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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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Fire alarm response costs division upwards of $1,000

To students, fire drills and fire alarms may seem like a hassle, but the biggest cost of a fire drill is one some students probably do not think about.

Vince Davis, the fire and emergency response coordinator at the University, said in order for the fire division to come to a residence hall during a drill or alarm, it costs an estimated $1,400.

The University is not charged by the Bowling Green Fire Divison when they have to come out to the different alarms and drills.

“We’ve been blessed with the local fire department realizing that they are the caretakers for the residents in their municipality,” he said.

Stephen Meredith, the fire chief for the City of Bowling Green said the only time the fire division charges for a call is when the alarm was intentionally set off with the plan to evacuate a building.

“We charge $400 per vehicle, per hour if we send a bill for restitution,” he said.

If the University sends a bill for restitution they send it to the University Police Department.

If a fire alarm is caused by hairspray use or burnt popcorn, that is not considered intentionally setting off an alarm, Meredith said.

The fire division responds to all alarm. It doesn’t matter whether it turns out to be a real fire or not.

“We would much rather respond to 100 false alarms then to not respond to a real fire,” he said.

The number of fire alarms changes each year, but the state requires a minimum of four planned drills in the residence halls per year, Davis said.

Residence Life is supposed to contact Davis so they can make the fire division aware when they are planning fire drills.

“They have a requirement under the Ohio fire code as what is called the authority having jurisdiction which is the fire chief of the municipality being proactive in all fire prevention activities so those count as credit for them to attend these exercises and evaluate them and gives them great insight as to what to expect during a true emergency,” Davis said.

Tim Shaal, the senior associate director in the Office of Residence Life said there are several common reasons for fire alarms in the residence halls.

“One is burnt food, but the other would be personal hygiene products— aerosol sprays, hair sprays, Axe body spray— things like that, that people use under the fire detector,” he said. “People will put popcorn in the microwave and walk away with it set for 10 minutes and then the popcorn starts to burn.”

Shaal said students need to remember to treat each alarm like a real fire. There is an increase of alarms in the buildings because of the amount of people living there.

“If [students] get comfortable that is when something could actually happen,” he said.

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