Fire alarm mishaps

In a mere three weeks, the fire alarms have gone off 12 times on campus. Many students have raised frustrations about how sensitive the fire alarms seem to be and how easily they get set off.

Fourth-year student Jakob Herbert Upmeier zu Belzen recounted when he and his roommates accidentally set off the fire alarms in Strawberry. 

“It was pasta with the sauce, actually very basic stuff,” Upmeier zu Belzen said. “But we did it with onions and that was the reason why. Before we made the sauce, we put onions in.”

Despite having their stove’s overhead fan on and having their windows open, cooking the pasta still triggered the fire alarm to go off. 

Upmeier zu Belzen noted that having the window open while he was cooking prevented the kitchen from getting too smokey, which made Upmeier zu Belzen believe that everything would be fine.

While they were evacuating, Upmeier zu Belzen and his roommates were unsure if they had caused the alarm to go off or not. 

“We weren’t sure, but after we knew that this already happened, one of us was saying ‘yeah it was, it was us,’” Upmeier zu Belzen said. “The other one was like ‘no, it wasn’t. We would see,’ and at the end, it was us.”

Upmeier zu Belzen and his roommates didn’t get into trouble for setting the fire alarm off; however, the fire department advised them to be more careful while they are cooking in the future. 

Vineyard Suites fire alarm went off three times on Sept. 3. Many of the residents were frustrated with how many times the fire alarms went off, especially since two of the alarms were early in the morning. 

Third-year Haley Graham was more concerned that the kitchens and ventilation systems were not up to code, rather than being annoyed at the amount of times the alarms went off. 

“I heard that there was an issue with ventilation in the community kitchen from another girl in my dorm,” Graham said. “It seems as if this problem goes unfixed, people are going to end up staying in their rooms when alarms go off.” 

“How will we know when there is a real emergency?” Graham asked. “I know that it is annoying and an inconvenience to have to evacuate the building up to three times in one day, but shouldn’t there be a bigger concern for our safety?”

The majority of fire alarms that have gone off have been in North Quad; however, those in Main Campus and Promontory have also had their fire alarms triggered a few times.

Second-year Autumn Benton is currently living in Avocet Hall on Main Campus. 

“The alarms haven’t gone off in my building yet, but the building adjacent to mine went off and woke me up one night,” Benton said.

“The alarms were on for about 20 minutes, and I heard some yelling of resident advisors (RA) trying to herd students to the designated evacuation zone,” Benton said. “Due to all of the commotion, I did not sleep well that night.”  

Fourth-year Hannah Paige is currently a RA in Tortuga Hall. Tortuga’s fire alarm has gone off once so far.

“As an RA, it sucks when the fire alarm goes off because of the additional responsibilities we have,” Paige said. “It’s our job to knock on people’s doors, while the alarm is going off to tell people to evacuate.”

“Plus we have to gather everyone to a specific spot and take attendance,” Paige said. “When the fire alarm goes off all the time like it has been lately, not only does it mean extra work, but it also causes residents to not take the next ones as seriously.”

With the amount of times the fire alarms have gone off so far, this raises concerns about safety and if the alarms are working properly. The Lutrinae reached out to the CSUMB police department for comment, but did not receive a response prior to publication. 

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