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LEADING COMMUNITY RISK REDUCTION - page 16 / 75

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Moore (2000) described the requirements of NFPA 101, the Life Safety Code,

which contains the minimum requirements for fire alarm and automatic sprinkler systems

in dormitories. According to Moore, the Life Safety Code requires dormitories to

maintain a manual fire alarm system, an automatic sprinkler system, or an automatic

detection system. Exceptions are allowed. For example, manual fire alarm boxes may be

eliminated if a complete automatic fire detection system or sprinkler system is provided.

Moore found that although the requirements for a fire alarm system in an existing

dormitory are minimal, many colleges avoid installing them due to the high rate of false

alarms dormitories experience. The result, he says, is dormitories use procedures that

notify occupants using a positive alarm system. In other words, should an alarm occur, a

general alarm is delayed until someone in authority can investigate. Once done, the fire

department is notified by telephone only if an actual fire is discovered. Moore argues

that delays in occupant evacuation and fire department response are built in to such

procedures. Therefore, fire safe dormitories require smoke detection, fire alarm, and

automatic sprinkler systems. In addition, fire safety awareness and student accountability

are key.

Grant (1999) argued for the installation of automatic sprinkler systems in college

dormitories. Even though college students represent what some believe are the best and

brightest individuals of society, this population sometimes behaves in a manner that

involves risk. She described a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report on a

fire in a Franklin Massachusetts dormitory. While the building was successfully

evacuated without life loss, the building was a total loss as a result of the fire. This

occurred despite the fact that an automatic fire alarm system with heat and smoke

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