#students | #parents | Fire Alarm Goes Off in Warde Academic Center

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Sabrina is a marketing major at Saint Xavier University and is going into her third year as a student at SXU. Sabrina holds many positions at SXU while being a full time student, such as Resident Assistant and president of the business club on campus. Although Sabrina’s life revolves around business more than journalism, she still has an interest in the news and wanting to always improve on her writing.

    The fire alarm in the Warde Academic Center sounded on October 8th around 12:45 p.m. Everyone inside evacuated until the Chicago Fire Department arrived.

    Jack Touhy, Chief of Police, said “the reason the fire alarm went off is because the staff was putting away a chair or something, and it was set off. The Chicago Fire Department came over because the alarm is automatically tied to them in case of emergency”. 

    Touhy said, “students and facility reacted well to hearing the fire alarm go off by following the fire evacuation plan, and waiting for the fire department to give the cue to go back inside”. 

    He explained that the fire evacuation plan is to treat every fire alarm like it is a real fire, and to exit the building until the fire department says it is clear to go back inside. This plan is similar to the fire evacuation plan that the residents are told in the residence halls.

    Touhy went on further with, “facilities are working with the vendor for our fire alarms to fix the problem with the fire alarm going off”. Touhy also said that he did not know if the reason why they went off is because the fire alarm systems are old. Fire alarms are mostly overseen by facilities. 

    He was asked if other fire alarms have been affected by this fire alarm going off since the Pacelli Hall fire alarm has gone off numerous times by accident? Toughy stated, “no other alarms have been affected”. 

    Touhy said, “during the time of the fire alarm going off, I was with several other public safety employees who responded to the incident”. 

    Gilda Torres, a junior at Saint Xavier, said “when the fire alarm went off we just went to the nearest exit and later on resumed back to     class when we saw everyone go back in”.

    Touhy was asked if the faculty and staff were trained for emergencies like the fire alarm going off. Toughy responded, “yes, we have “all-hazards” type presentation usually once or twice a year, we have an emergency guide and procedures on the portal. We also stress to everyone to treat any fire alarm as real, and evacuate the building”.

    Even though there has been training for the staff and faculty, some students did not know what to do when the fire alarm went off. Freshman, Chris Moore-Randle, said, “I was picking out my classes for next semester, and the fire alarm went off, but the people in the office and myself did not know what to do. Some of us did not even know it was the fire alarm that went off so we did not know if we should leave the building or not”. 

    Moore-Randle continued, “We eventually all went outside because we saw other people go outside but I was never told when to enter back into the building, so I went in on accident before I was supposed to. I overall felt underprepared for the fire alarm going off”. 

    Toughy was asked what we can do better in the future for fire safety? Touhy said, “we continue to update safety as a whole including fire safety and update procedures/policy as needed. The best advice is to follow the alarm procedure and leave the building until given direction by the fire dept or public safety”. 

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