Thursday, October 27, 2011

Campus Safety talks fire pit regulations

By Meg Beerling
Feature Editor
Campus Safety Director Phil Gaddis and Associate Director Clint Estle discussed the responsibilities students have while utilizing the fire pits that Saint Mary's University offers for student recreation.

According to the 2011-2012 Resource Guide & Daily Planner, fire pits are to be reserved 48 hours in advance.

“Now that’s what we like it to be,” said Gaddis.

Students are allowed to come in within less than 48 hours have Campus Safety hear the request, said Estle.

“If someone came in today and said that they’ve got friends [visiting] and would like to have a bonfire tonight, I’d probably approve it,” said Estel.

“We are willing to work with students,” he said. “We take things on a case-by-case basis.”

For about a week before SMU’s Autumn Recess, the state issued Winona County as a “No Burn Zone,” said Gaddis. Even though SMU is on the outskirts of that zone, it was under orders to have no fires because of how dry it was, he said.

Wild fires were turning up and it was a strict safety precaution, said Gaddis.

“Then we got some rain, and it was back to approving requests,” said Estle.

“The fire pits are a wonderful resource,” said Estle. “We want to encourage students to go out and do those things, but there are responsibilities that come with that.”

Said Gaddis, it all comes down to responsibility, and the regulations regarding the SMU fire pits are similar to those of other locations with like facilities.

Students must make sure that the fire is extinguished completely once they are done, said Estle.

Should the rules be broken, the next step is a conversation with the permit holder, said Gaddis. He said Campus Safety want to have someone to talk to about the regulations and to make sure they know about their responsibilities as a fire permit holder.

There is not a set time frame for having bon fires but Gaddis advises students not to be out in the bluffs past 1 a.m. Camping is not allowed in the bluffs, so if students are out much later than that, it starts “getting into camping territory,” he said.

Also, in accordance with the campus-wide policy of not having alcohol outside of residence halls, alcohol is not permitted at these events, said Estle.

“The fire pits are there for students to use and enjoy,” said Estle. “[They] just have to know it comes with responsibilities just like anything else.”

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