False fire alarms go off at Chico State’s Whitney Hall – Chico Enterprise-Record


CHICO — Since school began at Chico State on Aug. 22, the Chico Fire Department has responded to Whitney Hall on campus 10 times due to false fire alarms.

“We respond to every fire alarm incident,” Chico Fire Battalion Chief Wes Metroka said. “We respond with the nearest unit.”

Metroka said fire alarms could go off due to students engaging in prohibited activities.

“Fire alarms can be triggered by careless things, like vaping or smoking indoors, which sets off the alarm,” Metroka said. “Some incidents are accidental. We need to find the root cause and find out what is setting off the alarm.

Because Chico State is state-owned and occupied, the university is not charged for false alarms, no matter how many times they are triggered and firefighters respond.

According to Adam Young, a fire prevention officer, any private company can be fined for multiple false alarms. If a fire alarm is triggered a second time, there is a charge of $100 and for the third, $200. The fire department uses a system called CryWolf that tracks the date and time of each triggered alarm.

“If there is a problem with the smoke detectors, it should be corrected by facility management,” Young said. “Sometimes there are design flaws and alarms can go off accidentally. In addition, they are sometimes installed in the wrong place, for example. Also, steam escaping from a bathroom after a shower can trigger them.

Young says that with false alarms, you have to access the situation and see what mistakes are being made to prevent it from happening again.

“When new students come in, they need to be trained on smoke detectors. Resident advisors must train them. Students need to learn what they can and cannot do,” Young said.

Young said the pandemic reduced false alarms since students weren’t living on campus.

“With Chico State, we are aware of the issue and the Chancellor’s office can help prevent false alarms,” ​​Young said. “During the pandemic, there was no residential life, so alarms weren’t going off in the dorms. Now it’s started again.”

According to the CryWolf website, law enforcement responds to thousands of false alarms every year. These unnecessary responses result in a huge burden on resources and expense; which in turn reduces the availability of emergency units to respond to real emergencies.


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