False alarms in residential dorms

Photo by Sherman Geronimo-Tan, via flickr 

Shehryar Effendi/Staff Writer 

Waking up to the sound of a police siren outside Everglades Hall has now become a norm. It was around 9 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 19, when on the fourth floor someone’s smoke alarm went off — disrupting my work due in the next couple of hours. Instead of hearing the sound of the alarm and panicking, residents have now become so used to it that the sound of the alarm is just one of the other many sounds we hear during the day.

Cooking food is one of the most difficult tasks that can be done here at the Everglades Hall without a visit from the ever-so-eager Police Department. It seems like everyone wants a bite of what people are cooking. It’s not the annoying sound of the fire alarm or the police siren that bothers the residents, but the fact that everyone’s so accustomed to hearing these supposed panic alarms that they’re afraid that this will turn out to be the story about “the boy who cried wolf.”

Expressing concern over the issue, freshman hospitality major and resident of Everglades Hall Ian Mucenic also highlighted how ineffective the exhaust fans were. According to him, he is so used to these scares that now he doesn’t bother leaving his room. “It’s not that these alarms go off sometimes, but they are a weekly thing,” he said. People usually keep their doors open while cooking now in case they set off the alarm.

These alarms continue to beep till someone shuts them off, as we understand it. So the screeching sound of the alarm continues to echo through the hallway, disrupting activities and study sessions all over its respective floor. There is no doubt that, sometimes, these alarms have actually saved lives — like the incident that happened over a month ago when a student on the fifth floor unknowingly ate peanuts although she was allergic to them. However, the system should be monitored and perfected so that the valuable time of our police and of the students living in these dorms can be saved.

Similar incidents have been reported in the other residential dorms as well, where students abandoned everything and ran out, later realizing that it was another one of the cooking incidents. It is still unclear why the fire alarms go off while making food, but hopefully either the fire alarms or the exhaust fans will soon be fixed by the responsible departments. No one wants these episodes to occur regularly because they are frustrating for both the authorities as well as the students. This matter will hopefully be addressed soon so that the story about “the boy who cried wolf” does not actually become reality.


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