Problems cause Georgetown University to shut down fire system

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Friday, October 18, 2013

WASHINGTON—Georgetown University was forced to take one of its automatic fire alarm systems offline Oct. 11 after a series of false alarms. Until the problems are resolved, Southwest Quad is protected by a watch system that has patrol officers monitoring smoke and fire alarms, manually activating audible alarms in an emergency.

University technicians, the system manufacturer and maintenance provider and a fire safety specialist firm are working to fix the system, the school newspaper, The Hoya, reported.

Nine alarms went off in the building between Sept. 25 and Oct. 11, according to the paper. School officials found low water pressure in the sprinkler system of one part of the alarm configuration.

“Within the building, there are over 900 devices, so we’re trying to track down the devices that we think are defective and replace them,” Robin Morey, vice president for facilities and planning, told The Hoya.

Students told The Hoya the frequent alarms were irritating, but that many began to assume the alarms were fake, despite emails from school officials saying students should evacuate immediately whenever an alarm is sounded.