By Jasmine Kim
The fire alarm rings as students and staff wince at the blaring sound and flashing lights in the air. All students remain seated, and the teacher continues to stand at the front of the classroom, waiting to resume the lesson. Just like the day before, it only takes a minute for the alarms to sound off, followed by an announcement that the alarm has been cleared.
The fire alarms may be triggered for multiple reasons, including vaping in the restroom.
However, there has not been an actual fire in several years.
“It is important to note that we are not experiencing false alarms. When the alarm goes off, it works as it should. Unfortunately, we are having issues with students vaping in different areas of the school, setting off the alarms in most cases, and students should respond as if the alarm is for an emergency,” Administrative Director Norm Holloway said.
Classrooms and hallways are equipped with fire alarms for the protection of students and staff. Fire alarms are meant to be loud and obnoxious in order to alert people of danger. The constant ringing in a classroom setting can be very disruptive for students who are testing, listening to lectures, or studying when an alarm goes off.
“The constant fire alarms have interrupted the flow of work in my classes. It is also difficult to focus due to the loud sound,” senior Benjamin Cho said.
Although we are all relatively used to the frequent alarms, sometimes multiple in one day, that in itself poses a problem. Fire alarms are intended to alert people of the possibility of a fire in close proximity and signal an immediate evacuation.
However, no one acts promptly to find the nearest exit and evacuate to the football field.
Students and staff stay in class and barely acknowledge the possibility that the fire alarm is the result of an actual emergency. If everyone remains indifferent to the sound of the alarms, they will be late to respond to a dangerous situation on campus when it occurs.
“Everyone is accustomed to not reacting when there is an alarm. We know what to do, but we won’t actually do it when there is a real emergency,” English teacher Spencer Wolf said.
Frequent alarms have raised concern and confusion about the behaviors of students and staff in times of real crises. In the moment, people will inevitably become more petrified, resulting in panic and disorder. In addition, students are especially unaware of how to act when the alarm rings during nutrition or lunch without any direct adult supervision.
The school needs to work to retrain students and staff how to react to an alarm instead of just ignoring them. It is important for everyone on campus to be prepared to follow instructions in a timely manner. One way to do this is to hold more fire, earthquake, and lockdown drills to implement a better system that equips students and teachers for emergencies.
Students also need to realize that their actions in causing frequent alarms are making the school less prepared to act in times of danger.