Life Safety Systems

II. Life Safety Systems

A. Emergency Fire Response

Montclair State University has access to 24 hours-a-day, seven day a week response to any fire alarm or report of burning odors. Our duty is to assure the safety of everyone on the Montclair State University Campus.

However, fire alarms alone do not ensure any person's safety unless that person knows how to safely exit a building when the fire alarm sounds.

If residents do not evacuate a hall in a reasonable amount of time, the drill is repeated until emergency officials are satisfied with the evacuation time. All repeat drills are unannounced.

Fire drills are also conducted on a regular basis for the University Health Center and the Child Care Centers. Drills for other campus buildings are not conducted unless requested and scheduled by the building's occupants.

When the fire alarm sounds, you should leave the building immediately--even if someone else tells you it is a false alarm. Do not use the elevator and do not assume it is an alarm test (unless a test has been announced)--fire alarms should never be taken lightly.

You may go back into the building when emergency personnel tell you it is safe to re-enter.

Montclair State University Emergency personnel responds to any fire alarm (24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year) to assist the Fire Department with building and room entry. They can also provide information about a particular area due to their familiarity with the fire alarm system and practice of inspecting buildings. They help locate the alarm area for the Fire Department by checking and operating the fire alarm control panel. While trained in fire-fighting techniques, Montclair State University Emergency personnel do not fight fires unless the Fire Department asks for their assistance.

B. What Are "False Alarms?"

A false alarm is when a person intentionally sends in a false report of a fire. This causes emergency crews (Montclair Fire Department, Clifton Fire Department, Little Falls Fire Department and University Police) to expend time and effort in responding to a non-existing situation. False alarms kill. It has been documented by numerous fire agencies around the country that a number of fire departments responding to false alarms have been involved in accidents while responding to such reports, which resulted in firefighters being killed or injured, and vehicles and equipment damaged. Fire Department personnel may be delayed in responding to a real emergency where lives are at stake.

The fire detection systems in Montclair State University facilities are designed to respond to a condition of smoke and/or heat. How does a smoke detector work? When a foreign object or substance enters the inner chamber of a smoke detector, it activates the detector's sensor, which sends a signal to the fire alarm control panel and sets off the fire alarm. However, a smoke detector cannot distinguish the differences in smoke, dust, insects, and water. 
All fire alarm systems on campus are connected to a central receiving panel that is monitored 24 hours-a-day by the University Police Department. When a fire alarm goes off in a campus building, the dispatcher immediately knows in which building the alarm was activated. Each call is taken seriously and response is within a few minutes.

Fortunately, the cause of most fire alarms is not fire, but something else. Causes can be accidental (somebody bumping into a fire alarm device, a worker spray painting, sawing/sanding wood, or welding too close to a detector), unintentional (dust or insects the detector sees as smoke, or a smoke detector too close to a kitchen area, or water that leaks into a detector), mechanical (a malfunctioning system--usually when a new system is being installed, an electrical storm, or a faulty wire), or malicious (intentionally setting off the alarm).

The number of fire alarms on campus could be greatly reduced if we just pay more attention to our surroundings and what we are doing. Fire alarms disrupt campus life: classes, labs, special activities, office activity, sleep, etc. It is the goal of the Director of Fire Safety to reduce the number of fire alarms on campus through education, maintenance of alarm systems, and a smoke detector cleaning program.

C. Fire Inspections

Inspections of all life safety devices are on going THROUGHOUT campus / all fire alarm systems are tested annually before the start of the fall semester. All fire alarms are monitored 24 hours. a day at the University Police headquarters.

Sprinkler systems are tested annually during the summer months and inspected quarterly; all of the Resident Halls are fully sprinkled. Additionally some of the academic buildings have sprinkler systems.

Cooking systems in all dining halls, diners, and classrooms are protected by hood suppression system. This is like a fire extinguisher that is hooked up to the hood above the stove. These systems are tested every 6 months.

D. Fire extinguishers

There are over 2000 fire extinguishers on campus. All fire extinguishers are tested once a year, and are hydrostatically tested in accordance with the N.F.P.A 10. if you see a fire extinguisher with an old inspection tag please report the location to Fire Safety at X 5401.

Because we are a state agency, the State of NJ Division of Fire Safety inspects all campus property. Some buildings are inspected quarterly depending on their classification and use. Montclair State University Department of Fire Safety inspects the buildings throughout the year to insure compliance with all State codes.

Testing of all life safety systems is done by an independent company to ensure compliance with all codes and standards. Copy of these reports are filed in the Fire Safety office.

E. Fire Safety Systems in Student Housing

All student housing structures contain fire alarms that report to the University Police Headquarters by way of a state-of-the-art Notifier Monitoring System. The hardware for the Notifier Monitoring System was last up-graded in 2016.

All on-campus Student Housing facilities are equipped with a full NFPA 13 fire suppression system installed throughout each building. Sprinkler testing is conducted quarterly by a State Certified Contractor and University Fire Safety employee.

A description of each on-campus student housing facility and its corresponding fire safety system is identified in the table below with an indication of the most recent improvements:

Building Description of Fire Safety System
Blanton Hall The fire alarm system was upgraded in 2013 to a Voice Activation System and room detectors were upgraded in 2015 from 110v smoke detectors, to wireless monitored device that now report to University Police
Bohn Hall The fire alarm was last upgraded in 2016 to a Voice Activation System with addressable room detectors that report to University Police
Freeman Hall The fire alarm was last upgraded in 2014 to an addressable fire alarms system that reports all alarms to University Police
Russ Hall The fire alarm was last upgraded to an addressable fire alarms system that reports all alarms to University Police
Sinatra Hall This facility was constructed in 2014 to include a Voice Activation System with addressable fire alarm systems that report all alarms to University Police
Dinallo Heights This facility was constructed in 2011 to include a Voice Activation System with addressable room detectors that report to University Police
Machuga Heights This facility was constructed in 2011 to include a Voice Activation System with addressable room detectors that report to University Police
Hawks Crossing Room detectors were last upgraded in 2015 to a wireless monitored fire alarm system with addressable room detectors that report to University Police
The Village The fire alarm is a fully addressable smoke detection system that reports to University Police

F/ Plans for Future Life Safety Improvements

A description of future plans for fire safety improvements to each on-campus student housing facility is identified in the below table:

Building Description of Fire Safety System
Freeman Hall Upgrade main fire alarm panels in this building to a Voice Evacuation Mass Notification system
Russ Hall Upgrade main fire alarm panels in this building to a Voice Evacuation Mass Notification system
The Village Upgrade main fire alarm panels in each of these buildings to a Voice Evacuation Mass Notification system.
In 2018, replace room Intelaquad Carbon Monoxide sensor detectors for a total of 50 detectors as required every 5 years