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Fire Alarm Systems

The College of Charleston 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 buildings with fire alarm systems. Do not cover, tape over or block emergency horns or lights.

Fire alarm manual pull stations are installed in addition to the automatic fire detection 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 843.953.5611 or call 911 and provide information on the nature of the emergency.
Then evacuate the building.

Most detection devices in campus facilities are linked to the emergency dispatch panel at Public Safety or monitored by Sonitrol. Once a building alarm system is activated, the panel alerts the Dispatcher on duty (or Sonitrol) who then contacts the City of Charleston Fire Department.

Types of Detectors

The two most common types of fire detection devices used in college facilities are heat and smoke detectors.

Please note the location of the detectors in your building/room and take steps to prevent damage and accidental activation.

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

Smoke detectors respond to the solid and liquid aerosols (smoke) produced by a fire. Since smoke detectors cannot distinguish between smoke particles and other particles such as steam or aerosol products, building occupants must be aware of detector locations and direct perfume or air fresheners sprays away from them. Smoke detectors are normally located in sleeping rooms, exit corridors, assembly areas, and residence halls.

If your work produces steam, dust, or an environment that could damage or activate a detector, contact Fire and Life Safety for instructions on how to cover the detector while the work is being done.
smoke detector

New Alarm Specifications

CofC Fire and EMS has established a goal of standardizing all fire alarm detection systems. Standardization of the fire alarm systems on campus increases efficiency in knowledge, service, repairs and operation. The fire alarm detection system that is currently required for any new installation in CofC facilities is the Simplex 4100U. The 4100U is an addressable system that allows point-to-point identification. It also features many desired options that are supportive of the reduction of false alarms, which are associated with college campuses. As CofC renovates buildings, obsolete and non-repairable fire alarm systems are replaced with the 4100U.

If you have any questions concerning fire alarm systems at the College of Charleston, contact Fire and EMS at 843.953.5499.

Sprinkler Systems        

Sprinklers are an important part of the fire protection systems in CofC residence halls and many other campus buildings. Like fire alarms, these systems are checked on a regular basis. Their purpose is to suppress a fire and keep it from spreading. Water flowing in the system triggers the fire alarm.

sprinkler headOne of the popular activities in Residence Halls are "hall sports" (throwing balls, Frisbees, etc. in hallways). These activities damage fire sprinkler heads and fire alarm equipment. Designed to be sensitive to rising temperatures, sprinkler heads are easily damaged when they are bumped. Likewise, hanging objects (coat hangars or decorations) from sprinkler heads and pipes can cause the sprinkler head to break and flow water.

Water from a sprinkler activation can leave oily stains on carpet and other furnishings and destroy most of your electronic equipment. Repair costs due to tampering or negligence are charged to the department responsible for the building that sustained the damage. In turn, Residence Life or Physical Plant will attempt to bill the person responsible for the damage in order to keep down costs.

Please report any leaking sprinkler equipment to Fire and EMS at 843.953.5611.