Cumberland Times-News

February 18, 2014

Animal hospitals have alarms, so should student housing

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— Let me begin by saying how sorry I am that another student has died in a fire in a rental unit.

I own and operate an animal hospital here in Allegany County.

We have been required by state law to have centrally monitored fire alarm systems in every animal hospital that houses animals overnight for the past 15 years.

This law came about as a result of a fire in an animal hospital in Hagerstown in which several animals perished.

When I installed this system in my animal hospital I also installed one in my home, which saved my family when our oil furnace malfunctioned one winter evening.

We awoke to the alarm sounding as the house was just beginning to fill with smoke. The fire department was notified the minute the alarm went off and was on the way very quickly.

If we have this type of protection for our beloved pets while they are in our care, it’s time to have the same type of protection for our beloved students while they are in rental/student housing, regardless of how much it costs to save a student’s life.

Most parents, like myself who had children in similar housing, would be happy to pay a little more rent to have added peace of mind that their son or daughter is safe.

John Gustafson D.V.M.