Life Safety Systems

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 MSU 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.

Fire Drills are conducted twice a year in all residence halls. The first drill is scheduled early in the fall semester and all residents are told in advance. The second drill is conducted some time during the spring semester with no advance warning.

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.

MSU Emergency personnel responds to a 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, MSU Emergency personnel do not fight fires unless the Fire Department asks for their assistance.

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 MSU 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.

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. The fire alarms are monitored 24 hrs. 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.

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.

Being 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. MSU 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.