Mark Meets World: Frequent fire alarms prompt student outrage

Mark Meets World

Mark Feuerborn

Within the past two weeks, the Living Learning Center, one of Washburn University’s residence halls, has had fire alarms sound off three separate times, two of which were caused by residents cooking food incorrectly. Whenever the fire alarms are triggered, all residents must evacuate and wait for the Topeka Fire Department to show up, investigate the alarm and give the all clear.

The problem that I have with this, as an LLC resident myself, is that the fire alarms are being caused by problems such as other residents leaving food unattended in the microwaves and ovens or smoking in their dorms. For example, around 9:30 a.m. this past Sunday, while many residents and I were planning on sleeping in during our weekend off from classes, the fire alarm went off once again. The campus police confirmed that the probable cause was burnt food.

Granted, burnt food and smoking in the residence hall rooms should speak for themselves, but since some have been failing to use common sense so frequently in such a short span of time, let’s reflect on some ways to easily prevent making smoke and causing the fire alarms to go off.

The first way to prevent false alarms is by not smoking in one’s room. Those smoking marijuana in their rooms seem to be forgetting they live inside a small cube with a smoke detector right above them. On Oct. 13, several residents in the Washburn Village were caught with marijuana and paraphernalia in their dorm.

For those smoking cigarettes, whose excuse is that it’s cold outside, I have no sympathy. Smokers should not be smoking in their rooms without considering the ramifications to their neighbors. Please take it outside.

The second way to easily prevent fire alarms is to actually pay attention when cooking food in a community kitchen. People not doing exactly this have caused two of the three fire alarms that the LLC residents have endured in the last two weeks. Adding to this, it’s important to remember that the popcorn button of the microwaves is not what one should use when making popcorn. I cannot stress enough that the directions are on the bags. Read directions, people, they’re there for a reason.

It’s sad that this needs to be said. We come to college to gain a higher education, but the common sense we need as a foundation for that higher education seems to be lacking. This is a place to learn how to live on one’s own, so for the sake of preventing embarrassment and enraging one’s neighbors, use common sense to avoid setting the campus fire alarms off.