The roof, the roof, the roof is (not) on fire in the Quad
Fire alarms at different hours of the day have been plaguing Southwest Quad residents for over two weeks, from September 25 to October 11. The accidental fire alarms have blared so many times that the Southwest Quad has been under a fire-watch system since October 11. The fire-watch system has supplanted the automatic system until maintenance discovers the mysterious source of the alarms’ being triggered.
“The main fire alarm panel is receiving spurious/inadvertent signals causing a ‘general alarm’ to sound and the corresponding building evacuation,” said Vice President for Planning and Facilities Management Robin Morey. The main panel is located on the P1 level of the quad.
As provided by Morey to Vox, the alarms occurred on September 25 at 4:22 pm, September 30 at 4:49 pm, October 2 at 6:12 am, October 3 at 11:41 am, October 5 at 9:19 am, October 8 at 6:04 pm, October 9 at 6:01 am, October 10 at 2:23 pm, and at October 11 at 5:43 am. By the ninth occurrence, and fourth incident in the morning, facilities finally decided to implement a fire-watch at 6 pm on October 11, under which one alarm at October 15 at 12:32 pm has been detected thus far.
Under fire-watch, the fire alarm control panel will be continuously monitored and officers will be dispatched to confirm emergencies and sound the alarm if a fire emergency occurs. Facilities asks students to continue to take all alarms seriously and evacuate the building immediately. After the first few alarms, many students chose to stay in bed, posing a serious safety hazard.
Both Alexis Hendrix, community director of Kennedy and Reynolds Halls, and Shereen Hassanein, community director of McCarthy Hall, took to email multiple times to assure students that these were not incredibly badly planned fire drills and that the Office of Residential Living, in conjunction with the Department of Emergency Management and Operational Continuity, would investigate the cause of the alarms. Hendrix also encouraged students to voice concerns to the Office of Facilities Management, which Vox did and found largely unhelpful.
Three weeks later, however, the cause of the alarms is somehow still a mystery. “Presently we don’t know the exact reason why the alarm keeps activating,” Richard Payant, Director of Facilities Management, told Vox on Friday. “We are working to find the cause.”
On Wednesday, Morey sent the following email to Vox:
We have not determined the exact cause of the spurious/inadvertent signals. Our trouble shooting team
consisting of in house technicians, Siemens, the fire alarm system manufacturer and the Protection Engineering
Group, a professional engineering consulting firm continue to perform diagnostic testing to determine the cause of this complex problem so we can make the necessary repairs.
Still? Vox is not reassured.