Southwest Quad Fire Alarm Malfunction Resolved
Published: Friday, November 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, November 1, 2013 01:11
The fire watch in Southwest Quad was lifted Monday at 6 p.m., and fire alarms were restored to full working order after weeks of troubleshooting and repairs.
Prior to the fire watch, the Southwest Quad experienced an epidemic of false alarms, often at early hours of the morning.
“We feel confident that we’ve fixed the problem,” Vice President for Facilities and Planning Robin Morey said.
To minimize the negative impact on the students residing in the three SWQ residence halls, the university took the automatic fire alarm activation system offline Oct. 11 and replaced it with a fire-watch system conducted by Department of Public Safety officers.
During the fire watch, smoke alarms and fire alarms did not automatically activate an audible alarm, as usually occurs. Rather, in the event of detected trouble, a signal would be displayed on a control panel continuously monitored by a technician. The technician would then alert the officers to investigate the situation.
Gregory Simmons, associate vice president of facilities operations, design and construction, said that this fire watch was not necessary, but was instituted for the convenience of students.
“Typically when you do a fire watch, it is because part of the system is out of service and you want eyes and ears in the building. In this case we did it as an extra mile, all the systems were operational except for the actual trigger to ring the bells in the building.” Simmons said.
The fire watch did prevent one alarm and evacuation, and DPS officers confirmed that the situation was safe, according to Morey.
University Facilities determined that the problem was with Loop 1, which includes a small area of the parking garage and a number of service and maintenance rooms.
Through extensive troubleshooting, the problem was determined to be with the wiring and hardware on Loop 1.
Simmons explained that, in order to solve the problem, new wiring and devices were installed in the trouble area.
“Effectively, we replaced most of the devices, about 30 pieces of hardware and all of the wiring on that loop of the system.” Morey said.
The team monitored the system for other problems over four days, and none were detected.
“When we see the panel, we’re seeing completely normal conditions, while prior to this we were seeing notifications of trouble. We feel like we’ve solved the underlying condition.” Simmons said.