Thursday, June 20Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

WedderBURN Is Burning Down

♫Wedderburn is burning down, burning down, burning down. Wedderburn is burning down, early in the morning♫

We’ve all heard it before. Wedderburn is notorious, or dare I say infamous for its fire alarms. It’s likely that’s what we’re most known for. Sadly and rather suspiciously it seems that a week cannot pass without someone setting them off. Whether it’s due to students burning their food, showering with their door open, smoking in the lifts or even, recently, spraying deodorant into a sensor.

Wedderburn Block D, where the alarms are reported to have been triggered.

At the date that this article is being written, the 9th of October 2019, the alarms were set off at 7:30AM this morning due to unknown circumstances. Rumour states that this was another drill due to “unsuccessful attempts” last week, others say the officials claimed “someone left their cooking unattended”. This is all the more frustrating as it hasn’t even been 3 full days since the alarms were last set off – Monday morning, when we’re all supposed to be resting to prepare for the week ahead.

Even more irritatingly, this is the day that they test the alarms, usually every Wednesday at 9AM (yes, that painstakingly early, especially for someone whose lectures normally don’t begin until 11 and could really use that extra hour of sleep). When the alarms were triggered an hour and a half too early at 7:30, and didn’t deactivate like normal, it’s fair to say, everyone was a little frustrated.

Just like before, we all had to grit our teeth and rally outside our blocks in the freezing cold of an October morning, only to be laughed at and mocked by the Gowar residents who were observing us from their warm, comfortable and peaceful dorms – with some even taking pictures of the crowds from their windows to add to the shame.

Many residents commented that they feel the alarms are far too “sensitive”, noting that they can be triggered just from the steam released from the showers in dorms but still admitted that they were necessary nonetheless. One resident expressed their disdain for the person who triggered the alarm earlier in the week, urging them to “be more careful” around the alarms as they are “so easy to set off” and that they should “listen to the security’s instructions”. A few more also added that the situations “could’ve been handled better” by staff and that there has been some “bad communication” overall.

Wedderburn Alarm
One of the “sensitive” alarms in block D which triggered the evacuation.

No matter the situation, I believe it’s safe to assume that I speak for all who are unfortunate enough to be living in Wedderburn. Please, for the sake of our sleep, our sanity and the fact that it’s not particulary warm outside – stop burning your food; it’s really not hard! And if these are just drills, do they really have to be so early? Some of us need to sleep to survive.