Fire Prevention & Life Safety

We deliver safety training, review construction plans for fire code compliance, verify function of new or modified fire protection and life safety systems, and inspect the campuses to ensure safety in the built environment. Monthly, our team inspects more than 2,100 fire extinguishers, 550 sprinkler valves and fittings, and 40 AEDS. We are ready to help the UTSA community to develop exit strategies to escape fire and other emergencies.

Fire Safety Guidelines

UTSA is a rapidly growing institution, and the responsibilities of the Fire Prevention and Life Safety team grow and change with it. We help ensure safety of the build environment by:

  • Fire Alarm Evacuation Exercises (Fire Drills): We coordinate with the UTSA Police Department, Business Continuity and Facilities to test campus buildings and their occupants annually. We plan, implement, monitor and report on these exercises to help ensure that emergency evacuation procedures are current and effective.
  • Egress Inspections: We inspect major campus buildings with an emphasis on assembly occupancies. During these mandatory inspections, we identify life safety deficiencies that would prevent occupants from rapidly exiting the building, and promptly work to have them corrected.
  • Residential Inspections: Our inspectors team up with Campus Living Villages and Housing and Residential Life staff to inspect residential buildings each fall and spring semester. We take this opportunity to identify hazards within campus housing and educate tenants about fire safety and UTSA policies.

There are more than 2,100 fire extinguishers in UTSA buildings. The Fire Prevention and Life Safety Team ensures that each one is ready for use in an emergency.

The Fire Prevention and Life Safety team also inspects 550 fire sprinkler systems, 50 fire department connections, 25 fire suppression systems, and 40 automatic external defibrillators monthly, to ensure readiness in case of emergency.

  • Monthly and Annual Inspections: We inspect each extinguisher every month to ensure they are in their proper location and are in good working order. We also conduct a detailed annual inspection to ensure our extinguishers are free of physical damage.
  • Maintenance: For more labor-intensive service, we contract with vendors equipped to perform hydrostatic testing and equipment recertification. Our detailed inventory database assists us in scheduling required maintenance.

Our team provides the following training courses for UTSA staff and faculty:

  • SA 0411: Live Fire Trainer: This course provides a hands-on fire extinguisher training experience. We give attendees an opportunity to extinguish a live fire on a propane-powered fire simulator.
  • SA 0473: Fire Safety for Home and Office: This course covers the basics of fire and life safety in your home or office. Topics of discussion include: types of fires, extinguishing requirements, fire extinguisher use, structural life safety features, fire suppression systems, fire prevention, and building evacuation strategies.
  • SA 0495: Fire Codes in Construction: Introduction: This course provides a brief outline of the laws, codes and standards that apply to UTSA buildings, including fire protection standards for portable fire extinguishers, sprinklers, fire pumps and fire alarm systems, along with plan review and system acceptance requirements for each.
  • SA 0496: Fire Codes in Laboratories: Introduction: This course provides a brief outline of the laws, codes, and standards that apply to fire protection in UTSA laboratories. It also provides a review of tactical fire response to UTSA laboratories and of how codes apply for those purposes.

These classes are available to departments upon request. We can also provide this content to students, whether at an event or in the context of coursework.

  • Plan Review: Our staff reviews project documents for new construction, as well as for modifications and renovations scheduled on campus, for any relevant life safety or fire protection issues.
  • Construction Inspection: The Fire and Life Safety Team inspects on-going construction projects to ensure that UTSA receives buildings in a condition that is safe to occupy. Working closely with our UTSA and corporate partners in construction, we help ensure safe and code compliant conditions at project completion.
  • Acceptance Testing: We monitor final acceptance testing of fire protection systems for these projects to ensure that the systems will perform to their specifications, listings and design standards, as well as code requirements.
  • Hot Work Permits: Anyone performing cutting, welding or other related hot work at any UTSA campus and/or satellite locations must obtain a UTSA Hot Work Permit prior starting work. The permit process includes an on-site evaluation, equipment inspection, and confirmation that there is a working, inspected fire extinguisher dedicated for fire control at the work area. To accommodate scheduling, we suggest requesting the permit with at least two business days advance notice. Fast Facts: Hot Work Permit Requests

The Fire Prevention and Life Safety Team provides safety services to special events at all UTSA locations. We inspect cooking operations, review electrical usage and monitor event conditions to help ensure everyone enjoys a safe and successful event. We operate in unified command with San Antonio Fire Department for pyrotechnics events.

Have an Exit Strategy

Whether it is a fire in a dorm room, club or concert venue, or in a public building, your chance of survival rests entirely on your ability to reach an unblocked exit. You generally have 60 seconds. Would you know what to do? We support the Texas State Fire Marshal's Office's "Have an Exit Strategy" initiative. Everyone should learn two ways out of any room they're in, whether that room happens to be their own kitchen, a board room at work, a movie theater or any other locale. Learn more about creating your exit strategy.

UTSA maintains a log of fires that have occurred in on-campus student housing in accordance with federal regulations (34 CFR §668.49).

Date of Report Nature Date Time Location
04/24/2023 Electrical 4 APR 2023 06:00 Chisholm Hall 320
02/02/2022 Electrical 2 FEB 2022 00:45 Chaparral Village 2.103
03/08/2021 Accidental (cooking equipment) 8 MAR 2021 23:19 Laurel Village 5-111
01/02/2021 Cooking 2 JAN 2021 12:44 University Oaks 604
05/03/2020 Improper handling of smoking materials 3 MAY 2020 11:03 Laurel Village 01-304
02/26/2019 Electrical appliance 26 FEB 2019 13:55 University Oaks 1804
10/27/2018 Cooking 26 OCT 2018 20:00 Alvarez Residence Hall Community Kitchen
09/27/2018 Electrical short 27 SEP 2018 23:20 Alvarez Residence Hall C104A
02/06/2018 Accidental (Unknown) 6 FEB 2018 14:45 Chaparral Village 5.101
12/07/2017 Accidental (Candle) 7 DEC 2017 12:00 Laurel Village 8-209A
08/26/2017 Cooking     Laurel Village 6.101A
08/23/2017 Electrical short 23 AUG 2017 17:30 (approx.) Chaparral Village 1.306A
11/16/2016 Unattended smoking materials 16 NOV 2016 15:30 Chaparral Village 8.304
09/03/2015 Cooking 3 SEP 2015 19:26 University Oaks
07/16/2015 Metal Cutting 16 JUL 2015 19:30
Chaparral Village 1 exterior
11/23/2014 Cooking 23 NOV 2014   Alvarez Residence Hall (was San Saba Hall), Community Kitchen
07/24/2014 Undetermined 24 JUL 2014 09:30 University Oaks, unit 2215
10/30/2013 Cooking 30 OCT 2013 20:54 Chisholm Hall Unit 136
10/02/2012 Cooking 2 OCT 2012 22:50 University Oaks, Unit 4203
01/21/2011 Unattended candle 21 JAN 2011 13:14 Chaparral Village 12.213
10/30/2009 Cooking 30 OCT 2009 19:25 University Oaks, Unit 602
05/07/2008 Cooking 7 MAY 2008 16:54 University Oaks, Unit 1904

The UTSA Fire Log is not a complete list of all fire events that have occurred on UTSA property.

The following definitions apply to this fire log:

  • On-campus student housing: refers only to structures containing residential occupancy for students. The UTSA Fire Log does not include neighborhood centers within student housing developments, campus facilities (administrative, academic, library, student life or support) where students may overnight on a transient basis, vehicles, locations off UTSA property or outdoor locations of any kind.
  • Fire: “any instance of open flame or other burning in a place not intended to contain the burning or in an uncontrolled manner.”
    • Fire does not include controlled burning, even when that event is contrary to policy, such as candles, smoking or other open flames, when that open flame does not result in property damage.

Combined Fire and Safety Report

Effective 2015, UTSA has combined the security and fire reports into a single document. To access the current report, visit the  UTSAPD Reports and Statistics page and select “Annual Security Report.”

Prior to 2015, UTSA's Risk and Emergency Management provided an annual Fire Report to the community. This fire report provided:

  1. Statistics relating to fires in on-campus student housing, including:
    1. The number of fires and the cause of each fire
    2. The number of persons who received fire-related injuries that resulted in treatment at a medical facility, including at an on-campus health center
    3. The number of deaths related to a fire
    4. The value of property damage caused by a fire
  2. A description of each on-campus student housing facility fire safety system.
  3. The number of fire drills held during the previous calendar year.
  4. The institution's policies or rules on portable electrical appliances, smoking and open flames in a student housing facility.
  5. The institution's procedures for student housing evacuation in the case of a fire.
  6. Fire safety education and training programs provided to students and employees.
  7. Titles of each person or organization to which students and employees should report that a fire occurred.
  8. Plans for future improvements in fire safety, if determined necessary by the institution.

AHJ Memoranda

Authority Having Jurisdiction Memos


Fire Safety Links

The Center for Campus Fire Safety is a non-profit organization focused on campus fire safety.

Campus Firewatch is an e-newsletter focusing on campus fire safety.

Have an Exit Strategy is an initiative of the Texas State Fire Marshal's Office.

Fire Safety for College Students is an informational page maintained by the U.S. Fire Administration, a division of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).