Teachers ignore fire alarms

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Litof
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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby Litof » Thu May 06, 2010 9:48 pm UTC

In all the dozens of fire drills I've been in, never once has a teacher ignored the alarm. Even during major tests we've evacuated the building.

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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby Woopate » Sat May 08, 2010 8:34 am UTC

I staffed a cadet camp that had approximately 250 cadets squished into trailers, and utilized heat sensors. The cadets also were required to operate irons to press their pants in order to meet uniform standards, and showers in each room capable of producing scalding hot water(very much steam). The Wing's fire department was called EVERY. SINGLE. DAY for six weeks. I was the person responsible for making the call to the fire department and keeping track of evacuated cadets. While fire alarms quickly lost their emotional impact for the staff, we did not ever slouch or slow down in our response to those alarms. Only.... twice, was there a real cause for alarm.

As for schools, I have never been to a school that failed to take fire alarms seriously. The closest to "not taking it seriously" a school that I attended ever got was letting class out directly from the muster point because there was only 10 minutes remaining in the school day.

I have noticed that in general, public utilizing a mall facility are the WORST for responding to alarms. Maybe this is because there are several different alarm types, and it can be difficult to discern the individual purpose of the alarm, or what mall policy is regarding that alarm. In the mall I monitor, I must detect the alarm and trace it to a cause before I use the overhead announcement system to order an evacuation.

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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby eSOANEM » Sat May 08, 2010 12:44 pm UTC

I've never had a teacher ignore a fire alarm except for 1 day about a year ago.

The alarm went of five times that day, the first two times we all dutifully evacuated and then as soon as we got outside it would stop. The third time we waited a bit, it didn't stop, all got up to leave and then it stopped. The fourth time we waited longer and it stopped before we left, the same happened the fifth time.

I'm pretty sure that was it malfunctioning though. :wink:

Other than that, we've done exactly the same drill every time including one time when the Chemistry department set fire to the room they were in (well, I say that, really it was just that they spilt some burning ethanol which burnt out pretty quickly. :roll:



The worst place I'v ever been for fire drills though was a sailing centre on the isle of wight, I've now been there for a total of 7 weeks, two at easter, 4 in July and 1 in august, not once have we had a fire drill and, even if we had, the assembly point is the slipway which, on spring tides can sometimes be underwater. :roll:
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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby Mot » Sat May 08, 2010 1:27 pm UTC

When I was in uni res, it was a common occurrence that (drunk) students would activate the fire alarm at 3:00 in the morning. Apparently this was hilarious. Usually when this wakes you up you would get up to establish the cause and then, upon uttering a few curses, you would go back to bed. Standard procedure. Until one night in 2007, when this happened:
Spoiler:
Image

Yup, that's our beloved res burning down. I remember it as if it was yesterday.

I woke up at 6:45-ish with people running and shouting in the passage outside my door. I thought it was just the idiots who activated the alarm. I nearly went back to sleep, but then I heard people shouting outside. When I looked outside I saw a big commotion and people running in blankets. "That's odd", I thought. Then I stuck my head out the window and looked up. The sight of the flames coming from the roof was so unreal that it took me a while to register what I was seeing. When I opened the door the passage was full of smoke and an overwhelming smell of fire. Needless to say I quickly made my way out of the building. Outside a large group of students had gathered and was looking on in disbelief.

Luckily no lives were lost, but some people got hurt as four residents had to jump out of their windows to escape the fire. One fell on a car and broke his back. It is now almost three years later and he is still in a wheelchair. This could have been avoided if the alarm wasn't tripped so often in the past by some "jokers". No-one is laughing now.
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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Sat May 08, 2010 1:43 pm UTC

We've had quite a few, but never any drills; all real, I've only been there for a fraction of those mind; 3 lab fires on the 10th floor and a release of toxic gas on the 7th floor.

(the three fires were all in the same month, from the same research group, using the same reagent that spontaniously ignites on contact with air, I think they were finally provided with a better containment method after that)
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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby AJR » Sun May 09, 2010 11:20 pm UTC

I've never experienced a fire alarm being ignored, although when the alarm went off during one of my GCSE exams we were told that it was a false alarm and that we shouldn't leave.

At work we had a drill a few weeks ago - we weren't told that it was a drill, but the hazard tape across one of the exits with a hand written sign saying "this exit is blocked, use a different one" when it was obviously not blocked was a slight give-away ;-)
And at my previous job, we had a memorable occasion when a faulty sensor triggered the argonite system in the server room, causing the building to be evacuated for the rest of the day (and a new door had to be bought for the server room because the lock got broken, but that's another story...)

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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby sje46 » Mon May 10, 2010 1:40 am UTC

Mot wrote:When I was in uni res, it was a common occurrence that (drunk) students would activate the fire alarm at 3:00 in the morning. Apparently this was hilarious. Usually when this wakes you up you would get up to establish the cause and then, upon uttering a few curses, you would go back to bed. Standard procedure. Until one night in 2007, when this happened:
Spoiler:
Image

Yup, that's our beloved res burning down. I remember it as if it was yesterday.

I woke up at 6:45-ish with people running and shouting in the passage outside my door. I thought it was just the idiots who activated the alarm. I nearly went back to sleep, but then I heard people shouting outside. When I looked outside I saw a big commotion and people running in blankets. "That's odd", I thought. Then I stuck my head out the window and looked up. The sight of the flames coming from the roof was so unreal that it took me a while to register what I was seeing. When I opened the door the passage was full of smoke and an overwhelming smell of fire. Needless to say I quickly made my way out of the building. Outside a large group of students had gathered and was looking on in disbelief.

Luckily no lives were lost, but some people got hurt as four residents had to jump out of their windows to escape the fire. One fell on a car and broke his back. It is now almost three years later and he is still in a wheelchair. This could have been avoided if the alarm wasn't tripped so often in the past by some "jokers". No-one is laughing now.

Wow. I'm glad no one died. Fire drills are very serious business, and the OP's teachers just piss me off.

It's a shame that everyone lost all their possessions, and I feel horrible for the guy who broke his back. That must have been a horrifying event.
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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby amorya » Mon May 10, 2010 11:36 am UTC

Some uni halls I lived in a few years back were divided into 6-person flats, each with their own front door to the outside. (The upper floor had external stairs). The layout was thus: you go into the front door, to your left is the bathroom and the right is the toilet. Straight on takes you into the kitchen. Through that there is another door leading to the corridor with the bedrooms. No other exits are available save the front door. The windows in the bedrooms on the ground floor had been locked shut for security reasons.

Once a fire alarm went off, at about midnight. As mentioned in the posts above, these were almost always drills or false alarms. I was in bed at the time, and tried to decide if I could be bothered to move. After a few minutes I gave in to the inevitable and dragged some trousers on. I open my bedroom door and see smoke coming from the door to the kitchen. I had to take a deep breath and run through the kitchen to be able to leave the flat: no other exits, remember?

Turns out it wasn't actually a major fire, but someone's rice cooker had essentially melted. The smoke was the fumes of burning plastic. So while there were no flames in my path, I dread to think what would have happened if I'd breathed in that plastic smoke!

(For those asking why I didn't break the window, it wouldn't have been a quick prospect. The room was tiny, and the window was obscured by the desk and by the wardrobe. The latter wouldn't move, and to move the desk out of the way requires moving the bed. Climbing on the desk to smash it wouldn't have been easy because of the angle, and a large shelving unit which would have been in the way of your head.)

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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby keeneal » Wed May 12, 2010 3:09 am UTC

How is that not a fire code violation?
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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby EdgarJPublius » Wed May 12, 2010 7:21 am UTC

yea, in my Apt. complex, we have very strict rules about having stuff in front of the windows, due to fire code regulations.
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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby Adacore » Wed May 12, 2010 10:44 am UTC

There's a hostel for young homeless people just across the street from my house which has bars on the ground floor windows to prevent them opening wide enough to get in/out of. I assume they're intended to (a) stop the residents breaking curfew and (b) stop them inviting other non-residents into their rooms. I don't know how their fire escapes are set up, though.

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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby SecondTalon » Fri May 14, 2010 3:23 pm UTC

keeneal wrote:How is that not a fire code violation?

Not everywhere has the same fire codes.

Not saying the situation isn't a violation of the fire code in that area, just making an observation.
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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby keeneal » Mon May 17, 2010 9:45 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
keeneal wrote:How is that not a fire code violation?

Not everywhere has the same fire codes.
True... but it seems like eliminating an exit in such a way that the fire *has* to be between the bedrooms and the only remaining exit (unless it's in the last bedroom, of course) can't be permissible.
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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby Manial » Mon May 17, 2010 4:14 pm UTC

Litof wrote:In all the dozens of fire drills I've been in, never once has a teacher ignored the alarm. Even during major tests we've evacuated the building.
Same here. Even for burnt toast in the teachers' kitchen. Twice.

Adacore wrote:There's a hostel for young homeless people just across the street from my house which has bars on the ground floor windows to prevent them opening wide enough to get in/out of. I assume they're intended to (a) stop the residents breaking curfew and (b) stop them inviting other non-residents into their rooms. I don't know how their fire escapes are set up, though.
They probably have it set up so that opening the fire escape trips the fire alarm.

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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby Ephemeron » Mon May 17, 2010 5:30 pm UTC

I've never had to ignore a fire alarm at schools before... EXCEPT the time it happened during an A-level maths exam. Ironically that time was the only time it ever turned out to be a real fire (arson attack in the girl's toilets). The bell kept ringing and we could hear fire engines outside, but we stayed in the hall, since the nearest exits were only about 20 metres away.

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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby Cecily » Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:12 pm UTC

I don't recall teachers ignoring fire alarms, but three of us slept through one - and no one noticed we were missing at roll call!
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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby Odd_nonposter » Sat Jun 12, 2010 1:50 am UTC

Never in my life has a fire alarm been ignored.

Funny story: The very first day that the new high school building opened, the fire alarms went off. When somebody pulls an alarm or when the smoke detectors go off, fire and ambulance crews automatically are called. So we're all standing around, waiting for the go ahead to go back inside. Fire and ambulance show up. Even the office workers have no clue what is going on. It was discovered that the dishwashers in the cafeteria set the smoke detector off. Somebody installed the wrong kind of detector.

Also, nobody pulls the fire alarm for shits and giggles, nor does anybody desert during the drill. There are cameras are pointed at every square inch of the building and all of the campus exits. Not only that, the alarms have a self-detonating ink packet in them. :shock:
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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby EdgarJPublius » Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:10 am UTC

I've seen one person stupid enough to pull an alarm handle with an ink packet.

It was pretty hilarious.
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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby the.coding.eye » Sat Jun 12, 2010 5:19 pm UTC

Nobody in my old HS ever ignored the fire alarm. The alarms were simply too loud to ignore. Each room had at least one of the electronic chirping alarms and a strobe light. Because all of the walls in the building were modular, some of the rooms got two alarms. Even in the heart of winter we would evacuate the building. Luckily it was never during a really cold day.

Up here in Montana between January and March, anything over 30F is t-shirt & shorts weather. /only a little sarcasm

Last week, however, the fire alarms went off in our church building. The janitor vacuumed up a pile of dust. Some of which got blown into the smoke detector. The only guy who could turn off the alarm was clear across town, about 20 min away.

[edit]
Forgot to mention all of the bomb threats in our town. Last year a couple of the high schools went for a couple of weeks where it seemed one of them would get a bomb threat almost every day. Most of these threats were left in the bathroom. One was even written on a feminine hygiene box. The majority were taken seriously; however, towards the end of the threats, the building was only put on lock down while students were sent to the gym. After the district stated that the school year would be extended due to lost school days, peer-pressure put a quick stop to the threats.
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Re: Teachers ignore fire alarms

Postby Forum Viking » Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:47 am UTC

Re: Schools
The schools in my city were required to have a fire drill every month, but generally the administration decided to wait until the end of every month to do it, unless it was a nice sunny day or something. Teachers also knew a few days in advance when the drills would be, so if they hadn't heard there was a drill we'd evacuate pretty quickly.

Re: Hospitals
Hospitals generally don't evacuate in the case of a fire, because of all the patients in sensitive conditions (in the middle of surgery, etc). Staff are told to "stay and defend" by zone (fire extinguishers, etc) until the fire department comes, and the alarms in one zone don't trigger alarms in all the others but all the zones are monitored from zone panels and another central location.

Now you know.
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