School adds outside fire alarm monitoring

Security dealer and monitoring firm Secure US lands contract with W.Va.'s Monongalia Co. schools


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Dec. 20--Monongalia County Schools plan to add an alert service to some school fire alarms that will notify Secure US, a local security and monitoring company, in case of an emergency.

When an alarm sounds, Secure US can detect where the fire is located in the school, then contact the fire department and anyone else who is included on the school's contact list, Secure US President Mitch Broznik said.

Fire alarms in Monongalia County Schools that sound after hours do not alert anyone outside of the building.

Mon County Schools Superintendent Frank Devono and Broznik will meet on Monday to talk about adding an alarm-monitoring service to newer schools' fire alarms, including Clay-Battelle High, Morgantown High, Mylan Park Elementary, University High and Westwood Middle, Broznik said.

They will look at adding the alert service to older Mon County Schools "on a need-by-need basis," he said.

The new University High School on Bakers Ridge Road suffered extensive water damage when a fire alarm and sprinkler head were triggered at about 3 a.m. on Dec. 8 after the temperature inside a math classroom exceeded 100 degrees. The sprinkler sprayed for two hours before cooks arriving at work that day alerted the principal.

The math classroom, school office and counselor's suite, which received the most water damage, are still off limits to UHS faculty and staff; nearby faculty planning offices are being used as the temporary school office and counselor's suite, Devono said.

With an alarm monitoring service installed, Broznik said, "if the sprinkler would have gone off, we would have known about it and got someone out there to fix the problem sooner and saved school officials a lot of headaches."

Mon County Schools do not have an estimate of the damages and "are still in the process of working with an [insurance] adjuster to figure out what they will or won't cover," Devono said.

An apparent malfunction in the HVAC unit caused the high temperatures, and technicians for Engineered Air, which manufactured the system, are still unsure what caused the problem, Devono said.

Engineered Air referred The Dominion Post to its insurance company, OneBeacon Insurance, for details about tests being conducted on the heating system.

A representative for OneBeacon could not comment on the condition of the HVAC unit. The representative said the insurance report will only be released to Engineered Air to determine if they are responsible for any damages at University High School or to the HVAC unit.