False Fire Alarms Leads to Frustration

October 30, 2007 - Posted at 5:34 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO-"I was trying to do my homework and all of a sudden I hear the fire alarm go off. Now, we are out here," said Sarah Waters.

She says this during the 27th fire alarm this semester for Kays Hall on ASU's campus.

This one went off around 2:30 Tuesday afternoon.

Some students barely made it out of the shower and other daily routines.

"I was trying to take a nap and I just heard the fire alarm," said Lauren McClendon.

It's these stories that are echoed by hundreds of students living in the dorm at the corner of Johnson and Dean Street.

"I think they really need to find out who's doing it because it's an annoyance to everyone in the dorms," said Derrek Blume.

Fire drills are not something taken lightly, because every time the trigger is pulled, you are talking about the evacuation of 500 plus students, and university officials say that's not an easy task.

"It's frustrating for our staff, but still they have to take each one of those alarms as serious as the first one. They have to go through and follow the procedures we have set up to evacuate the building and make sure all of the residents are safe," said Patrick Dixon, Director of ASU Residence Life.

With each alarm also comes the Jonesboro Fire Department.

"They too have to take each one of those alarms very seriously. They have to come out and investigate and make sure we don't have a fire in the building," said Dixon.

Due to a city ordinance each false alarm after the first three are supposed to cost 25 dollars each, but at least for now, the fire department has waived that cost to the University.

But more than anything, University officials don't want this situation...

"Our students become frustrated. So, eventually they become numb and think it's just another prank. It could be that very alarm that's sounding that means we have a problem here and we need to get people out as quickly as possible," said Dixon.

For that reason Arkansas State is working hard to find out who is pulling the alarms.

They are offering a $1,000 reward for anyone with information that could lead to the conviction of the person or persons responsible.

You are asked to call the Residence Life Office at  972-2042.

You can also contact them at reslife@astate.edu.

Story ideas or comments?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com.