‘We’re lucky it wasn’t serious’ — Students discover Lane fire alarms not connected to Public Safety


Photo by Josh Meredith

The Lane building in McDonald East. Students waited outside for over twenty minutes on Sept. 29 for Public Safety after a fire alarm went off.

Ian Young, Staff Writer

A fire alarm was triggered at the Lane apartment building on Sept. 29, 2021. Residents of Lane stood outside for twenty minutes waiting for Public Safety. 

Public Safety was not notified of the fire alarm until a student called in, revealing the building is not connected to the main fire alarm system. The residents of Lane were informed their building’s fire alarm system was not connected to Public Safety like the other buildings on campus.

Aden Gill, a sophomore biology major and resident of the Lane apartment building, was one of the students to call Public Safety after waiting outside for twenty minutes. 

“We knew it was not serious, so none of us were that worried.” Gill said. “But it astounded me to hear that the system was not connected.”

Libby Schneider, a sophomore biology major and Lane resident, said she was cooking when the alarm went off. “We were really lucky it wasn’t serious.”

In a previous Shield article, Cooking causes multiple fire alarms during the Fall 2020 semester, Sam Preston, assistant director of Public Safety, said that if the fire alarm goes off, Public Safety is immediately dispatched to the area. “We respond to all fire alarms in person.” 

According to the Fire and Building Evacuation handbook, campus building fire alarms are monitored by the Public Safety dispatch.

Stephen Bequette, director of Public Safety, said the COVID-19 pandemic is the reason the Lane apartment building is not connected to Public Safety. “It may take a while to fix.”

Bequette said that the current fire alarm system was installed four years ago and every building was linked up to Public Safety. He said, “It was a long and expensive process.”

The system was still being worked on when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, which he said may have affected the connection of the Lane apartment building to Public Safety.

Bequette said COVID-19 not only affected the fire alarm construction but also the funds and manpower used to make it. Before the new system, Bequette said Public Safety used to have a “call-in system for whenever the fire alarm went off.” 

He said, “We would have residents from each building call in to notify us in case of a fire.”

Bequette said Public Safety encourages all potential and active fires to be reported at 812-492-7777 or text. 7777.