Bowen Hall on Wayne State Campus experienced a fire alarm issue early morning Thursday, March 14 when the fire alarms went off, but no sound was alarming students to evacuate. Many did not know whether to leave or stay in the building because of the malfunction.
“I was really confused as to what was going on,” freshman Kaitlynne Ellis said. “The lights were going off, but no sound was there. I just laid in bed until my roommate got up and asked if we were supposed to evacuate.”
There were many students who didn’t evacuate the building right away due to the sound not going off. Campus Security stated it was a malfunction with the programming. With lights flashing, but no sound, many knew there was a problem with the alarms.
“[The malfunction was] an audible malfunction,” Jason Mrsny, Campus Security Manager said. “The fire alarm system functioned. It was a portion of the fire alarm system that did not function. It did what it was supposed to do, but didn’t announce and we have that corrected.”
The alarm that night was not planned, with many not knowing to evacuate.
“That was an actual fire alarm,” Mrsny said. “Whether we have smoke or a possible cause of vaping, there is a number of different things that could cause it.”
Due to many students not evacuating the building, students were wondering why the RA’s did not go around to check their floor and alert students to get out, but that is not their responsibility. However, normally the voice alerts students to vacate the building.
“When the fire alarm goes off, it asks for everyone to evacuate the building, so then my officers will come and read the panel, wait for the fire department to come, and then we investigate,” Mrsny said. “After the investigation is completed, the RA’s will come back in, and we check the building and make sure everybody is vacated.”
Campus Security contacted the programming system and had them fix the issue.
“Now in the event, if there is a fire, obviously we would hope that people are going to use common sense and vacate the building,” Mrsny said. “It is clearly stated over the audible that you must vacate the building, don’t use the elevators, and so, this is why we always do fire drills every semester. That is an opportunity for students to know the surroundings, where the exits are, how to vacate the building and where you’re going and that is why we do the fire drills.”
When dealing with a possible fire, Campus Security responds and waits for the fire department to arrive. Then they show the department where the fire is coming from and then the fire department goes to the area and investigates the issue where the alarm is coming from and deals with it from that point on.
There was a follow-up check on Friday, March 15 to check the malfunction and the audible worked properly after the programming company was contacted and the issue was fixed.