Sound the alarms: students frustrated by frequent evacuations

September 27th, 2012

Many John Carroll dorm-dwellers are now asking themselves if they can recall the days when they would awake from a night’s sleep well-rested. Since the beginning of the year, students have been losing sleep due to the fire alarms spontaneously going off throughout the night and into the early morning. Students living in residence halls are becoming frustrated with this occurrence and are looking for answers.

Millor Hall residents, such as sophomore Freddy Keppler, are getting irritated with the situation. Millor’s fire alarms have gone off twice this semester, often waking students in the middle of the night.

“I have gotten up and exited the building every time the fire alarm has gone off. Sometimes they go off in the middle of the night, and other times they’ll get set off early in the morning,” said Keppler. “I think the main reason these fire alarms keep going off is for practice, to make sure people know how to evacuate properly.”

However, Millor residents are not the only ones experiencing this problem. Fire alarms have also been going off in many freshman dorms, including Murphy Hall. Freshman Murphy resident Alex Ehrett has had to exit the building numerous times this year because of this recurring problem. Ehrett said the fire alarms have recently gone off around 11 p.m. and 3 a.m., affecting her sleep schedule.

“So far this year, I’ve woken up to the fire alarms going off in the middle of the night as well as right before I’ve gone to bed. The fire alarms have definitely started to affect my sleep schedule, waking me up in the middle of the night as well as preventing me from going to sleep at the time I want,” Ehrett said. “One time, the fire alarm in my room went off for no reason. Most fire alarms get triggered by burning popcorn or other foods in the microwave, but I didn’t do anything to set mine off.”

Contrary to popular belief, these are not drills conducted by the school. Ehrett stated she has seen smoke in the building during a previous evacuation, causing her to take the sound of every fire alarm seriously.

When asked what she thought was setting off the smoke detectors in the dorms, Director of Residence Life Lisa Brown said the alarms could be activated for various reasons.

“This occurrence can be attributed to dust, heat generated by contractors, system issues and things like burnt food,” Brown stated. She does not believe that students are setting off the fire alarms on purpose. Brown stressed that along with Residence Life, the facilities department is committed to student safety.

“The fire alarms are inspected consistently by the facilities staff and the University Heights fire marshal,” said Brown.

Residence hall smoke detectors are constantly being checked in order to assure their functionality.

“Dormitories such as Hamlin and Campion halls have undergone fire alarm system upgrades within the last two years,” said Brown. “Although this problem may be causing stress to the students, the main focus of the school is the students’ safety,” she said.

“Upcoming floor meetings will focus on educating residents on fire safety,” said Brown. “It is important that students take every fire alarm seriously and evacuate the building each and every time.”