With California bracing for a potentially devastating fire season, UCLA has increased its capacity to respond to fire emergencies and provide clear information about conditions on campus.
In the summer of 2020, UCLA activated five air quality sensors — at Sproul Hall, the Anderson School of Management, the Terasaki Life Sciences Building, the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and the UCLA-owned Sycamore Court apartments in Westwood Village.
Information from the sensors is displayed in real time on UCLA’s new air quality dashboard, which was developed by UCLA Environment, Health & Safety and the UCLA Facilities Management’s geographic information systems team. In addition to an easy-to-read display of air quality measurements, the site lists steps that members of the campus community should take if conditions become unhealthy.
UCLA Fire Marshal Rico Barboza said the sensors can be especially helpful during a wildfire because conditions often change quickly.
“The on-campus sensors give us a sense the origin of the danger, which way the wind is blowing and where emerging threats are likely to come from,” he said.
Monitoring the air quality index also allows Barboza’s team to alert other campus departments and notify emergency room personnel at the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center that they should be ready for patients with conditions that can be triggered by poor air quality.
The website and sensors also are valuable for UCLA’s Office of Emergency Management, which determines whether to cancel classes, close campus or evacuate residence halls in case of a fire. The campus has established emergency response protocols that range from providing face coverings to employees and students in residence halls to instituting a complete or partial campus evacuation, depending on the severity of the threat.
UCLA communicates about fire conditions via text and email to subscribers of the BruinAlert system, through the campus’s official social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and on Bruins Safe Online.
All students with valid email addresses in MyUCLA are automatically enrolled to receive BruinAlert emails. Students who have entered their cell phone information in MyUCLA also receive BruinAlert text messages. Family and friends of UCLA students may sign up for BruinAlert text messages by texting UCLAPARENT to 888777. More information is available at the BruinAlert website.