Fire Alarm Systems Operational in Jasper and Overlook

Failed parts in the fire alarm systems of Jasper Hall and Overlook Manor have been replaced and the residence halls’ systems are now almost fully functional.

Above, students enter Jasper Hall, one of the two dorms without fully functioning fire alarm systems for over two weeks. Photo by Lindsey Burns.
Above, students enter Jasper Hall, one of the two dorms without fully functioning fire alarm systems for over two weeks. Photo by Lindsey Burns.

For about two weeks, fire alarm systems in the two Manhattan College residence halls were not fully operational due to separate failures in each building, according to Andrew Ryan, vice president of facilities.

“Jasper is fully operational. Overlook has a couple troubles, but they are localized troubles specific to a couple of rooms,” Ryan said.

Fire alarm systems in Jasper Hall returned to operation on Feb. 24. Throughout the two week period, the systems in the dorm were entirely offline.

“Jasper didn’t have the bells and alarms, and we handled that,” Ryan said.

During this time other parts of the fire safety systems were operational in Jasper, including the sprinkler system, which as Ryan said, would automatically react to a certain temperature indicative of a fire.

Precautions were taken in Jasper Hall in the absence of effective fire alarm systems.

“In Jasper, we ended up stationing a public safety officer in the building, and that person was pretty much in the building the whole time, 24/7,” Ryan said. “That person was from public safety, stationed in Jasper on overtime, because that’s not a normal post.”

In Overlook Manor, the fire systems were partially operational throughout the two week period.

“In Overlook we had pull stations and water flows,” Ryan said. He also said that in Overlook the necessary replacement was that of a fire alarm panel.

“After troubleshooting and replacing several components within the system, we ended up having to replace one of the panels.”

Overlook’s fire alarm panel was installed and the alarms were functional on Feb. 25.

Public safety officers were notified of the issues and special precautions were taken to ensure student safety.

“Basically, while the system was down…they tried to repair it, they weren’t able to and they had to order new merchandise,” Director of Public Safety Juan Cerezo said.
“And during the course of that new instillation, we had to provide security presence there. So we had patrols throughout the three shifts, for about a two week period.”

Public Safety officers make regular inspections of the residence halls.

“Every shift, we have two supervisors on each shift,” Cerezo said. “They check the fire alarm panel and make sure everything is operational.”

The fire safety system daily inspection log in Overlook showed a trouble eight. Robert De Rosa, associate director of public safety and risk management, said that if, “…there is a trouble 8, which means there is one part of the system, it might be a door, might be one particular detector that’s offline, but the system is active and its telling us the system is okay except for one area.”

Public safety supervisors complete their patrols three times a day, each time reporting the findings and afterwards any deficiencies are dealt with.

“Some problems need immediate repairs because it is a safety condition,” Cerezo said. “If you can’t pull a pull station that’s something that needs to be repaired right away. If it’s just simply a strobe light, that’s something that could wait maybe.”

Both Cerezo and Ryan said students were safe in the time that the systems were not fully operational.

“I believe they [students] were [safe], we put the appropriate staffing in place,” Ryan said.

“Assessment of the campus fire alarms is part of the overall assessments that are made of our infrastructure systems. As needs are identified, they will be addressed in our infrastructure renewal program,” according to the Manhattan College Security and Fire Safety Annual Report published last year.

“They don’t work forever, you do maintenance on them, you have contracts in place to handle calls on them, they are checked daily by public safety,” Ryan said, “We do what is code required in all of the buildings.”