The school that cried “fire!”

Carlsbad High Schools fire alarms are overused

Carlsbad High School’s fire alarms are overused

Josh Lee, Staff Writer

Many things have changed since I first set foot on campus as an innocent freshman.  Some good, some bad.  But, one thing that I never thought would change is how I respond to fire alarms.  Over the past three years my responses to fire alarms have grown increasingly lackadaisical.

For better or worse, there has been only a handful of times that a fire alarm has gone off because of a legitimately a fire hazard.  And there is one incidence in particular that always comes to mind when I hear any fire alarm go off during class.

One day my sophomore year, I was mindlessly twiddling my thumbs in math class when my intense concentration was broken by the blaring of yet another fire alarm.  No one in my class thought much of it, and why should they have?  In fact, it wasn’t until a student ran by our class and alerted to us to the fact that there actually was smoke and thereby legitimate cause for concern, that we decided to leave the classroom.

Everything else proceeded mostly as it should have and the 3000 building was swiftly evacuated. The cause of the alarm turned out to be nothing more than a smoke bomb and soon all was well.  But, once I was back in class and could resume twiddling my thumbs, I started to think.

What if our door hadn’t been open and that girl hadn’t run by?  What if the smoke bomb was a legitimate fire?  Were we really ready for all that?

According to the administration, the latest bout of fire alarms comes from their installation in the new classrooms.  The company responsible for installing the alarms has been asked to test them after school and should they test during school, to at least notify the administration.

Needless to say, though, the alarms keep on going.  While there are certainly some that go off because of smoke and the occasional malfunctioning alarm, I have a hard time believing that our school has that many pyromaniacs.

So, to the powers responsible for the fire alarms, please remember that the amount of false alarms do add up and each time another alarm goes off accidentally, students do become more and more jaded in their responses to the alarms.  Sure, accidents happen but when they happen this often and could potentially put lives at risk, more steps need to be taken to ensure that these mistakes aren’t happening.  For starters, better communication between the company, the administration and the rest of the school as to when the alarms are being tested will lessen the number of times that students and staff are left to guess whether or not the alarm is the real thing.

Students, however, can also help ensure that these false alarms never bring harm to anyone. Remember that should there ever be a legitimate fire, the onset of chaos and panic will only make things worse.  Being quiet, remaining calm and listening to your teacher will increase your chances of survival than if you run around screaming and waving your hands.

Let’s just remember that no one wants to be reminded of what happened to that poor boy who cried “wolf!” one too many times.