Students Heated over Frequent Fire Alarms

BY ZOE STAUDE // APRIL 1, 2015 //

Burnt popcorn, over-heated hair dryers, and electronic cigarettes are just some of the reasons students on campus have been forced out of their residence halls in the dead of night.

Late-night fire alarms are getting tiring, according to many students.

Approximately 20 fire alarms have gone off this year due to a mix of reasons, said Public Safety Chief Brian Greeley. Two were from malicious pulls, he said, while the rest were from student error or a system error.

“On our perimeter roads, if that road loses water pressure it affects the water pressure in the residence halls—and that automatically sets off an alarm,” said Greeley.

In other words, according to Greg Woodbury, fire prevention lieutenant with the Canton Fire Department, when the Milton water main used by Curry dramatically changes pressure—due to the use of a nearby hydrant, for example—it sets off an alarm because the system is tricked into believing that sprinklers are going off in the dorm buildings.

Fire drills are required for each residence hall at the beginning of the school year, as a safety precaution in the event of a real emergency. However, it’s the timing of the many other alarms that have students fired up.

PHOTO BY GAVIN ST. OURS, creative commons

PHOTO BY GAVIN ST. OURS, creative commons

“The fire alarms go off at really random times,” said Jamie Cole, a freshman biology major. “I live in Mayflower, and there were times where it would go off, like, every night around 2 to 4 a.m., and we would all have to wait outside for a half hour. It was usually on a school night, too, so we would all be exhausted for our morning classes.”

Sinead McGrath, a freshman community health and wellness major, said the problem hasn’t been so bad in her dorm, Lombard Hall.

“We don’t have many fire alarms, but when my friends from other buildings have them we always invite them to come to our rooms to stay warm,” she said. “It stinks having to wait outside in the cold until the fire department gives the OK to let them back into the building.”

The Milton Fire Department and Curry’s Public Safety office are notified as soon as an alarm starts buzzing. If for any reason the Fire Department arrives before a Public Safety officer can greet them, the Fire Department has access keys that allow them to unlock the gates on campus, Greeley said.

In addition, all fire alarm monitors and smoke detectors on campus are checked bi-weekly, on Tuesdays, as are fire extinguishers and emergency telephones, he said.

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