Are you alarmed?

Often while living on Campus, a student can be sitting in her room and suddenly hear the loud drone of sirens in the distance. The first thought that jumps into my head when I hear this familiar sound is where are the sirens headed? On a daily basis I usually hear sirens on campus, and now it just seems commonplace.

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In the above picture a fire truck outside of Oakland Hall on Saturday October 10th. The real question that should be raised is, “Why was it necessary for this truck to come?” From first hand experience, I can state that the sleepy residents of the hall were alerted to leave by the flashing light and white noise created by the fire alarm. Sitting in a friend’s room in Easton Hall, I could hear the sirens approaching and made my way to a window to see what was occurring. From the window, I saw the stairwells of the adjacent building illuminated by bright, white, flashing lights. The next thing I saw was the fire truck and all the agitated residents standing angrily on the opposite curb. After I saw the building was not ablaze, I immediately logged onto Yik Yak to see the prevailing theories as to why the fire alarm had sounded. The most common answer was that someone had been making food and had burned it. The fact that I constantly hear sirens made me wonder how often fire incidents like this occurs.

The constant sound of sirens on campus is not a new phenomenon, but I am curious how often serious fires have occurred on college campuses across the country.  Just how often are these fires started when someone is cooking? According to Fire Science Online, “Of the approximately 3,800 campus housing fires that occur in the US each year, the majority (88 percent) are cooking fires.” So, if the constant sound of sirens is not a reminder to treat fire safety seriously, then I do not know what is going to make this important point.

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