Fire Alarm

began complying during the summer of 1982.

The false alrams sounded from the "systems smoke detectors" in stairwells and buildings. These detectors alert the Fire Department and ring the alarm throughout the building.

Last year, Harvard's first with the more than 1000 false alarms went off, Breen said.

"Everybody assumed at the end of last year that it's going to be all right," Bossest said, but added, "We're still in the same place as last year. The more Houses we have reaovated the bigger the problem."

But the high number of strum in Gresoough and low number in Greenbough and low number in Mather-an equally large building--remain a mystery.


Park of the explanation is the oversemitivity of the new detection, officials explained. Dust, steam, insets, and "other things" one set off an alarm, Breen said.

But the College is caught "in a catch-22," Breen said, explaining that the decrease the sensitivity of the detectors would be illegal. Ongoing renovations only seem likely to increase the dust and other alarm-triggered particles, he said.

Other Experience

The only other university to experience a similar false alarm problem is the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

UMass began installing detectors in 1978, before the law was passed, but in the first year with the new detectors several dorms had chronic false alarms, David J. Beaudin, UMass's senior fire inspector, said last weak. There continue to be three or four false alarms each week, he added.

In one dorm students stopped evacuating, Beaudia said.

Several years later, the problem died down after the introduction of fire education programs and a fire prevention squad.