False fire alarms occurred at least six times in October in SAIT’s East hall residence, forcing students to evacuate the entire building.
The fire alarms occurred so frequently that some residents started getting angry.
“It is very unpleasant,” said East Hall resident Shaun Fisk, a Journalism student.
Fisk said he was doing assignments when the alarms went off, and he had to drop everything and clear out.
“Not to mention when it happens, there is a significant charge for it.” Fisk said, referring to the bill for emergency service that the person who caused the alarm can receive.
“It takes time and money,” he said.
“Last time, the fire alarm went off at midnight because some guys baked cookies and they opened their front door,” said Esther Malo, a community assistant on the third floor of SAIT Residence.
“We evacuated from the residence at 12 midnight, when the outside temperature was -5 C,” said Malo.
The false fire alarms appeared to be deterring students from taking them seriously.
SAIT resident Susanne Chambers said the alarm went off three times in one day.
“I’m tired of it already, said Chambers. “I didn’t even leave my room when the fire alarm went off.”
Patrick Davies, a community assistant on the first floor, said the most recent situations were set off by steam from showers in students’ rooms.
“The system in East Hall is old and glitchy,” Davies said.
Glenice Grover, the general manager of SAIT residence, said the SAIT team was aware of what was happening, and has since moved to correct things.
Grover said that it was because students were either burning food or running a steamy shower.
“If the steam is kept in the unit itself, it won’t set off the alarm,” said Grover.
“But when people open their front door from the unit to the hallway, it will trigger the smoke detector for the building and the alarm goes off.”
Grover said that one solution has been to put some signs on every door to remind students that if their smoke detector goes off not to open the front door, but instead open the window, or put a towel around the smoke detector.
Warning signs went up in late November, on the inside of each residence unit door. The signs misspelled the word immediately.
“We are also in contact with our electrical contractor to find out if there is something that we can do so it isn’t happening so frequently,” she said.
According to Grover, SAIT Residence wants students to take it seriously when the fire alarm goes off.
“I know it happens frequently so people are less likely to leave,” said Grover.
“That is a concern from our perspective for when there actually would be a fire.”
SAIT Residence has planned a meeting with community assistants in East Hall to explain to residents what the problem is.