How do I know if a fire alarm is real or just another false alarm? Should I worry about my test more or the school being on fire? When will I finish this exam that I’m am taking right now?
These are some of the questions Palo Alto High School students are asking themselves following the three fire alarms caused by a faulty smoke detector two weeks ago along with another alarm set off by an unidentified student during 5th period on Friday, April 28.
The four alarms disrupted classes, including seniors in multiple AP classes taking or studying for finals.
Students and administrators say the false alarms contribute to cynicism about emergency warnings.
“Nobody took the third alarm fire alarm seriously because it had gone off during brunch and multiple times earlier this week,” sophomore Arian Chandra said. “When it [fire alarm] went off again during 5th period, we were all worried about not finishing our chem labs than the school being on fire, since we assumed it wasn’t real.”
According to sophomore Malachi Wilkinson, the alarms are loud and disrupt classes.
“I was taking a spanish test while the alarm went off and it was distracting,” Wilkinson said. “After being told it was a false alarm, I was annoyed.”
Sophomore Victor Baeza speaks his mind regarding the confusion.
“I thought we were practicing for fire alarm situations this week,” Baeza said. “I think that these drills are irritating because they take up a lot of time.”
Pulling a fire alarm can result in severe consequences if caught.
According to California Penal Code Section 148.4, “Any individual who willfully tampers with a fire alarm apparatus or transmits any false sense of a fire is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for a year or less, and or by a fine less than $1,000.”
Along with that, pulling the fire alarm results in the fire department directing its attention and resources to the false alarm, therefore putting others in real dangers at risk because there is no one to attend to them.