Spike in Fire Alarms Causes Frustration on Ammerman Campus

A seven-fold increase to 7 alarms this year was led by 4 in the Islip Arts building.


Ni'yah-Marie Preacely

Students gather outside of the Islip Arts building during the fire drill on Feb. 23, 2022.(SCCC Multimedia/Ni’yah-Marie Preacely)

Sara McGiff, Reporter

The morning of Feb. 23 was brisk and overcast as English professor Mark Bourdeau prepared for his Wednesday classes during his office hours. A time used to be productive and assist students was abruptly interrupted by the obnoxious ringing of the fire alarm–the third one in two weeks. 

“Technically, we’re supposed to shut everything off,” Bourdeau said. “I was in the middle of several things on my computer and I had to shut the computer down. So I did lose some material there.”

Milder Alcala, a computer science major, who was outside during the last fire drill on Feb. 23, also expressed his annoyance with the uptick in these occurrences. 

“It’s too cold to be standing outside this early every other week,” he said. “I’m hoping this doesn’t become a routine.”

According to Thomas Carroll, Assistant Director of Patrol Operations, the increase of fire alarms has been plaguing several buildings on the Ammerman campus. There have been 6 alarm activations in January and February of this year and seven in total this year. That is significantly more than January and February of last year, when there was only one incident. 

The Islip Arts building has had four alarm activations, one occurred in the Smithtown Science building, and one in the Ammerman building. 

“We’re all frustrated by the fact that this is happening frequently,” Bourdeau said. “Those of us who have been here a while remember there was a time, and this isn’t relevant this time, a few years before Covid, where there were basically fire alarms every week because students were vaping in the bathroom.”

According to Bourdeau, there has also been a lack of communication from Public Safety in regards to informing staff about the circumstances behind the fire drills and how it’s going to be resolved. 

However, Carroll said he is also unsure if there was a plan to send an email out to faculty and students in regards to these incidents. 

Public Safety refers all alarm activity to the proper campus and College authorities,” he said. “I have no knowledge if there is a planned announcement regarding alarm activity on campus.”