Pullman Fire Department responds to increase in fire alarm calls

Northside Residence Hall had two fire alarms back to back; students should not attempt to disassemble smoke detectors



Northside Residence Hall, October 13, 2021.

JOSIAH PIKE, Evergreen news co-editor

Pullman Fire Department has seen an increase in fire alarms on the WSU campus this semester. 

“Students have been back for only a few months, but it’s over where the total calls were this time last year,” said Pullman Fire Chief Mike Heston.

PFD is most commonly called to Greek Row because that is where many parties take place, Heston said. People often disregard safety when handling potential fire hazards. 

“When some people are using amateur fireworks or smoking cigarettes or marijuana, it can be a real hazard sometimes,” he said.

Heston said he does not know for sure why the alarm has been going off more than usual these past months, although he has some theories about it.

“It could be just because people are back from being cooped up so long,” he said. “People are finally back on campus and are a bit more rowdy and less careful.”

Many of the fire alarms in the past few months have been genuine, although there were a few that were scheduled drills, Heston said.

Residence halls get a lot of visits from PFD because of the smoke detectors in each room. Heston said he recommends people do not try to remove smoke detectors.

“We sometimes see people try to deactivate the alarm by taking the batteries out,” he said. “But that just puts yourself and others in more danger since the alarms end up helping everyone.”

Freshman Aidan Troutt said the fire alarm went off in Northside Residence Hall the night of Oct. 2 and again the next day. 

“I think the first one was a drill,” Troutt said. “I was told that the second one was caused by someone messing with a grill in the kitchen, but that’s all I know about that.”

Troutt and his roommate, freshman Nathan Reger, both said the alarm likely can be set off by people who are not careful with potential fire hazards in their room. 

Building fire alarms can be set off in many different ways and can be very temperamental. Heston, Troutt and Reger all recommend people be careful when doing anything that could potentially set the alarm off.

“The alarms can go off easily,” Reger said. “So just don’t put grapes or forks in the microwave or anything like that.”