University of Delaware
A discarded cigarette butt caused a small fire in the mulch outside the Harker Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory. The fire was extinguished thanks to quick response from postdocs Autumn Starcher and Josh Lemonte.

Keep UD safe

Tobacco-free campus policy protects health, safety

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10:49 a.m., May 20, 2015--Members of the University of Delaware community are reminded that the use of all tobacco products and tobacco-related products, including E-cigarettes, is prohibited on all property that is owned, operated, leased, occupied or controlled by the University.

This University policy, adopted in August 2014, is important not only for the health of everyone on campus, but also for fire safety, as was illustrated by an incident on campus last week. 

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The current lack of rainfall has elevated the possibility that a single discarded cigarette butt could spark a large fire with the potential to cause severe building damage, said Kevin T. McSweeney, fire marshal in Environmental Health and Safety.

On May 14, a discarded cigarette butt started a small fire in the mulch outside the Harker Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory. Thanks to the quick thinking of postdocs Autumn Starcher and Josh Lemonte, the fire was extinguished.

"The lack of rain fall, application of mulch in campus garden beds and cigarette smoking on campus are a bad combination in fire prevention," he said. "Thankfully, the fast reaction of Autmn Starcher and Josh Lemonte prevented the fire from causing more damage."

In Delaware alone, mulch fires, unsupervised barbecues and discarded fireplace embers have resulted in fires that have consumed buildings, McSweeney said, including a fire that destroyed the Middletown Friendly’s Restaurant in October 2012. 

"Everybody is expected to abide by the tobacco-free campus policy, for the health and safety for themselves and those who live and work at UD," McSweeney said. 

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