Students who live at the Living Learning Complex have frequently been forced to evacuate outside due to the residence hall’s fire alarm going off.
According to several LLC residents, the fire alarm goes off nearly once a week. Josh Laughlin, a freshman who lives at the LLC, said the fire alarm usually goes off around nighttime.
“It’s most often around 11 p.m. or midnight,” he said. “There have been a couple of times around 2 or 3 a.m., a couple in the afternoon, but it’s usually around 11 or 12.”
The Memphis Fire Department has come each time the fire alarm goes off but Laughlin noted that the fire department appear to be frustrated at the number of times it happens. Despite this, he is not worried that firefighters will be reluctant to show up.
“Sometimes there’s been seven or eight trucks and other times there’s been one or two. I don’t know the reasoning for that, but there's always someone that shows up at least,” he said.
Laughlin explained how the fire alarm affects his sleep and prevents him from getting the proper amount of rest he wants.
“I try to get eight hours and the psychology of sleep is that it's important to go eight hours,” he said. “If it’s interrupted at any point, it makes you a lot more tired and exhausted.”
The frequency of the fire alarms going off has not only caused some residents to grow tired of it, but for them to take it less seriously too. It has become a trivial routine for them to the point that they are not worried about it possibly being an actual fire.
“Everyone is always frustrated whenever it happens. A lot of students talk about not evacuating and staying in their rooms,” Laughlin said. “For the most part, those students still go out and evacuate out of respect, but it’s very frustrating to everyone.”
Samantha Lewis, freshman and front desk worker at the LLC, also emphasized other students being tired of the alarm and how it affects her schedule.
“I have 9 a.m. classes and have to wake up at 7, so getting to bed and having the alarm go off for an hour is not great,” she said. “Then, you have to come down and wait outside and that takes a long time.”
Lewis and other residents believe they know what is causing the fire alarms to go off: other students smoking.
“I know it’s been the case for a lot of these,” Lewis said. “One time, it was someone actually burning something in the microwave. But 99 percent of the time it’s someone smoking in their room or the lobby room.”
According to Lewis, she and other students have made complaints to their RA and the LLC coordinator about the fire alarm, but no one has been able to do anything about it or find out who sets it off.
However, the LLC has an alarm system that is able to indicate which room’s detector went off.
“Like say if Style 100 went off. You could find out who did it because there’s a button to see what room went off,” Lewis said.
While Lewis is unsure if the LLC coordinator or RAs have confronted the residents whose room the detector went off in, she questions why someone would take the risk to smoke within the residence hall.
“You know that the room went off, you can find out who did it, and you know it’s not allowed on campus. So it makes you wonder why would even do this.”
LLC supervisors declined to comment about the incidents.
Although responsive thus far, students at the University of Memphis believe firefighters are becoming irritated with the constant alarms too.