College of Architecture and Environmental Design
Construction Management Department
BS in Construction Management
Phil Barlow, Tom Kommer
What would you do if you were a student living on campus and you were burdened by an annoying fire alarm late at night? Though evacuating the building seems like the most logical and safe course of action, sleeping or studying for a big midterm may be a risk you are willing to take. Going back to grade school and up to your freshman year of college, we have been exposed to countless fire drills and false alarms. It is important to know the real facts on how students respond to fire alarms, the reason why they would respond, and their overall interpretation of them. In this paper is one in person survey of 50 students in the Yosemite dorms, three phone interviews with two fire alarm contractors and a Cal Poly fire and life safety specialist. Most of the student responses were the right thing to do in terms of response, but their thought process on whether an alarm would be a real fire, or a drill was exactly what was expected. By collecting the qualitative data in the three phone interviews, a general overview of fire alarm systems and the sequence of operation of those systems could be better understood. The results of this survey bring up some concerning evidence on whether students take fire alarms seriously.