Fire Alarms Desensitized, Students Relieved
By: VALERIE LAPOINTE
The number of days without fire alarms has reached double digits in Eagle Landing for the first time this semester, due to actions taken in decreasing the sensitivity of smoke detectors.
It has been over two weeks since their last fire alarm according to Cynthia Richards, the assistant director of Residence Life.
The Department of Environmental Health and Safety has taken decisive steps in lowering the number of fire alarms by decreasing the sensitivity on the smoke detector system in Eagle Village, according to Ruth Lovelace, the director of emergency management and safety.
While the alarms that have been going off have often been referred to as false alarms, Lovelace said that this term is not accurate.
“I want it to be clear that the system was never malfunctioning,” Lovelace said. “The alarms that were going off were not false alarms. The system has always been functioning properly. It was just overly sensitive.”
While decreasing the sensitivity of the system has been effective thus far, further steps are being taken.
“The UMW safety office will continue to work with the community to alleviate the nuisance alarms,” Lovelace said. “The developer as well as the design engineers are all working together as a team to solve this ongoing problem.”
While the sensitivity settings on the system have been decreased, Lovelace acknowledged that the overall number of interruptions for the semester is still not acceptable. She said meetings with the building engineers of Eagle Village are currently in the works.
The major concern now facing the Office of Residence Life is that students have stopped leaving their rooms when an alarm sounds.
However, now that the problem has been remedied, Richards said students need to evacuate the building whenever the fire alarm goes off.
“We assume that the problem has been fixed, and students need to take alarms seriously,” said Richards. “The residents of Eagle Landing will need to complete the three planned fire drills required by residence life before the semester is out, and RAs will be checking rooms to make sure everyone has evacuated.”
Photo: The Eagle Landing student apartment building has been the site of over 18 fire alarms since the beginning of the semester. Anne Elder/Bullet