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The Intersection of Education and Fire Security: University Campus Sites

Global -

By David Guerin, Managing Director, Chubb Sicli, Switzerland

Fire and security needs are an essential aspect of facilities management across all sectors. However, recently there is an increasing expectation and demand on fire and security providers particularly in the education sector.

Each university site brings distinct challenges, with differing facilities and specialties. This is in addition to the need to maintain the capacity of both students and lecturers to study, learn and teach at the high level expected. While some universities may be based in urban areas with high rise buildings, others may be sprawled across green open spaces. Some universities have specialised sporting facilities, while others may be focused on engineering or scientific study, with the associated technical (and often expensive) equipment.

The safety of students in a university environment is paramount. In the eventuality of a fire, students could be at great risk and, beyond the immediacy of physical harm, this can have serious ramifications for the reputation of an educational institution and how parents and their children view the establishment in the future.

Integrated solutions must be nimble and adapted to a range of different site types across a university, including campus residences, recreational areas, open spaces and classrooms. Identifying and overcoming these challenges, Chubb Sicli recently completed the installation of a full suite of fire safety and security equipment and services at Webster University Geneva.

Established in Switzerland in 1978, Webster University Geneva is an accredited American university campus that offers programs in English to students interested in undergraduate or graduate-level education. Located in the Commune of Bellevue, just a few kilometres from Geneva's central station, the campus of Webster University Geneva includes five buildings in a park-style atmosphere.

Chubb Sicli has been providing Webster’s fire extinguisher maintenance for over 25 years. This relationship led to a full fire and security audit, which identified the need for updates to its security installation.

The initial audit showed that several improvements to the university’s security profile were needed. The challenge was to create and provide an effective and interconnected fire and security solution, enhancing the security of the student population and its ever-evolving needs. This included complete fire detection and intruder alarms for all five buildings and upgrades to existing CCTV systems and will include an automated fire extinguishing system in the kitchen areas. In addition to this integrated system solution, Webster University required access control for all main entrances, which is underway, with the condition that all documentation be made available in English because Webster is an American company.

Chubb Sicli used its quality, capability and security expertise, as well as project management skills, to provide a bespoke solution for the unique educational establishment. Through dedicated and integrated fire safety support, Chubb Sicli was able to provide students with peace of mind and security, without disruption to regular activities. Through the instigation of a detailed audit, which was matched with aligned services and advice, Chubb Sicli provided continued support and protection across the campus.