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Failure of Fire Alarms Caused Hyde Hall to Shut

By Kelsey Davis; News Editor
On September 14, 2017

Failure of Fire Alarms Caused Hyde Hall to Shut 

Kelsey Davis

News Editor 

kldaivs3@plymouth.edu 

 

When the Fall 2017 semester started at Plymouth State, students were greeted with emails saying Hyde Hall was closed down. Further emails stated that while the entire building would be closed on the 5th of September, the upper floors would be open the rest of the week. The first floor of the building would be closed the rest of the week, reopening on Monday September 11.

The reason for the closing was an unexpected failure in the fire alarm system in Hyde. The building is currently on a five-year renovation cycle, and over the summer a new fire alarm system was implemented. The plan was for the systems to overlap for a short period of time, and have the old system slowly be phased out. On August 18, the old system experienced a catastrophic failure. For two weeks, a Fire Watch was implemented. Anyone working in the building had to sign in, and the fire watch’s duty was to alert the fire department on where anyone was at any given time if there was an emergency.

As the fall semester approached, the University was hoping for the problem to be centered on the first floor. As time went on, it became obvious that the problem was more widespread. The New Hampshire Fire Marshall found several glitches in the system focused on the upper floors forcing the closing of Hyde Hall on Tuesday the fifth.

After working around the clock, the problems were fixed on Thursday the seventh. The University decided to reopen the building on the 11th.

Hyde closing heavily impacted the student body throughout the week. Classes were cancelled on Tuesday, forcing faculty to rearrange lesson plans. Classes that were originally located on the first floor were forced to relocate to non-traditional classrooms around campus, such as the Frost House, and even the Fireplace lounge in the HUB.

While the university kept the faculty and student body informed as time went on, the incident has left many wondering how such a thing happened, and if it will happen again. Where else on campus is this old system installed? If it failed once, it is reasonable to believe that it could happen again. Is Plymouth State checking the fire alarms in the buildings across campus to see if problems arise? Is there a schedule in place that these alarms are tested to see if they are functioning properly? Is it possible for another failure to happen, and how long would it take the university to know?

Robyn Parker, the Dean of College of Business who has been working at the university for 8 years, handled the communications throughout the entire incident. “While this was not the best way to start the semester” she said, “It did show the resilience of the campus community.” 

PHOTO BY: JACK ROBERTS

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