New in-room detectors cause more triggers

Reporter and Reporter

Every time a fire alarms goes off in Falcon Heights, sophomore and resident Taylor Hites gets frustrated.

“One time it was at like 7 a.m. and I was in the shower when it happened half way through,” Hites said.

Fire alarms in residence halls are triggered by hair products, burnt food, personal products such as body spray and smoke.

Senior associate director at the Office of Residence Life Timothy Shaal said Falcon Heights is different from other residence halls because there is a smoke sensor in every single room except for the bathroom and this gives the sensors a higher chance at going off.

“It’s a newer fire alarm system and basically the smoke detectors in the room are tied to the system and so each room has a smoke detector and if something sets that detector off, it can dump the system,” Shaal said.

There have been a total of 10 fire alarms so far this semester for Falcon Heights and eight of them have been because of burnt food and hair products and two have been drills, he said.

“I haven’t received any complaints from the residents,” Shaal said. “I think we had more complaints last year and I think the number of fire alarms were higher last year as people were adjusting to the new system in Centennial and Falcon Heights.”

Residence hall director at Falcon Heights Jennifer Poggiali-Buening said hair products are the most common reason why the alarms get triggered because of the steam or smoke from residents straightening their hair.

“It would be really awesome if residents did their hair in the bathroom with the door closed instead of their room because of a less chance of the sensor detecting smoke,” Poggiali-Buening said.

Hites said she doesn’t think the fire alarms have been excessive so far this school year and people just need some time in order to get used to not setting off the alarm.

“When I lived in Centennial last year, they went off like once a week and I feel like once you’re a sophomore you have figured out usually how to not make the alarms go off so often,” Hites said. “I would rather have the detectors be oversensitive than not so sensitive because I don’t want to burn in a fire.”