The first few weeks of being back at school everyone is still trying to work out the kinks of being back in the swing of things. While this state of mind may work well for students trying to get used to their classes, it is not an excuse when dealing with the fire alarms on campus.
“The day I came back to school the fire alarm in my room was off the wall and sitting on top of the closet,” junior Kelly Cucciniello said. “Not only was it off the wall but the battery was dead. It was as if no one checked them at all.”
Situations like these can rub students the wrong way and it can raise questions about how safe their living environment is. If there was something to happen in a dorm room that did not have the proper fire alarm there would have been serious consequences. Coming back to school to see a fire alarm not only off the wall but also not working can raise the question of just how often are fire alarms checked.
“The alarms are tested twice annually and we bring in a company to test them,” Robert DeRosa, Associate Director of Public Safety said. “We check the alarm panels three times a day to make sure there is not an alarm status. That means everything is working.”
The tours that are made three times a day by Public Safety start at midnight, seven in the morning and then again at three in the afternoon. Within their shift they check to make sure that the panel at their designated station is not showing an alarm mode. An alarm mode would mean that there is an issue with one of the alarms and after finding that they would fix it as quickly as possible.
One problem that seems to be recurring on campus is the fire system located in Overlook Manor.
“It’s an old system that is going to be replaced,” DeRosa said. “Because it is going to be replaced there are some problems with it, but it’s safe.”
Just because the system may be old it that doesn’t mean that it is broken. As of now, the sprinklers, the standpipe and the water flow all work in the building. If there were to be an emergency there would not be any problems. Public Safety staff has been instructed to go floor to floor to evacuate students if there were to be an emergency. However, students living in OV may notice that when the bells do ring the sound of the bells is very low. That is one of the reasons why the entire system is going to be replaced and that will be happening sometime at the end of this year.
“There have been some issues in OV,” senior Nereida Millan said. “The other night we had an alarm go off at 4 a.m. and no one knows why and it’s very annoying.”
During this 4 a.m. drill Public Safety was banging on doors and trying to evacuate people as quickly as possible. Students living in OV never got an explanation as to why the alarms were going off at that time.
“There were some saying that it was a drill which is even more annoying,” Millan said. “Its also ridiculous because people have class in the morning.”
As for the rest of campus, students living in the residence halls may have heard some fire alarms go off in the past week. Public Safety is required, by law, to do three drills a year.
“We run a drill very early on because some students are new to the building and need to know where to go. We run another one around November and then when students come back after winter break we have another drill,” DeRosa said.
Starting this week Public Safety will be running fire drills in all academic buildings. They are doing this so students know what doors to use and what staircases to use if there were ever an emergency during their classes.
For more information regarding fire safety, log onto Manhattan.edu and click on Public Safety to read their annual report.