Monday, December 11, 2023

Fire alarms waste time, energy

By Bryn Fawn

After a long day of lectures and classes, a rest is needed. A plush pillow and lush blanket to tuck in a tired college student. Sugarplums dance in their head as they drift to sleep. That is, until they’re abruptly brought back to reality with a blaring alarm and flashing lights.

This experience is commonplace for many SUNY Plattsburgh students. Dorm buildings often have their fire alarms set off, especially at night, several times a week. Some dorms even have alarms go off multiple times a day.

Two of the most common reasons are burnt food or cannabis. Students often forget to put water in their microwave macaroni and cheese cup, which sets the macaroni on fire.

Students also attempt to smoke indoors and fail at “fooling” the alarm system, which then forces the entire building outside waiting. 

Often the reason can be smelt, and most students are annoyed when someone cannot cook a meal or must smoke indoors.

The frequency that these alarms go off at is alarming. It is now commonplace for multiple buildings to have an alarm blare at the same time, causing the fire department to be spread thin.

Students can often be left waiting outside for ten minutes or longer before firefighters have resolved the issue, and while spring has come the weather is still cold. Especially at night.

The alarms have become so common that students no longer see them as a possible threat to their safety, and more of a chore. Some students opt to remain indoors and wait for the alarm to pass, as there is no repercussions for those who remain inside. In a real fire, these students would be endangering their lives because they feel as if it isn’t “worth” exiting the building.

These alarms are not just annoying, they can be painful. Students with sensitivities to sounds and lights are thrown into an incredibly uncomfortable situation with these alarms. The loud sounds and flashing lights can cause meltdowns or panic attacks for some students, and so these alarms quickly become a fear rather than a nuisance.

The cold can be bitter and biting as well, which is common for Plattsburgh. Despite that, students should not have to stand around in pajamas while waiting for firefighters to arrive. Especially when students are taken by surprise and cannot better prepare themselves for the frigid night.

One of the glaring issues is the utter disrespect for other residents when students set off the alarms for actions they could have easily prevented. Especially students who choose to smoke inside, or use a flame, instead of stepping off campus. The residents of the building do not want to be standing around because a group of students wanted to take a hit off of a blunt.

The firefighters also do not deserve needing to constantly come to campus for these false alarms. They wear heavy gear, often carrying tools that only add to the weight, as they rush over to campus. Furthermore, it is time, money and resources wasted for each false alarm that could be put toward real dangers and fires.

Fellow students deserve the respect and decency to be able to live in their dorm without the constant worry of an alarm. Firefighters deserve the respect of their time and effort they put into the job.

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