Environmental Health & Safety

Fire Detection and Suppression Impairment Policy


January 2012

Fire detection and suppression which includes, but is not limited to single station smoke detectors and monitored fire alarm systems, sprinkler systems, fire hydrants and water supply lines, standpipes, fire department connections and post indicating valves, fire pumps, carbon dioxide, Grill Halon and Inergen suppression systems as well as fire extinguishers are all integral pieces of the Amherst College Life Safety Program.

With the exception of single station smoke detectors located in some of our dormitory rooms, all fire and sprinkler systems on campus are continuously monitored by the Amherst College Campus Police.

Emergency Response

Fire alarms and system troubles are automatically transmitted to the Campus Police Dispatch Center. When an alarm or trouble condition is received the campus police officer on duty is immediately notified, and responds.

Alteration, Construction, Demolition and Renovations

Fire alarms and suppression systems in buildings being altered, constructed, renovated or demolished shall maintain fire detection and suppression systems as long as possible for reasons of life safety and property preservation. Under no circumstances unless approved by the Department of Environmental Health and Safety or the Director of Facilities Management and Planning shall a fire detection or suppression system be completely or partially removed from service. In the event that the detection and/or suppression system has to be removed partially or in full, it shall be replaced with a temporary fire alarm system for reasons of personnel safety and property conservation. The system must remain operational at all times.
To reduce the possibility of needless alarms during the day, when contractors occupy the building, the fire alarm system can be disconnected from the Campus Police, but the system must remain operational inside the buildings. When dust accumulation or disposal could activated the fire alarm system, it shall be covered with a very thin (less than one millimeter) bag or thin nitrile exam glove. The cover must be removed when dust is no longer present, and at night when the building is no longer occupied by contractors, unless otherwise permitted by EH&S, the Director, or the Amherst Fire Department. When contractors are no longer on site, the fire alarm system must be restored to the dispatch center and tested to verify proper operation.

Whenever Amherst College Campus Police or Physical Plant personnel discover damage or impairment of a detector or suppression system, wholly or in part, they shall immediately notify the respective shop for repair or replacement.

Fire Alarm Systems – Electric Shop
Fire Suppression Systems – Mechanical Shop

If the system(s) cannot be immediately repaired, the affected personnel or shop shall notify the office of Environmental Health and Safety or the Assistant Director of Operations.

Sprinkler and Suppression System

When a fire suppression system, including Grill Suppression, sprinkler, standpipe or other gaseous systems must be shut down, after approval, the following steps must be performed.

If not greater than one hour
  • Shall be corrected without notification of outside agencies by the Electrical/Mechanical Shop or Sprinkler Contractor
If greater than one hour, but less than 12 hours

Amherst College Campus Police shall notify Amherst Fire Dispatch at 259-3080 and provide them with the following information:

  1. Building
  2. Address
  3. Type if malfunction
  4. How long the system will be out-of-service
  5. What is being done for temporary protection
  6. Amherst College Supervisor authorizing shut-down
  • The information referenced above shall be recorded by Amherst College Dispatch on CAD (Computer Aided to Dispatch).
  • Notify the Amherst Fire Department and Insurance companies (if applicable) when system has been restored.
If greater than 12 hour duration:

Amherst College Campus Police shall notify Amherst Fire Dispatch at 259-3080 and provide them with the following information:

  1. Building
  2. Address
  3. Type of malfunction
  4. How long the system will be out-of-service
  5. What is being done for temporary protection
  6. Amherst College Supervisor authorizing shut-down
  • The information referenced above shall be recorded by Amherst College Dispatch on CAD (Computer Aided to Dispatch).
  • Notify the Amherst Fire Department and Insurance companies (if applicable) when system has been restored.

Royal and Son Alliance Insurance Company
25 New Chardon St.
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-557-4261 800-367-7036
Fax: 617-557-4288
e-mail address: Peter.Cuffe@rsausa.com

  1. Inform the representative that the fire alarm system is operational and that we have increased the number of walk through inspections by the campus police, and that the fire department has been notified.
  2. We will inform them as soon as the system(s) have been returned to service.

Fire Alarm and Detector Systems

Under no circumstances shall an occupied building be without a fire alarm or detection system, if so provided. This restriction shall apply as well to a bedroom with a single station smoke detector.

Residential Occupation

Residential occupancies including dormitories and houses shall have a working fire alarm system at all times.

  1. For room smoke detectors that are found to be out-of-service and not easily replaced, the Campus Police, Physical Plant, Electric Shop or Environmental Health and Safety shall install a battery operated detector as high up in the room as possible, preferably on the ceiling, but not less than 4” or greater than 12” down the wall from the ceiling.
    • The battery must be new and tested before placement.
    • If a battery operated detector cannot be installed, the Campus Police shall arrange for the student(s) to be relocated to a room with a working detector/fire alarm system.

If the building fire alarm system has been rendered out-of-service or found to be in trouble, the campus police shall immediately notify...

  1. Physical Plant Electric Shop, or
  2. Environmental Health and Safety

Until the Physical Plant Electric Shop or Environmental Health and Safety arrive on the scene, the responding police officer shall not leave the building for reasons of life safety, unless...

A Fire Watch has been established using

  1. Environmental Health and Safety
  2. Student Security
  3. Member of ACEMS
  4. Campus Police Office, or
  5. A student firefighter from the North Station with permission of the Amherst Fire Department, Chief or Assistant Chief 259-3080

Firewatchers that are set up in buildings where room smoke detectors are tied to the main fire alarm system, that has been rendered out-of-service, shall require that all doors leading to these rooms remain partially open during the fire watch for reasons of life safety.
Persons performing fire watches shall remain vigilant at all times. Walking throughout the building constantly. If they become tired and cannot perform their duties as required, the Campus Police shall find a replacement.

  1. The fire alarm system has been returned to service or
  2. The building is no longer occupied.
     

Buildings other than Residential

All other buildings, not utilized for sleeping, that have a fire alarm system that has been removed from service or otherwise rendered inoperable shall

  1. Notify Physical Plant Electric Shop,
  2. Environmental Health and Safety, or
  3. Assistant Director of Operations.

It shall be the responsibility of one or all of these individuals to decide how the building will be protected.

  1. Fire watch
  2. Increased number of Police Patrols, or
  3. Other equally effective measure of protection.

If the Fire Alarm System is out-of-service for:

Less than 1 hour
  • The respective shop or department shall have the system repaired by our Electric Shop or outside contractor.
Greater than 1 hour, but less than 12 hours
  • Identify...
  1. Building
  2. Address
  3. Type if malfunction
  4. How long the system will be out-of-service
  5. What is being done for temporary protection
  6. Amherst College Supervisor authorizing shut-down

- Campus Police shall notify Amherst Fire Dispatch at 259-3080

The information referenced above shall be recorded by Amherst College Dispatch on CAD (Computer Aided to Dispatch).
Notify the Amherst Fire Department and Insurance companies (if applicable) when system has been restored.

Fred C. Church Insurance
41 Wellman Street
Lowell, MA  01851
800-225-1865 
direct dial 978-322-7217

  • Inform the representative
If greater than 12 hours
  • Notify Amherst Fire Dispatch, and provide information noted above
  • The information referenced above shall be recorded by Amherst College Dispatch on CAD (Computer Aided to Dispatch).
    Notify the Amherst Fire Department and Insurance companies