Local News
Eyewitness Sports
Medical Coverage
Call For Action
More Details
What's On WPRI
What's On Fox
2 Minute Test Drive
Experts Online
Online Store
Chopper 12
Station Info

MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | People Search | Personals | Travel | Yellow Pages  January 7, 2005
Education | House & Home | Money | Pets | Recipes | Relationships | What's Next | More Topics...
The Eyewitness News Investigators
Are students at Brown University Locked In?
Email to a Friend Printer Friendly Version  

 Security bars. They're being used to help keep students at brown university safe. But are the same bars putting residents in danger if there's an emergency? 

 Brown has an extensive fire safety program that meets and in some cases exceeds the state fire code. But we found that first floor windows in many of its dormitories have fixed metal securty bars blocking a possible escape route in the event of a fire.

Brown University is one of the oldest and most prestigious colleges in the country. it has a student body of about 7-thousand and sits on college hill, an urban area where assaults and break-ins are not unusual.. And that's the reason many ground floor windows are covered with metal security bars.

But do those bars block an important escape route in the event of a fire? The university's director of environmental health and safety says student welfare is never comprised. "The safety of the students is the most important thing that we can do and that we must do. We try to balance the safety through security and certainly through fire safety."

 Morin says all the dorms have early warning systems, including smoke and fire detectors and alarm pull stations. He says many dorms have full springler systems.  "All dorms have some springlers. Egress is a very important part of our action plan and the fire codes and in our buildings we focus on two means of egress that don't include the windows."  Morin says roughly half the security bars covering windows in dorms can be easily opened and this is a release mechanism that can be released on the inside without any special tools or keys and when that releases these bars swing but it's the permanently fixed security bars on many dorm windows which do not have release mechanisms and cannot easily be removed.

These bars cause concern among fire officials. Providence fire marshal David Costa says Brown University meets the fire code - even with the fixed security bars.  But he says he discourages the use of the fixed bars because they present another obstacle to firefighters. So should Brown University consider installing quick release bars on all dorm window that have bars?  "It's something that may happen over time."   "The fact that Mr. Costa said he didn't like them, i'd like to follow up on that and see if that's something we should put on our list of things to do. 

The tough, new state fire code was written after the tragic station nightclub fire that took 100 lives. But the new code makes no mention of security bars, perhaps because the issue has never come up before in rhode island. It has in other parts of the country and the trend is to require, or at least recommend, quick release mechanisms when security bars are used.  

Local News
Police are looking for the thieves who stole a cab in Providence
Eyewitness News RSS Feeds
Try the very latest way to read Eyewitness News headlines. Never miss an important story!
A New Class of Cadets is Graduating
City by the Sea is Getting Money to Fight Crime
Rhode Island Governor Host Ball for Energy
Serial robber is hitting taxis in New Bedford
Councilors call for return of banished monument
Governor, First Lady, raise money for energy fund
Police recruits graduate from academy
Ethics panel considers tightening gift rules
National News  more» 
Tsunami Donations AP Poll
Police investigating after 10 students strip-searched
Astronauts who will fly on next shuttle say they're confident it will be safe
State Department's top security official to be replaced
Public T-V station in New Mexico pulls documentary funded by evangelical groups
High court agrees to review Arthur Andersen's conviction
Personal photo archive of World Trade Center coming to Web
Unidentified object falls from sky, spooks Roswell residents
Spector told police killing of actress was 'an accident'
Bush Commentator
Is Your Financial House in Order?
Take a look at your New Yearďż˝s resolution list. Is ďż˝make a budget,ďż˝ ďż˝save more money,ďż˝ or ďż˝start investingďż˝ on there? Click now for simple solutions.
Living With Diabetes
Part of living with Diabetes is managing it properly. A free Diabetes Health Organizer can help.
Send questions and comments about this website to the .
All content © Copyright 2004 WorldNow, WPRI, WNAC and Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.