School Fire Drills: Are they taken seriously?
If you have ever gone through the American school system, you must have experienced a fire drill at least once. The fire alarm goes off, the students leave the classroom in an orderly fashion, meet outside in their respective areas, and wait until the announcer allows them to go back inside. However, especially in my district, life-threatening fires we always prepare for do not happen. False alarms do, however, to the point that students are desensitized to it.
Recently, a chemistry class at my school accidently set off the smoke detectors with bunsen burners, and the alarm went off. Even though this was a false alarm and no one actually got hurt, the announcer did not come on and tell us so. My class, along with other classes in the same building, started laughing and did not move. Even my teacher simply sat there and instructed us to not leave the classroom. I myself did not move, but I felt surprised that not a single person left the classroom. No one followed the procedures that we would normally follow, and everyone just continued to sit there like the fire alarm didn't just go off. A few minutes later, the announcer came on and told us that it was a false alarm. The school did not think much about it afterwards and just continued on with the day.
Later on, I walked into my Journalism/newspaper class and participated in a pitching session, or when the class gives article ideas for the upcoming issue. One thing led to another, and the class started talking about the false fire alarm that occurred earlier in the day, with our advisor eventually chiming in. We all came to the same thought: What if that fire alarm was actually real? What if there was a real fire happening at the school? Everyone said that their class did not try to leave or even stand up, and that only two or three classes actually left their designated buildings. Our advisor then explained how when the alarm sounded, she realized that she never actually went over the locations of the supplies needed during a fire. The verdict was clear: The school is desensitized of the danger of fire alarms.
This perception of alarms can cause so many potential accidents in the future. What if an actual fire starts, and the students are too late to actually evacuate because no one believed it? What if a potential attacker comes onto our campus, and no one follows the standard procedures because no one thinks it is real?
In order for these potential incidents to happen in the future, schools must make students take them seriously. Standard protocol for a fire drill or dealing with an attacker must be reviewed by every classroom. Drills must be more rigorously followed to ensure that a student will know what to do in a real-life emergency. Especially with the accumulation of school shootings and school-related incidents happening in our nation, this situation is even more dire.
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