Fire Safety

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We’ve had a very BUSY summer with various upgrades and renovations. Improvements were initiated in McKinlock with one mission in mind, YOUR SAFETY


The Sprinklers

Each and every room, closet and hallway has been appointed with new sprinkler heads. When the temperature reaches 155 degrees, the sprinkler head breaks causing water to Flow at about 30-40 gallons per minute. The average response time for the Cambridge Fire Department is 8-10 minutes which translates to between 300 to 400 gallons of water at any location.

If a resident, through horseplay or negligence or even accidentally sets off a sprinkler head, the college takes the position that the individual causing the water damage will be held financially responsible for any damage to the building and the personal property of others.

Residents should be especially mindful of the above when engaging in any activities that might result in activating this system. It isn’t just about water, its about a LOT of water in a very short period. This system was designed and put in place to keep you safe. Like any other source of power, it must be treated with respect.

Under no circumstances may anything be attached, hung from or propped against a sprinkler head; water damage is a serious problem not only to personal property but it most certainly result in students being displaced from their rooms.

All residents should check their respective insurance policies to insure that adequate insurance coverage is in place should any personal property be damaged as a result of these devices be activated. In most cases, damage to personal property is not covered by the College. Located off the main lobby, the JCR is for informal gatherings of students. It includes comfortable furniture, a widescreen TV and a grand piano. This is Leverett's living room and cannot generally be reserved in the afternoons and evenings. It is occasionally possible to reserve the JCR for morning events that cannot take place in other house spaces. To inquire about a possible event, contact the House Life Tutor, . Although private events are discouraged, we are very interested in ideas for House-wide events to expand the usage of the JCR. If you have an idea, please let us know (See JCR Activity Proposal Instructions.

Pull Stations

The new pull stations installed throughout the House have been equipped with protective covers to avoid accidental operation of the system. These covers (when lifted) will also emit a clearly audible alarm that will be heard by occupants. This primary alarm is local and will not initiate a response from the Fire Department.

Please take special note that activating pull stations as a prank is not only irresponsible, it is AGAINST THE LAW. In addition to the penalties provided in the Harvard Handbook for Students, perpetrators of this type of crime may face action from agencies outside the College.

New Fire Alarms

The new fire alarm system has both smoke detectors and strobe alarms in every room of Dunster House. The new system is more sensitive and provides greater range of coverage throughout the House. Smoking, candles, incense or the burning of food or popcorn will set off the local alarms. Any smoke in the hallways or entries sound the alarm at the Fire Department.

New Fire Extinguishers

These have been upgraded too! In the same locations as before, this ABC type of fire extinguisher is designed to address fires from wood and paper, as well as fire from liquid and electrical sources as well. Though smaller than those we’ve had in the past they will discharge for a longer period.

Residents should also note that when these extinguishers are discharged for any reason, they will most often foul the smoke detectors. As such, the Cambridge Fire Department will insist that all detecting devices must be cleared before residents can return to their rooms.