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Fire alarms frenzy VHHS students

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Fire alarms frenzy VHHS students

Fire alarms have gone off several times this fall.

Fire alarms have gone off several times this fall.

Charlie Newman

Fire alarms have gone off several times this fall.

Charlie Newman

Charlie Newman

Fire alarms have gone off several times this fall.

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“Tomorrow, we’re going to read about the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre,” Mr. Clifford said. “And —” *BEEP BEEP BEEP* He’s interrupted by the deafening screech of the fire alarm, signaling students to carelessly amble out of the building.

This semester, the fire alarm at VHHS went off not once, not twice, but four separate, unplanned times, and some students have stopped taking them seriously.

“At the start of the fire alarm, [students] were all laughing and running down the stairs, but when we actually found out it was a real fire, we were all like ‘oh my,’” Ben Pierson (11) commented on the third time the alarm went off this school year.

One problem posed by the multiple blares of the fire alarm is that some students have started to forget about the dangers that fire presents.

“I like how [the fire alarms] give us more opportunities to miss class,” Rida Khan (10) said.
Prior to the fourth fire alarm, some students felt annoyed by the false fire alarms.

“[The fire alarm] went off too many times, and every single time, nothing big happened; it’s like the boy who cried wolf,” Hina Takenaka (10) said.

Takenaka added that she saw that some teachers did not even take attendance once outside following the alarm going off.

“[My teacher] didn’t [take attendance] after the second time, and the third time was during lunch, so no one even bothered,” Takenaka said.

During seventh period on Nov. 27, the fire alarm went off again, but this time, it was a little different.
According to Assistant Principal Stilling, the fire alarm was set off due to a trashcan accidentally being set on fire. This time, some problems arose surrounding evacuation protocol.

“I know one of the problems reported to me yesterday was that we still had kids standing in the driveway when the police and fire trucks were coming around; that almost created a bigger problem than the fire,” Stilling said.

Stilling added that students need to always take the fire alarm seriously and make sure they aren’t blocking the path of fire trucks once they evacuate.

The other problem posed by the incident, Stilling said, was the cold weather.

“It was very cold, freezing and not comfortable,” Emma Lynn Catalan (9) said.

According to Stilling, students most affected by the cold were those in gym, especially those in the swim unit.

“I did talk to our P.E. teachers about if anybody was in the pool, where we could stage them inside instead of having to leave the building,” Stilling said.

Dr. Guillaume also recognized that some students stop caring about the fire alarm, but agreed that it’s important to actually participate in the fire drills or false alarms.

“The reality is, no one knows whether its real or not when an alarm goes off,” Guillaume said. “So, it’s important to act as if it’s real, because the last thing we want is to be loose in how we proceed, then someone gets hurt.”

As to why they went off unexpectedly, Dr. Guillaume said that one fire alarm was due to a chemistry lab gone wrong

He clarified that other false alarms were caused by the fire alarms on top of the rafters in the auditorium which collected dust and were old, causing them to malfunction during the school day.

According to Dr. Guillaume, it’s important we prepare for these types of situations because of the danger presented by disasters.

“The hope is that we never have to use them; but, it’s important that, in the worst case scenario that they happen, we know what to do,” Guillaume said.

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