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Gettysburg College uses several types of fire detection and notification systems including heat detectors, smoke detectors, pull stations, and horns and lights.

Emergency horns/bells and lights/strobes are located throughout each building with fire alarm system. They are typically found near emergency pull stations. Do not block emergency horns or lights. Report damaged or defective horns and lights to Public Safety.

Fire alarm manual pull stations are installed in addition to the automatic fire sensing devices to allow occupants a means to manually activate a building's alarms. When pulled manually, a pull station activates the fire alarm system and notifies occupants that an emergency exists. Pull stations are located near exit stairways and/or building exits and should be activated any time you smell smoke or see smoke or a fire. Once activated, if you are not in immediate danger, contact Public Safety at extension 6911 or call 911 and provide information on the nature of the emergency. If you are trained in fire fighting and it is reasonably safe to do so, you may attempt to extinguish small fires while waiting for professional emergency responders to arrive

Most detection devices in campus facilities are linked to the emergency dispatch panel at Public Safety. Once a building alarm system is activated, the panel alerts the Communications Dispatcher on duty who initiates emergency response. There are two types of fire detection devices used in college facilities: heat detectors and smoke detectors. Please note the location of the detectors in your area and take steps to prevent damage and accidental activation.

Heat Detectors:

Heat detectors respond to the convection energy in hot smoke and fire gases (i.e., heat). Heat detectors are normally located in laboratories, mechanical rooms, storage areas, and areas that could produce high levels of dust, steam, or other airborne particles.

Smoke Detectors:

Smoke detectors respond to the solid and liquid aerosols produced by a fire (i.e., smoke). Since smoke detectors cannot distinguish between smoke particles and other particles such as steam, building occupants must be aware of detector locations and be considerate when working around them. Smoke detectors are normally found in exit corridors, office areas, assembly areas, and residence halls.

If your work produces steam, dust, or an environment that could damage or activate a detector, contact Public Safety and work with the manager to modify your system while the work is being done.

New Alarm Specifications

The purpose of a designed alarm specifications is to standardize all fire alarm detection systems, which increases efficiency in knowledge, service, repairs, and operation. The current fire alarm detection system that is required for any new installation is a Simplex 4100ES. The 4100ES is an addressable voide evacuation system that allows point-to-point identification. It also features many desired options that are supportive of the reduction of false alarms, which is a associated with college campuses.

The main fire alarm control panel shall contain supervised module dialers or network cards and fiber cable to communicate to the campus central monitoring station for both fire and trouble separately. Coordination between the sprinkler system and the elevator controller needs to be identified if applicable. Public Safety may alter the specifications depending on a defined need or requirement for special use.

New Alarm System Requirements

Before any building project is allowed to begin, plans must be submitted to the Public Safety for review. These building plans must include detailed information about the fire alarm system, the specifications, and warranty.

All new alarm systems must include a one year service contract by the electrical contractor to provide maintenance and inspection service for the complete system. A minimum of two inspections during the contract year must be provided. The equipment manufacturer shall make available and if requested by Public Safety the option to extend the service agreement to provide all parts, labor and mileage beyond the first year contract period.

A complete operational test of the system and all individual components shall be performed under ht supervision of the manufacturers' representative. Final test and checks shall be completed in the presence of the manager. Each device will be identified and labeled on a master list. This list will be made available to the manager. All documentation of the alarm system to include the testing certification and the system manual must be supplied to the manager. The manager will file all testing and certifications of all building fire protection systems as well as maps and plans in a master filing system within the Office of Public Safety.

Spare components must also be furnished and turned over to the Life Safety Coordinator:

A. Six Smoke Detectors and associated bases.

B. Three heat detectors and associated bases (135 F) One high temperature heat detector and associated base.

C. Three pull stations with Stopper II devices.

D. Three combination audible/visual alarm devices.

E. Three visual alarm devices.

Servicing Alarm Systems

Gettysburg College maintains automatic fire detection systems in almost all of its buildings. These systems are very reliable and require very little service, but in certain situations these systems develop a problem that requires service work to be preformed. This section addresses the procedures for service work on all fire alarm systems.

System Checks

Any system that is monitored by Public Safety that reports both fire and trouble alarms do not require daily visual checks of those systems. Systems that do not report either fire or trouble alarms must be visually checked daily to ensure that the system is working properly. Public Safety Officers will document these checks by a desk log entry into the REX Information System.

System Service and Repairs

If a problem such as a trouble alarm develops, then the on duty officer will begin to trouble shoot the problem. All officers are trained to replace a smoke detector if one is dirty or in need of repairs. Once the officer has attempted to fix the problem without success, then they will contact the on duty/ on call supervisor. After discussing the problem with the officer, the supervisor will then advise the officer to take one of the following courses of action:

  • Further trouble shooting by the officer.
  • Assist the officer with further trouble shooting.
  • Refer the problem to the manager or their designee.

Once the manager is notified of a problem the following courses of action will occur:

  • Offer further trouble shooting information for the on duty officer to pursue.
  • Advise the On Duty Officer to zone out the problem area until repairs can be made at a later time.
  • The manager will respond to that location and make immediate repairs.

Fire Watch

In cases where an occupied residential building will not have fire alarm protection due to repairs, the Life Safety Manager, an on duty supervisor or Director must establish a fire watch within that unprotected area. A fire watch is when a trained person is assigned to watch for fires in a certain defined area. The fire watch will be supplied with a two-way radio for direct communication with the college dispatch center and a fire extinguisher. This person must be a member of the Public Safety Department. The on duty supervisor will review all procedures duties with the fire watch.

Outside Service Agency:

The majority of fire detection systems are Simplex and a yearly contract for testing all the systems once a year is provided. This contract doesn't include any service, repairs or parts to maintain any of these systems. The Life Safety Manager is the only one person (Except the Director and Assistant Director) allowed to request Simplex for service, parts or repairs. The manager will document and track all service, parts and repairs done to each system and make a report to the Director of Life and Fire Safety Services.