False fire alarms prevalent in residence halls

Students pile out of Rice and Rivers Hall this past summer after evacuating the building due to a false fire alarm.

In the past two years, 17 fire alarms have gone off on campus. Since 2010, the UNA Police Fire Safety Log shows 12 false alarms, and only two actual fire alarms caused by fire.

“(The false alarms are usually from) smoke and weather,” said UNA police Chief Bob Pastula.

Everytime the fire alarms go off on campus, Florence Fire Department responds to the scene, along with UNA and Florence police officers.

“It doesn’t cost the university anything (for us to respond),” said Chief Charlie Cochran of the Florence Fire Department. “It does increase risk for firemen who race through traffic lights just to get to a false alarm, but they are aware of that risk.”

The Florence FD records show there have been 416 false alarms citywide since January of this year. UNA was only responsible for about 2.4 percent of the false alarms in Florence.

Dillon Green, a Res Life staff member who lives in Rivers Hall, only recalls one false alarm due to a power outage. The false alarm was not a big deal, Green said.

“There hasn’t been enough in Covington to make it an inconvenience or annoyance,” said Covington Community Advisor Chelsea Calhoun. “Cluster residence halls seem to have more because of closed doors in the kitchens. With trapped heat, the alarms go off easier.”

The University of Alabama fire safety logs show 22 actual fires on campus in the past two years, while UNA has had only two fires since October of 2009.