Constant fire alarms plague dorms

By on September 25, 2003

Relentlessly trying the patience of students and the administration alike, false fire alarms are sounding piercingly in the ears of residents from Quinnipiac’s commons and Mountainview dorms.

It is speculated that the fire alarms have now been disarmed in Commons against the jurisdiction of federal law.

While the cause of many of Mountainview’s false alarms remain unknown, Hamden Fire Department’s Donald Labanca of Station 3 attributed an alarm that sounded at the very beginning of the school year to steam or cleaning products from a Mountainview cleaning closet. Two weeks later, a false alarm in Commons was said t have shared a similar cause.

Residential Life Director, Brad Zukowski, explained that on Sunday, Sept. 14, there were three sounding alarms at the Commons dorms. The alarms, all resulting from the same smoke alarm head, occurred between the hours of 6 and 11pm.

After the faulty alarm head was said to have been fixed, another alarm went off at around 1:30 p.m. Monday afternoon. This alarm, not an alarm head but a pull box alarm located outside the building, was claimed to have been set off by the cleaning chemicals that were used to wipe graffiti from above the alarm.

“There was graffiti above the pull box and when it was cleaned off, the cleaner must have seeped inside the machine causing the whole system to get messed up. When any liquid gets inside the box, the alarm automatically goes off, thinking it’s an emergency,” said Zukowski.

A fifth alarm mysteriously went off at 9:15 p.m. on Sept. 17, and is said to be the last one commons should have to hear.

Students, cautious to believe any word that alarms may subside, are outraged about all the dangers and inconveniences that these false alarms have brought about.

Michelle Kraemer, a resident of Mountainview, claims she and others have been affected by the excessive false alarms.

“There have been at least ten to 15 [false alarms] all together and at least three of them have been at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. and they are affecting everyone’s sleep, study time, and health. These fire alarms are becoming like ‘the boy who cried wolf,” everyone is thinking it’s bogus, and if there’s a real fire they will think it’s bogus too,” said Kraemer.

Eric Pearlman, a resident of Larson, though unaffected by the excessive fire alarms, comments on the situation.

“I do think they are getting pretty bad and should be taken care of because it’s interrupting people’s sleep. It’s just a nuisance to everyone involved; plain and simple,” said Pearlman.

“I just don’t like the fact that we aren’t given any information about why we are having the fire drills,” said commons resident Beth Semeraro.

Students, uninformed and desperately seeking answers as to why they have been sent out into the elements countless times, have decided to finally take matters into their own hands.

Mountainview resident, Mitchell Raymond, with the aid of fellow residents Ken Kosier, Allison Pearce, Justin Maloney, Dan Grossman, and many others have put together a petition to be submitted to authorities.

Raymond fears that the Quinnipiac administration isn’t being completely honest with its students.

“We [the residents of Mountainview] want the University to be open and truthful with us about what’s going on,” said Raymond.

The document will be presented to Carl T. Boucher, Associative Dean and Director of Residential Life, and Derek Zuckerman, Assistant Director of Residential Life and Head of Fire Safety, in hopes of finally getting information and aid out to the students.

The petition states that the false alarms are of prime danger to the students, and that there should be no more than that 2 required fire drills per semester. It states the level of response is lessoning and knowledge of the situation is near impossible to obtain.

Raymond hopes to gain information on the circumstances and would like to know what steps are being taken to fix this problem.

“We want an explanation since we [the Mountainview residents] are the ones paying extra to live in this brand-new dorm.” Said Raymond.

Mountainview, approximately an extra $1000 a year, is the newest of the dorms but is also currently the most problematic.

“The dorm was put up in less than two years and we can hear the residents above us when they close doors or walk around their suites. We have had our toilet leak, and there are times at night when we can’t sleep because we fear it may go off,” said Rosa Nieves, a Mountainview resident.

With the colder months approaching, petitioners stress the importance of fixing the alarm systems.

“We want the problem fixed as soon as possible before the snow falls. We don’t want four o’clock fire alarms going off in December depriving us of sleep and making us sick for exams,” said Raymond.

The petition, to be presented Thursday, September 18, will follow the final petition signing in room 550 of Mountainview.


About Mindy Matteis