City-Wide Power Outage Triggers ACC Fire Alarms

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Image via Serena Montoya

Feb. 9, 2018, Fire truck parked outside ACC during a power outage.

Serena Montoya, Editor

Feb. 9, 2018, fire alarms blasted the halls of Arapahoe Community College. Although there was no fire, there was a city-wide power outage over Littleton. The power outage left one person trapped in an elevator in ACC’s main building.

Image via Rachel Lorenz
Students walking out of the Main Building at ACC during a fire alarm.

According to Jose Erik Linsey of the Littleton Fire Department, ACC was not the only building in the area in need of an elevator rescue as a result of Thursday’s power outage. Sgt. Moreland, the patrol sergeant for the campus, had no information on the student who was trapped in the elevator. The fire department came to the school because the fire alarms went off, but once it was known to be a power outage, their next concern was the trapped student. According to Moreland, the police are prohibited by state regulation from rescuing anyone trapped in an elevator because of the high risk involved. However, since the fire department was already at the school due to the fire alarms, they have the authority and were able to conduct their rescue. 

ACC’s main building is four stories. Sam Sammarco, a first-semester student, left his philosophy class on the top floor when the alarm went off. He described the situation: “The lights went out and then the floodlights came on. And then probably like a minute or two went by, and then the fire alarm started flashing. At first, it just seemed like the power was killed.” 

As Sammarco explained, the power was out for a brief moment before the fire alarms were activated. Should they have gone off for a power outage? The voice of the alarm declared there was a fire, even though there was no fire. Why would the alarms claim there was a fire? According to Moreland, it was a “general alert” and the “interruption to the power caused the alarm to go off.” The alarms default was to claim there was a fire even though it was non-existent. 

Image via Serena Montoya
Students outside the Main Building of ACC awaiting the order so they can re-enter the building.

Most people are taught as children how to react during a fire alarm. Safety is the goal after a fire alarm goes off.  If one is unaware of the procedures, here are a few tips

  • Never assume a fire alarm is false.
  • Calmly evacuate using the safest route.
  • Leave all personal items.
  • Never use an elevator, use stairwells.
  • Once outside, move as far away from the building as necessary.
  • Do not go inside unless directed to by fire department officials.

To be prepared when emergency strikes, become familiar with the building floor plans of Littleton’s campus in the slideshow below.