Preserving the Past, Protecting the Future.
Founded in 1898, seventeen years after the first class was held at was then known as the Storrs Agricultural School, the University of Connecticut Fire Department (UCFD) has protected the University’s infrastructure, academics, research and population as it has grown from a small rural college to a nearly 40,000 person “city” ranked continually within the top 20 public colleges and universities in the United States. UCFD’s main goal is to provide fire protection and other critical public safety services to the UConn community, which includes students, staff, faculty, visitors and neighbors. The Department continually educates the University in fire, life safety and disaster preparedness, as well as serves as the primary unit responsible for enforcing public safety codes. This effort requires dedicated, professional uniformed personnel who have sworn an oath to maintain the Department’s mission and values.
Professional Operations 24/7.
UCFD consists of three divisions: Fire Operations, Fire Administration and the Fire Marshal Unit. The UCFD is comprised of 50 personnel at maximum staffing.
The Fire Operations Division, is divided between two fire stations, one located in Storrs (Headquarters) and the other in Farmington (Health Center). The Storrs station, also known as Station 22, is comprised of four platoons with up to six personnel consisting of a Captain, Lieutenant and Firefighters. All personnel are state certified in fire suppression operations, technician-level hazardous materials operations and are licensed Emergency Medical Technicians providing ambulance transport services from the Storrs station. Station 22 has two engines, a tower ladder, four BLS ambulances, a pick up truck, Shift commander SUV, a Special Hazards vehicle, and other support vehicles / trailers.
The UCFD Health Center station, also known as station 122, is dedicated to the protection and preservation of the UConn Health Center Campus. The station has 17 personnel assigned at maximum staffing. This includes four Lieutenants, twelve firefighters, and a Staff Officer. There is always a minimum of three personnel on duty with one of them being a Paramedic. The UCFD HC station provides an ALS service for the campus. They have one engine, two ALS ambulances, a rescue, a utility body pick up truck, and additional support vehicles / trailers. They provide all fire, rescue, and hazmat response to the campus along with providing any ALS transport needed on campus and provide mutual aid to the surrounding communities when requested. They have the ability to staff one ALS ambulance at any given time. In addition to the emergency response, they are responsible for regular fire sprinkler and extinguisher inspections of all UConn Farmington buildings.
Fire Administration is responsible for planning, budget and oversight of the Department under the direction of the Fire Chief.
The FMBIO consist of the Fire Marshal’s Office, the Building Inspector’s Office and the Life Safety and Security Systems Unit. The FMBIO has a total of seventeen personnel:
- Captain/University Fire Marshal
- Deputy Fire Marshal/Lieutenants
- Fire Inspectors
- Building Officials
- Life Safety and Security Systems Specialists.
This office is responsible for code compliance and issuing of building permits for new construction and renovation projects. They also provide public fire safety education and planning assistance. The fire marshals are responsible for all fire investigations at Storrs and all University owned properties. This division provides the life safety systems program, coordination and maintenance of critical life safety and security systems in University owned buildings, with the exception of the Health Center. (https://fmbio.uconn.edu)
Reliable Emergency Response When Seconds Count.
Responding to over 5400 calls for service annually, UCFD response times exceed the national standard, providing highly skilled professionals on-scene when life safety is at risk. UCFD’s presence on campus provides a rapid response to emergency calls.
Fire Suppression – UCFD headquarters responds to approximately 100 actual fires annually, which include mutual aid fires, building fires, cooking fires, car fires, dumpster fires and other various fire emergencies. This number does not reflect the number of incidents that do not occur due to the extensive fire prevention measures in place.
Emergency Medical Services- Between the six on-campus ambulances, UCFD responds to over 2500 medical emergencies per year to provide emergency medical services and emergency transport services to both campuses.
Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Incidents – HazMat incidents comprise approximately 100 emergency response calls per year. These incidents range in size and complexity from small incidents, such as a motor vehicle fluid leak, to larger scale incidents in our laboratory buildings. All UConn Fire Department personnel are certified at the Hazardous Materials Technician level and trained for site specific hazards. This level of training provides for a rapid response to hazardous materials incidents on campus without having to wait on other agencies, such as the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. This is instrumental in providing a rapid, high level of service for unique building hazards, such as the chemistry, pharmacy and biology buildings. UCFD is also a member of the Connecticut Eastern Region Response Integrated Team (CERRIT) team, a multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplined, all hazards response team that was formed in 2003 to address emergency incidents that occur within New London and Windham Counties. Additionally the UCFD is a member of the Capitol Region Hazardous Materials Response Team which serves CT Region 3 communities. The Department is equipped with complex and comprehensive metering equipment, proper protective clothing, decontamination equipment and various other items to assist in a safe and effective hazardous materials response.
Additional Emergency Services and Technical Rescue. The remainder of the calls for service range from responses to motor vehicle accidents, elevator entrapments, false alarms, malicious alarms, special rescue calls and other hazardous conditions. Our firefighters are trained in technical rescue, which allows us to provide specialized rescue to the entire campus community. UCFD routinely provides technical rescue services, such as confined space and rope rescue, for construction projects, facilities and maintenance.
Fire Marshal Unit.
The Fire Marshal’s Unit ensures that the University has safe places to live and learn. This initiative starts from the inception of a new building project, throughout construction process and continues for the life of the building. The FMU is responsible for code compliance on all university owned properties, statewide, for buildings and construction projects which are not under the jurisdiction of other Connecticut agencies. The Fire Marshals conduct fire investigations for all UConn owned property, and in turn make the university safer by applying the findings to better practices and new fire prevention education programs.
The Fire Marshal’s Unit provides fire safety and prevention outreach programs that include annual training for resident advisors (RAs) and hall directors on campus, attending open houses for incoming students and parents, and any other special-request fire prevention programs.
The Life Safety Systems unit, tests and maintains fire protection and notification systems. The campus is protected by networked modern fire alarm systems which contain over 70,000 detection points, including smoke, heat, and air duct detectors, manual pull stations, and sprinkler monitoring points. These addressable detection points report to the dispatch center with an exact building name, address, and location within the building. Public Safety Emergency Communications can enable, disable, silence and reset alarm points. When activated, UConn’s life safety systems enhance response times by providing UCFD responders with the location of activation.
Enterprise Emergency Management.
The UConn Fire Department participates in a leadership role with the Office of Emergency Management by providing a liaison that oversees emergency planning, preparedness, response, mitigation, recovery and daily Office business. Initiatives include:
- Executive Policy Group Member
- Emergency Operations Center, Emergency Operations Team (16 activations last year)
- Emergency Operations Plan, Continuity of Operations/Business Continuity
- Support for evacuation, sheltering, mass casualty
For more information, visit: http://oem.uconn.edu/
Sustaining Leadership, Demanding Excellence.
UCFD provides equipment, personnel and expertise through mutual aid agreements with the local towns and cities neighboring the main campus at Storrs and through regional agreements state-wide.
The Fire Departments that serve the areas adjacent to the Storrs Campus lack the resources to provide primary fire services to the campus. That is not a reflection upon their competence in any way. Local departments are primarily volunteer fire companies and do not have the time and resources available to be intimately familiar with the layout, processes, hazards, systems and dynamics of a complex university. Although the fire companies in adjacent communities will always assist with any significant fire or related incident, it is unrealistic to expect these off-campus agencies to become familiar with the unique issues of risk on the campus.
Station 22 (Storrs):
126 North Eagleville Road, Unit 3165
Storrs, CT 06269-3165
Phone: (860) 486-4925
FAX: (860) 486-4179
Station 122 (Farmington):
1052 Lower Campus Drive
Farmington, CT 06030
Phone: (860) 486-4925
All Emergencies Dial 911
The mission of the UConn Fire Department is to protect the lives, property and the community while respecting its values and cultures.
We are committed to the maintenance of a safe place in which to learn and live, and the development of a culturally conscious department that will match the diversity of the UConn community.
Our commitment to our community is never ending and always evolving.
The University of Connecticut Fire Department’s vision is to be a world-class emergency response team by meeting the following goals:
Create a vision of operational excellence
- Become accredited
- Comply with NFPA standards
- Comply with OSHA standards
- Meet the highest achievable standard
Create an environment that is conducive to operational excellence
- Maintain a supportive work force
- Commit to self-evaluation of performance
- Have open and respectful communications
- Respect others’ beliefs and ranks
- Work as a team
Foster a reputation for operational excellence
- Promote honest and meaningful relationships
- Encourage open and honest feedback
- Recognize operational excellence
- Market our success
- Benchmark similar programs
Chief Officers 860-486-5164
Doctor William Perez serves as Fire Chief/Associate Director of Public Safety for the University of Connecticut Fire Department which currently serves 40,000 students, staff, faculty, visitors and neighbors. Chief Perez oversees three divisions: Fire Operations, Fire Administration and the Fire Marshal Unit. With this, he is responsible for providing the education to the University in fire, life safety, and disaster preparedness, as well as enforcing public safety codes. Just prior to starting at UConn, Chief Perez retired from the East Hartford Fire Department after a 25-year decorated career. He retired as the Assistant Fire Chief and was responsible for all aspects of operations, including: fire suppression, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), special operations, training, and had overseen the Office of Emergency Management for 13 years. Raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut, he started his public safety career in 1987 as an EMT, and became a licensed Paramedic in 1990. He is a decorated US Navy veteran, having served as a Fleet Marine Force Navy Corpsman during Operation Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has been a member of the adjunct faculty at Capital Community College in Hartford since 1995, where he teaches Paramedicine. He is also an instructor at the National Fire Academy.
Chief Perez holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Anna Maria College and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Hartford. During his career, he has earned a multitude of awards and recognitions from the US Navy and the East Hartford Fire Department. He holds the following professional credentials: Chief Fire Officer (CFO), Executive Fire Officer (EFO), Member Institution of Fire Engineers (MIFireE), and Certified Emergency Manager (CEM).
With several decades of firefighting and emergency operations experience, Deputy Chief Renshaw oversees fire suppression, EMS, hazardous material response, special operations and training for the Department. During his career, he was instrumental in establishing the Office of Emergency Management and the Emergency Management Program throughout the University of Connecticut’s enterprise. Additionally, since 2000, Deputy Chief Renshaw has served as a wildland firefighter for the United States Forest Service, having been deployed over twenty times to large incidents across North America on both state and federal teams.
A graduate of UConn, he holds both a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Natural Resource Management and Engineering as well as numerous emergency medical, emergency management and fire certifications. Deputy Chief Renshaw has received multiple state and federal commendations for his actions, leadership and initiatives.
Staff Officers 860-486-5158
Captain Anthony Ruggiero began his UConn career in 2008 as a Firefighter/Paramedic with the UConn Health Center Fire Department, later promoted to Lieutenant and Captain/Shift Commander at UConn Health. He was then assigned as the Training Captain and is currently assigned as the Administrative Captain. He is the Commander of our department’s Honor Guard and is heavily involved with the Connecticut Statewide Honor Guard and National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Captain Ruggiero serves as one of the Medical Managers for the Connecticut Urban Search and Rescue, Task Force 1. As the Administrative Captain, he oversees or assists with purchasing, payroll, budgeting, uniforms, radios, PPE, SCBA, SOG development, and other projects assigned by the Chief Officers. He also serves as the co-Chairperson of the Fire Safety Subcommittee for John Dempsey Hospital’s Environment of Care Committee.
A graduate of Elms College, Captain Ruggiero holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and previously worked as a Staff Nurse in the Emergency Department of a local Level I Trauma Center for ten years. He currently works per diem as a Registered Nurse for UConn Student Health and Wellness.
Captain Neil Prendergast serves as the Department’s Emergency Medical Service lead, overseeing the training and compliance of the Departments Emergency Medical Technicians, and Paramedics, as well as serving as the liaison to the Office of Emergency Management. Captain Prendergast began his career in 2006 as a Firefighter/Paramedic at the then, UConn Health Center Fire Department before its merger. Captain Prendergast is the main point of contact for the University’s Public Access AED Program and represents the Department on numerous University and Regional working groups. As an EMSI, he works closely with the Training Division to ensure the highest level of recertification and skill development is achieved across the Division of Public Safety.
A graduate of Southern Connecticut State University, Captain Prendergast holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health and holds a Connecticut Teaching Certificate.
Captain Eric Colantonio serves the Fire Department as the Training Captain. Captain Colantonio began his service as a Firefighter/ Paramedic in 2006 for the UCONN Health Center Fire Department. He previously served as the C Platoon Lieutenant at Station 122 before moving into his current position. As the Training Captain, Capt. Colantonio oversees all the Fire Department training needs. He works collaboratively with other University departments to ensure that public safety is meeting all regulations. He also works with our healthcare partners at UCONN Health to ensure that all healthcare fire safety regulations are met. Captain Colantonio also serves as the Incident Safety Officer for the department.
*PM stands for paramedic
Fire Marshal Unit 860-486-4644
Born and raised on Cape Cod MA, Captain Garvin became a volunteer/junior firefighter at the age of 16. I began responding with the Sandwich Fire Department as a Call firefighter at the age of 18. After high school, he joined the United States Marine Corps and served a four-year active duty tour as a Field Radio Operation. After his service was completed, he started to work in nuclear power industry as a traveling fire and safety inspector, and started night school for related formal education. After traveling/working throughout the country, he settled down in Waterford CT, married, and raised a family, (two exceptional daughters). He continued working various fire/safety roles at the Millstone Nuclear Power Station, culminating as the Station Fire Marshal. He served on the Waterford Representative Town Meeting (RTM) and Waterford Ethics Commission. In 2007, after an 18-year career in this field, he took a position at UConn as a Fire Inspector, was promoted to Fire Department Shift Commander, and now manages the Fire Marshal Unit as the University Fire Marshal. He enjoys all things NASA and SpaceX, 80’s rock & roll, community service, running, and recently started boxing.