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LEADING COMMUNITY RISK REDUCTION - page 41 / 75

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Mowrer (1999) described the use of fire detection and alarm systems used in

residence halls. While fire detection and alarm systems provide some protection in terms

of alerting occupants that a fire exists, there is no assurance the occupants will take the

proper action. The reasons for this are varied including high levels of false alarms,

apathy, high incidence of intoxication, among others.

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

Code. The dormitories at CSUF meet the minimum requirements of NFPA 101 by

maintaining a manual pull station alarm system and smoke detectors. However, these

detection systems only provide minimal protection. Too often, only minimal fire

protection requirements are considered at the time of construction in most buildings.

Such practices should be questioned in buildings where at-risk young adults are housed.

A strong case is made for the installation of automatic sprinkler systems in

dormitories. Smoke or fire alarms were present in 93 percent of all dormitory fires in

1997. Sprinkler systems were present in 28 percent of these fires. On average, direct

property damage per fire was 36 percent lower when an automatic sprinkler system was

present (NFPA, 2001). According to Grant (1999) no more than two people have been

killed in any building fire where a sprinkler system had been installed.

The installation of automatic sprinklers has not been accomplished due to budget

restrictions according to the assistant housing director. It appears such a change may

only occur when a catastrophic event such as the fire at Seton Hall University occurs

close to home.

Mongeau (1999) described advanced fire protection features at West Campus

Residence Hall at Northeastern University. One protection system prevented the spread

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