UConn Fire Department sees call increase on Halloween weekend

Deputy chief Gregory Priest said the fire department had a significantly increased call volume on Friday night with 20 calls between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. He said the majority of those calls were emergency medical services calls. (Jackson Haigis/The Daily Campus)

The UConn Fire Department responded to an above average amount of emergency calls this Halloween weekend, chief said.

According to deputy chief Gregory Priest, Thursday night had an unusually low call volume with only three calls for service.  

However, as the weekend progressed the department was flooded with calls.

Priest said the fire department had a significantly increased call volume on Friday night with 20 calls between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. He said the majority of those calls were emergency medical services calls.

On Saturday, Halloween night, Priest said the call volume was slightly increased with 10 calls, for both fire and emergency medical services.

According to Priest, the department expected an increased call volume and took steps to prevent potential fire issues before this weekend.

“Decorations have been the first thing to ignite in many fires and decorations can obstruct fire detection or suppression systems, so our biggest concern for the Halloween weekend was ensuring fire safety,” Priest said. “The preparation for this weekend consisted of pre-event messaging to remind students of Halloween Fire Safety Tips.”

The department said students should not black out exit signs with decorations, hang anything on sprinkler pipelines or use extension cords. Staff and students are prohibited from covering more than 25 percent of their walls or doors with decorations, according to the department.

The fire department also said residents should buy costumes and accessories that are flame resistant and use caution when using smoke machines near smoke detectors so as not to set off any fire alarms.

Priest said past experience with Halloween weekends at UConn have shown an increase in both fire and EMS calls.

“As such, we had increased staffing in place on both Friday and Saturday nights,” Priest said. “Our fire marshal’s office was on duty for the majority of both nights monitoring for compliance with fire safety codes.”


Katie Cavanaugh is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at katie.cavanaugh@uconn.edu.