davis Fire Department has used multiple types of demographic data to understand the risks to be protected and how to deploy emergency response or prevention resources to these risks to lessen or prevent the seriousness of an emergency. In addition, the University has used data from its insurer, Factory Mutual Global. During 2010 the UC Board of Regents required all UC campuses to complete a risk assessment for fire and non-fire risks, and to rate their relevance and impacts to their respective campus. Each campus has a unique set of characteristics and demographics. For Emergency Medical Service (EMS) incidents, the patient-care response directives come from the Sierra-Sacramento Valley (S-SV EMS) Emergency Medical Services Agency and the State of California EMS Authority, all of which drive the Department’s EMS response system standards.
Risk in Context
UC Davis comprises 5,300 acres and 964 buildings totaling 11.4 million square feet with over 32,000 students (6,300 residing on campus) and 21,000 employees. The campus has six academic discipline colleges, one of eight national primate centers, a large dominance in research and one of the largest research centers using radiation. The University is a large provider of intellectual research knowledge in medicine, agriculture and animal disease. In addition to the campus and educational activities associated with UC Davis, there are also almost 8,000 annual events on the campus with an additional 5.8 million attendees. Major thoroughfares and utility arteries such as freeways, rail lines, high-pressure natural gas pipeline and electrical transmission lines also traverse the campus.
UC Davis is somewhat unique in its risk context compared to many other colleges. Aside from the normal fire risk and non-fire risk such as medical and technical rescue requests for service, the campus is unique in its number and different types of research facilities and laboratories including blood borne pathogen laboratories and a greenhouse for biohazard research. UC Davis is one of two veterinary colleges in the state and the only one in the UC system. UC Davis is also home to the nation’s largest animal research program, involving 280 campus buildings and numerous research personnel and investigators. This uniqueness and diversity in education and research requires that the emergency response organization be focused on providing an all-hazard, all-risk approach to service delivery. The UC Davis Fire Department is not just a fire-response-oriented department.
UC Davis’s fire risk, like most major university campuses, is a composite of low, medium, high, and very high risk. Moreover, like most major colleges, the bulk of the risk requires moderate fire flow and is in the form of college lecture halls/classrooms. As expected, the campus has a large number of residential structures including apartments, mid-rise dormitory units, and a rarity, single-family houses and condominium structures in a mixed-use occupancy format available for purchase and occupancy by any citizen; the owner need not be a student, staff or faculty. The majority of structures are not equipped with fire sprinkler systems. There are a minimal number of high-rise structures (7) and the majority of the campus buildings are one or two stories. The University applies the California Building Code to determine appropriate construction type, which also limits the potential for fire spread.
What is unique about UC Davis is that there are some high and very high risks in research laboratories or other highly technical and sensitive buildings. The University conducts research for the Center of Disease Control (CDC) involving biological components, food and agricultural products and a primate medical research facility. The University has a very high risk level where the loss of intellectual property would be devastating and potentially irreplaceable.
UC Davis also has other significant characteristics that complicate the risk for its fire department: the potential for terrorist-caused events given its role as a major laboratory and research campus. The campus also has a student medical center on site.
The campus is not physically located near any known seismic fault line that has the potential to fracture and cause substantial building damage. Risk and probability for earthquakes are thus low.
UC Davis has most of the risks associated with a large university campus, including multi-story high-rise buildings, large public and government facilities and buildings and laboratories for scientific research.