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FIRE ALARM - an update from the Warden

The fire alarm has sounded several times today. I want to ensure that no one is confused about it.

IF THE FIRE ALARM EVER SOUNDS FOR MORE THAN FIVE SECONDS, YOU MUST EVACUATE THE BUILDING.

That’s the most important message to remember. If you’re still interested in what’s been happening, read on…

Following the fire on Tuesday night, we had reports that some people’s sounders didn’t go off, so they slept through the whole thing.

So THIS AFTERNOON, between 11:45 and 12:00, we tested the sounders in those rooms and a random selection of other rooms. In fact, we only found one sounder that wasn’t quite right and that is being repaired very urgently. We sent an email to everyone yesterday warning you that we would be testing the alarm for that fifteen-minute period.

We are going to conduct another test of all sounders in the building in the summer, but to do that we shall have to ring the alarm for about half an hour continuously, so that will be after you have all left.

TONIGHT at around 22:30, burnt food set off the smoke detector in the fourth-floor pantry. The Duty Senior Member saw there was no fire and no hazard, so the alarm was silenced. Our guidelines are that we will silence the alarm only if it sounds for less than five seconds; if it’s been sounding for more than five seconds, even if there isn’t a fire, we will conduct a full evacuation. Unfortunately, on this occasion, there was so much smoke that the alarm kept being re-triggered, so you might have heard brief bursts from the alarm about five times. That’s very unusual.

We are not planning any more tests or practices. So from now on, if you hear the fire alarm ringing for more than five seconds, please do leave the building by the shortest route.

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