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Vol. LIX, No. 15
July 27, 2007

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Feedback Column Debuts in This Issue

Welcome to the first edition of our new Feedback column, an opportunity for NIH'ers to post anonymous queries at (click on the Feedback icon) and get answers to their questions. This new feature is added in response to reader requests during last fall's NIH Record readership survey.

Feedback: Quite a few people in Bldg. 31 have been wondering what's going on with our fire alarm system. It seems that we've been having an excessive number of "fire drills" lately. It hasn't been clear whether these are really drills or if there's some malfunction of the new fire alarm system.

Response: NIH Fire Marshal J.P. McCabe explains: "With all of the ongoing construction activities in the Bldg. 31 complex-including installation of a new state-of-the-art fire alarm system-the existing antiquated fire alarm system has been problematic lately and has been prone to activation primarily by construction dust and in some instances vibration from construction work. The Division of the Fire Marshal has discussed the multitude of system activations with the Office of Research Facilities and ORF has advised us that they are doing everything possible to help reduce such system activations in the future."

McCabe said his division has accelerated installation of the new alarm system and hopes to have it in place later this year.

"In the meantime, we encourage all occupants in the Bldg. 31 complex to respond accordingly to any fire alarm system activation and to also call 911 to report the system activation whether the system audible devices sound continually or stop sounding," he said. "The NIH Emergency Communications Center located in 31B will typically be able to advise the caller if they are aware of an evacuation drill in progress or if contractors may have activated the system unintentionally due to their construction activities."

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