Parmis Sahrapima, Web Co-Editor-in-Chief
What every student and faculty member at Beverly has become aware of is that the number of fire alarms in our school has increased. Because of this increase, many students and teachers are taking the fire alarms less seriously. Students now view the fire alarms as pranks and jokes, while teachers frown on them as an interruption to their lectures. Fire alarms have gained a jocose reputation, rather than serving as a warning of serious danger.
Since many students and teachers have stopped paying attention to the fire alarms and have postponed immediate evacuations of buildings, the risks of accidents in the future have increased. A situation in which a real fire alarm goes off that will be ignored by students and not receive immediate reaction, has become much more likely to eventuate. This can put many lives in danger if there is a serious fire spreading about the school.
Falsely pulling a fire alarm is a serious violation. If a student is caught falsely pulling a fire alarm, he or she can be put on probation or kicked out of school. Students can be fined as much as $500 and can even be sentenced to a week in jail. Police are always contacted in false alarm cases, and even though students and teachers grow apathetic towards the seriousness of the alarms, judges still remain very serious toward the issue.
When a fire alarm is pulled, firefighters experience the rushing sensation and urge to arrive as quickly as possible to the scene. These pranks take up the valuable time of the firefighters and use up the resources of the fire department. The idea that a serious emergency could have been occurring in another area while the fire department was responding to these false fire alarms can unintentionally put other lives in danger.
Ways to prevent false alarms from occurring are to install a type of deterrent that will discourage students from pulling the alarm when there is no real emergency. This can include a deterrent where ink is sprayed out from the fire alarm when it is pulled. This can allow administrators to more easily identify the culprit. Video surveillance cameras and fire-pull covers can also be installed to prevent students from pulling false fire alarms. Video surveillance cameras can identify the students who were in the area of the alarm when it was pulled, making it possible to find the culprit through a series of individual questioning. Fire-pull covers, which make a loud noise when lifted, draw great attention to the person activating the alarm.
Another effective way of preventing false alarms is by applying peer pressure that looks down on such behavior. Rewards can be provided for students who discipline themselves on the matter and students who can accurately identify culprits of false fire alarms. Peer pressure can help pranksters realize that their peers, as well as administrators, do not tolerate such behavior. Such measures guarantee the safety of the students and faculty, while also effectively distinguishing between a false and real fire alarm.