False alarms, fire department still dispatched

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Crete Fire and Rescue was dispatched to Gaylord on Sept. 30. Faulty sensors led to the alarm. Other campus alarms have been set off by weather changes, cooking instances and power outages.

The most reported crime from the Doane Safety public crime report from the beginning of the school year to Oct. 27, are false fire alarms. There have been five in total.

False fire alarms are labeled as crimes because when an alarm goes off the fire department has to respond, this can distract them from other emergencies.

The Assistant Chief of the Crete Fire Department, James Yost said he feels that false alarms happening on campus are helpful.

“(False fire alarms) develop good experience in our volunteer crews,” Yost said.

Every time an alarm goes off, the department treats every alarm like a real fire. They put on air packs, get in full gear, bring tools, go where the alarm went off and make sure everyone evacuates.

Even though the last major fire to happen in Doane was back in the mid-1990s due to a couch fire in Burrage Hall, Yost still pleads that students treat each alarm as a serious matter.

The repetition of false alarms can cause people to become complacent, to not treat alarms as serious threats.

“Never take them lightly,” Yost said. 

Students need to fight complacency and practice as the department does in treating each alarm as the real thing.

The Public Safety Director at Doane, Russ Hewitt said false alarms are common on campus. Hewitt said the largest percentage of alarm triggers are due to overcooked food in microwaves.

The alarm that went off in Smith on Oct. 3, was due to this, as someone overcooked pizza rolls on the third floor.

For the other four instances, these were caused by sensors acting up, losses of power or weather.

“Weather has a huge impact,” Hewitt said.

A drastic change in the weather is what set the alarm on the Doane Lincoln campus on Oct. 15.

According to the Director of Facilities in Doane, Brian Flesner, the alarm that went off in Gaylord on Sept. 30, was due to a sensor acting up that needed to be replaced.

While these are all cases that didn’t involve real fires, Hewitt said he feels that these alarms are valid since they show that the systems in place are working and doing their job.

None of these alarms were sent by people, but each case gets put on the crime report as a way to log the instances and show that a false alarm did happen.

False alarms caused by people can be a misdemeanor and be given jail time.