By: Tyler Holbert
Fire alarms are an issue at Heritage whether it’s been pulled, or defaulted. Heritage is required to have a fire drill once a month for safety reasons; however, the school has had eighteen alarms in the last twelve months. All of those alarms notified 911 and the local fire station, Engine four.
On average there are three to five fire alarms pulled a year by students. Up to this point, three fire alarms have been pulled, but there has never been more than five pulled by a student during any one school year. There are two disciplines that can be handed out by pulling the fire alarm; school discipline, as well as criminal charges sense pulling a fire alarm whenever there isn’t a fire is a criminal offence.
“The alarm can be annoying when it is not planned or when it is a prank in particular,” said Sosky. “Students and staff need to evacuate immediately every time unless they are notified it is a false alarm. Never assume it’s nothing. Remind others not to pull the alarm or do anything that might set an alarm off. The alarms are there for everyone’s safety. It may seem like fun at the moment however in an actual disaster or serious event we are all grateful for those professionals who rush here and put their lives at risk for us,” she said.
When the fire department comes out and there is not a fire tax dollars are being wasted. The school tries to call the fire department as soon as they can to let them know the state of the situation.
The district is doing its best to prevent the fire alarms but you don’t know when there can be electrical problems due to a lot of dust. “The fire marshal may assess a civil penalty of $200 plus the costs incurred by the responding fire district against the owner or lessee of a property for each subsequent accidental fire alarm activation,” said Virginia Chapman, Deputy Fire Marshal.
“If the student has had no other similar incidents with the school or the fire department, most likely they would be required to complete a fire safety education program with their parents to return to school. If they have had previous incidents, they will be cited and referred to Juvenile courts for possible charges,” said Chapman.