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Content Any Way U Want It!

BG Falcon Media

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September 21, 2023

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The dorms are on fire, or not

If you’ve ever lived in one of the University’s residence halls, chances are you’ve ended up outside your building at 3 a.m. watching the fire engines pull up and then learning there wasn’t a fire.

Most calls to the Bowling Green Fire Department come from the dorms, said Fire Chief Stephen Meredith.

Alarms go off when someone pulls an alarm at a pull station or by a smoke detector.

Burnt popcorn and hairspray cause a lot of the alarms in the residence halls.

Dust can also be a another trigger for smoke detectors. A dirty detector can set off a false alarm, said John Curlis, University fire safety officer.

‘Smoke detectors are very sensitive, that’s their purpose,’ Curlis said. ‘They are supposed to detect smoke early in the game.’

Very few fire alarms are a result of malicious intent, but it does happen sometimes, he said.

And pulling a fire alarm when there isn’t a fire doesn’t just inconvenience students. Each false report costs the fire department money because of the wear and tear of bringing the equipment and trucks out when they aren’t needed and it makes it harder for people who really need help to get it, Curlis said.

‘It costs taxpayers and takes firefighters away when they may be needed elsewhere for a bonafide fire emergency,’ Curlis said.

He could not say how much each call costs.

When a smoke detector triggers the alarm, University dispatchers learn where the detector went off. But firefighters have to find which alarm in that building was pulled.

The firefighters go from room to room in the hall until they find the problem, which can be time consuming and takes away a lot of time from people who really need it.

The Bowling Green Fire Department usually sends two trucks and seven firefighters to each alarm. Those who pull fire alarms could be cited for inducing panic or creating a false alarm.

Curlis said he worries that students will stop taking fire alarms seriously if people pull the alarms all the time.

‘It creates the ‘boy who cried wolf syndrome,” Curlis said. ‘So people will start to ignore them when there are actually serious fires. All fire alarms need to be taken seriously.’

Junior Kelly Nicholas, who lived in Founders last year, said she dealt with fire alarms about once every couple weeks.

‘I did take them seriously, but I think it is hard to take them seriously after awhile,’ Nicholas said.

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