False fire alarms fuel confusion, disrupt class functionality

Sam Brook, Staff Reporter

The alarm is pulled, the fire station is alerted immediately, a light illuminates on the panel next to the gym location, a radio message is sent to all staff with a walkie talkie on campus, teachers start to shuffle their students out of their classrooms, firefighters at the station suit up and prepare to come to Sequoia, administration run to the central location waiting for a response telling them they can shut off the alarm, no fire in the gym,  a call is made to the fire department and the alarm is turned off, annoyed teachers and students make their way back to their classes and the firefighters take off their coats and helmets. One day later a student is suspended; caught on camera laughing as they pulled the alarm.

Since February the fire alarms have been going off constantly and falsely interrupting classes throughout the school day and after school hours while extracurriculars take place on campus. The cause? Not a fire and rarely smoke alarms being set off but mainly students pulling the alarms and accidental set offs during the Sound and Signal company working on our system.

Currently this company is working to merge the older system from our main building to the newer system in the A Wing. Because of the high electricity that controls our fire alarm systems, in a couple instances this process has caused repeated false alarms, up to 10 in a row, to go off after school hours while extracurriculars are taking place on campus. Most of this work is aimed to be finished over this summer.

All “system malfunctions” aside the main cause of us having to hesitantly get up from our seats in the middle of a chemistry test to all meet on the field only to be told to go back to our classes  is due to students “joking around” and pulling the alarms themselves. Let’s say you really just don’t want to go to math class today so you all the sudden get this great idea to pull the fire alarm to get out of class right? It’ll be hilarious you’ll get to see all your friends and you won’t have to solve any pythagorean theorems. So you pull the alarm but as all the students are filing out of their classes little Tommy trips don’t the stairs in all the trauma and now Tommy has a broken leg. Not only did you get caught doing it by a teacher and probably a camera too but now you’re liable for Tommy’s broken leg. Luckily the alarm was determined as false before the fire department got to Sequoia or else you would also be responsible for the $25,000 check that the school now owes the Redwood City Fire Department.

Pulling the fire alarm lasted only fifteen minutes and effectively did not get you out of math class but instead got you suspended. If you pull the fire alarm you are almost positively going to get caught and it’s definitely not going to be super funny.

So if you’re tired of getting your class interrupted next time you see something that looks  suspicious, like someone loitering around one of the pull stations, tell someone.

“We’re more aware of the saying ‘If you see something say something,’” Administrative Vice Principal Gary Gooch said, “I really want that to be in place here and we need students to help with that.”