Aida Ali is absolutely right in declaring, “University Housing officials have to find a way to solve this problem,” in her viewpoint (Alarming frequency, 2/11/2011). Fortunately there is a quick, easy and cheap solution. Decades ago the New York City subway system was plagued with people repeatedly pulling the emergency break in each car, which at the time was just a wire with a handle. To remedy the problem, each emergency break was individually placed so that everyone in the car would see and react to the perpetrator. As a direct result the problem is now non-existent.

The Residence Hall Association should set a timer on each individual alarm box in University Housing, perhaps on a five second delay so that in order to pull the alarm one would have to physically stand next to it for five seconds as a localized, shrieking alarm goes off. There would be no consequence in a real fire — after all, it’s just five seconds. But it would serve as a forceful deterrent to any would-be alarm puller who would be terrified of not just being caught (and potentially fined or imprisoned) by Housing staff but also by hoards of angry students enraged about going into the cold, for the third time that night for a false alarm.

David Seidman
LSA freshman

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.