I finally have a Simplex 4040 in my fire alarm collection!

August 19, 2004, 2:46 AM

At long last, I have a Simplex 4040 in my fire alarm collection, thanks to a person who I’ve been corresponding with online. At last. First of all, to the person who sent it to me, a very heartfelt thank you. This means a lot to me.

For those of you who don’t know, this is what the Simplex 4040 looks like:

Simplex 4040

This photo was taken at Stuarts Draft High School, where I went to high school. They have Simplex 4040s there, and thus this particular horn has a certain sentimental value to me. It sounds like the overbid buzzer on The Price is Right. That would be that deep-sounding one that they play when you go over on the wheel, or draw a strike on “Three Strikes”, among other things. Exact same sound.

I still remember the first time I heard the Simplex 4040. It was my fourth day of high school, August 31, 1995. At the beginning of second block, Mr. Schindler, the principal, came on the intercom: “Please pardon this interruption. We were supposed to have a fire drill at the beginning of second block. Due to the level of office acvivity, we will be having that fire drill in the last few minutes of the period.” Thus for a little less than an hour and a half (our periods were 90 minutes in high school due to block scheduling), it was like agony for me. We know that the fire alarm, which is going to be loud and sudden, will be going off. We know approximately what time the alarm will be going off, but not exactly. Not like we can do 3-2-1… BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Add to that the fact that with it being my first fire drill in the high school, I had no idea what the fire alarm even sounded like. So we have an unknown sudden loud sound. I was fidgeting the entire period until suddenly…


The fire alarm went off, and the fire drill commenced. And we all went outside.

And it was indeed loud as heard from that particular room.

Speaking of fire alarms from that particular room, it’s interesting… four years later, my sister had a class in that same room, though with a different teacher (the teacher I had in that room had moved to another room). They were watching a movie, and thus had the door closed and the shades pulled. And mind you, Stuarts Draft High School has no strobes on its fire alarms. Somehow, the entire class managed to miss a fire drill entirely. I know, weird. Especially since I remember it being really loud in that particular room. Not world-coming-to-an-end loud, but loud enough. They missed it. My sister’s teacher heard some commotion in the hall, and found out that they had missed a fire drill. My sister told me that the teacher said to the class, “We just missed a fire drill.” Weird. Now mind you also, in a fire drill, no one evacuates past that room, since it’s right in between two exits. So no clue of students passing by the door. But still, you’d think…

But anyway, I now finally have a Simplex 4040. Now I just need something to set it off with…

Categories: Fire alarms, Fire drills