New UCSF Fire Prevention Unit

Fire Marshal Rocque Yballa (pronounced “Rocky ee-BALL-ya”) – hired by UCSF this past September – has received formal, written authorization from the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) to serve as UCSF's Lead Designated Campus Fire Marshal ('Lead DCFM').  As Lead DCFM, Rocque officially represents OSFM in providing support to both construction/renovation projects and ongoing research operations.

Because of a reorganization of Fire Marshal positions approved by the Chancellor's Executive Team (CET) one year ago, Rocque leads a newly-consolidated 'UCSF Fire Prevention' unit, reporting within the UCSF Office of Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S). Rocque's unit is now responsible for providing fire safety services previously dispersed among three different UCSF departments. The newly-consolidated Fire Prevention unit now provides support that is better coordinated between construction and research groups, and should result in significantly shortened times to approve and perform laboratory renovations and remodels.

Rocque brings decades of experience as a Fire Marshal, having previously worked in OSFM as well as in several California jurisdictions. In his past work, Rocque provided code consultation and enforcement in a wide range of environments, including biomedical research facilities and other chemical-intensive industries. He brings a strong customer-service approach to his work and to his leadership of other campus fire safety professionals who now report to him.

Rocque and the other professionals in UCSF Fire Prevention are already hard at work supporting construction and renovation projects to ensure that fire hazards are properly addressed. This includes working with EH&S’s Chemical Inventory Team to help campus labs provide safe workspaces and comply with code requirements such as the “Maximum Allowable Quantities" (MAQs) of hazardous materials allowed within the research physical environment. Particularly in older lab facilities some of which still lack automatic fire sprinklers these MAQ values can represent challenging constraints.

Rocque is already helping shorten the time required to plan and perform lab renovations, by adding another set of qualified eyes to the plan-review resources available to UCSF project managers, as well as by eliminating some past standard procedural steps when current code doesn’t require these steps.

UCSF Fire Prevention staff in EH&S are well-versed in biomedical lab fire safety issues, as they have spent many person-years dealing with issues in such environments. If you have a fire safety concern, or perhaps a question about code compliance, please don’t hesitate to contact Rocque at [email protected]