Recent SHS Fire Drills: A Cause for Alarm?
September 25, 2019
You are in English class, just sitting down and getting your notes out. Your class didn’t meet yesterday and your teacher has just mentioned that the other class is ahead of yours so you must get caught up today. An alarm sounds, all students rise simultaneously, and, in an orderly fashion, head to the nearest exit.
While some students are smiling, happy to miss more class time, others are groaning; this is the second time the fire alarm has gone off that day, and the third time this week. Why is this happening?
While the school is rushing to comply with the mandated fire drills it must complete before the weather gets too cold, some of the recent alarms that have sounded have not been planned.
They have been rumored to have been set off for a number of reasons, including a microwave malfunction in the cafeteria, as well as a student pulling an alarm themselves during lunch one day. Another supposed cause for these unplanned drills has also been cases of vaping in SHS bathrooms, which is said to have set off the sensitive detectors purposefully placed inside.
However, while these fire alarms have been going off at random more than usual in the past two weeks, two alarms that sounded on 9/11 caused particular worry among many in the SHS building.
“At first, when the alarm sounded, I forgot that it was 9/11. It wasn’t until my history teacher reminded us that I remembered what day it was and felt a little more panicky,” said Clara Weller ’21, who explained how the significance of the date played into the small bit of fear she felt when the first alarm sounded.
While the first was in fact a drill planned by the school, the second was not. It was set off for unclear reasons, and since it was the second fire drill of the day, it caused even more angst among the SHS students and faculty present.
“While the fire alarms that day did cause me to worry a little more than usual, we have had so many drills in the first few weeks of school alone that it didn’t feel too far out of the ordinary,” commented Weller. 9/11 wasn’t the first day of the school year in which two fire alarms were sounded.
These frequent fire drills are quickly becoming the new norm for SHS students. In fact, to many, fire drills have become such a regular occurrence that they don’t seem to be causing the fear or stress that a real fire might. “It’s almost robotic,” explained Weller, speaking of her instincts when the alarm sounds.