Soltz Hall’s Problematic Fire Alarms

Sarah Devitz, Contributing Writer

Everyone knows that fire drills, though they are important, can be one of the more inconvenient things about living in a college dorm. I have been living in Soltz Hall since the beginning of my sophomore year and, if you have lived there, you know how bad the fire drills are.

One of the main problems with the fire drills in Soltz is the number of times they will go off in one semester, whether they’re planned or not. Last semester my roommates and I had started counting how many times the fire alarm would go off and by the end of the semester there had been approximately 15 drills. This semester we’ve already had the alarm go off three times, all within the same week.

A large source of these fire drills happening is Qdoba and Chick-fil-A, which are both located underneath Soltz Hall. While these restaurants are nice places to go for the occasional bite to eat, the number of times the fire alarms have been set off because of them is ridiculous. It’s extremely difficult to focus on your studies when you suddenly have to evacuate because Qdoba set the fire alarm off again. Don’t get me wrong, on a rainy or snowy day when the weather is bad, and you don’t want to leave, it’s a great option having these places right below the dorm. But it is also these days when you definitely do not want to have to evacuate because of a fire drill.

Obviously Qdoba and Chick-fil-A aren’t the only ones at fault for these fire drills, but they’re a lot easier to address then a student who forgot to add water to their instant ramen. Soltz, being one of the newer buildings on campus, you would hope there would be some measures in place to prevent Qdoba and Chick-fil-A from setting off the alarm unless it was an actual emergency. I have a bag that I keep near the door which holds important things, such as my wallet or any medical documents to grab as I leave in case a drill ever is an actual emergency.

It’s understandable that there are set fire drills which the university plans out to keep students safe, these are usually during the day, and are undisruptive toward student’s sleep or studies. With the number of times the fire alarms have gone off in Soltz though, one can only hope there is some level to which the issue is being addressed. I think there is some level of safety concern that comes with having Qdoba and Chick-fil-A below one of the dorm buildings.

With fire safety and prevention month coming up in October I think there is no better time than now to be bringing up these concerns. As a student who is living in Soltz it would be reassuring to some measure to see the university address the matter. I do like having these options on campus as alternatives for lunch or dinner, being right under the dorm is a concerning matter. If there were a real fire from Qdoba or Chick-fil-A, now not only are those restaurants affected but the students in the dorms and the bookstore are now affected as well.