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Smoke but not Fire

by Richard Hill

The alarms blared as the halls filled with the shrillest of rings. At the local fire station, the call comes in to jump into action. On August 25, WVU at Parkersburg experienced their first fire drill of the the Fall 2016 semester.

At approximately 10:30 a.m., the fire alarms sounded and the students rushed from their respective rooms. Hundreds of students watched the three trucks turn their way into the Caperton Center, unbeknownst to them as well as the rest of the student population, the location of the supposed fire was front and center of the school cafeteria, the opposite side of the campus.

The entrance of the cafeteria holds the beloved sandwich and panini press, squishing various breaded meats, and cheeses to perfectly pressed precision. Overworked and under greased, the press bellows clouds of smoke. Unfortunately, according to Al Collins, head of campus security at WVU Parkersburg, the amount of effort exhumed by the press was all too much for the fire alarms, tripping their sensors and sending the fire department in action.

Currently the alarm systems work by electronically sending signals to an off-campus site that directs the trucks to the location of said fire. This is effective for buildings with smaller layouts as well as fewer entrances, but with WVU Parkersburg being split into two different buildings with multiple sections and three floors, plus a basement, the standard order of operations may cause a bit of confusion.

This method however, again says Collins leaves a margin for error, as students saw on the 25th. In an effort by school officials and department heads, the fire department and campus authorities have acquired new radios as to make communication smoother, as well as giving firefighters a pinpoint location of any future incidents.

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