Editorial: Fire drill confusion

The Schreiber Times

The minute a fire bell goes off, students can be seen rushing from the building, eager to practice safety procedures and to get a small break from class.   However, this was not the case when the bells went off on Dec. 9 during period 4.2.

In the middle of the period, the fire alarm went off prompting the usual evacuation procedure.  Teachers and staff members, who are typically warned of fire drills in advance, were forced to assume that this was not a drill and that an emergency was actually occurring in the school.

When classes arrived at the exits, they were hesitant to venture outside into the pouring rain.  Some classes, including the gym classes, did exit the building.  Others waited closely by the doors for further instruction. Many went back and forth between their classrooms and the school exits.  A majority of students in the cafeteria went outdoors, but some were not sure whether or not to this was a real emergency and decided to stay inside to avoid the rain.  Students in the library went down the usual flight of emergency stairs, but were quickly instructed to come back upstairs.

Throughout the school, different teachers made different decisions on how to proceed.  In many areas of the school, the situation became chaotic.  Students did not know what they should have been listening to: the constant ringing and flashing of the alarm, or their teachers telling them that it was okay to stay inside.

Eventually, the sound was stopped but the lights remained flashing.  Throughout the day, students returned to classes, but the alarm turned on and off irregularly. After some investigation, the cause of the alarms was determined to be a malfunction with one of the alarm boxes in the courtyard due to the intensely heavy rain that day.

Throughout the process, most were unaware as to what they should be doing.  After quite some time, an announcement was made to disregard the chime.  In some areas of the school, including the A wing, it was nearly impossible to hear this announcement and the others that followed.  The administration did not give much information nor it mollify the confusion.

The Schreiber Times urges the administration to be more active in advising teachers and students during future complications.  Making students and teachers aware of what is or may be happening in the school and what they should do can greatly ease tension and disorder in the event of an emergency.