Two fire alarms in one day?

2 minute read

June 3, 2009, 7:04 PM

Well, it certainly was an exciting day at work today. We had not one, but two fire alarms today. The first was just before 1:00. I was walking down the hall in our suite, and then the fire alarm started sounding. Thus we got to hear those new fire alarms that we had put in a few months ago come to life. Needless to say, we heard these Wheelock NS horns loud and clear, which is more than could be said for the old Wheelock 34 horns that they replaced.

So I immediately got into my floor-monitor mode, getting my safety vest and hard hat out of my man-sized safe and doing a sweep of the floor, along with the other floor monitor. Then we did the same for the other suite on our floor before heading down to the street.

Down on the street, the fire trucks arrived, and checked things out. Amusing: The man in the rear steering position of one of the fire trucks was in there smoking a cigar! Kind of odd for the firefighter to be smoking on their way to a potential fire, where there’s the potential for lots of smoke.

I believe from start to finish, we were in and out in 20 minutes. Just about everyone who didn’t think it was a planned fire drill chalked it up to burned food, since after all, it was right about lunchtime for most people. Thus an accidental alarm.

So then fast forward an hour or so. I was asking some people in an area of the suite where we had previously had problems hearing the alarm about how well they could hear the new alarms. I was asking whether it was loud, really loud, or world-coming-to-an-end loud. As I’m asking this, the fire alarm goes off again. Well, that answered my question. Speak of the devil and he will come, I suppose.

And the second verse was the same as the first, as I once again had to chase these people out of the office and down the stairs. Fire trucks showed up again, too. They couldn’t have been happy about having to show up to the same building twice within an hour’s time. This is also when I learned that it wasn’t an accidental alarm for either one. It was a malfunction, as a part of the system had gone bad and needed to be replaced.

With that in mind, I figured that the system could very well go off again, sending everyone outside for a third time in one day. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Trust me, twice is more than enough as it is. Now while clearing everyone out on my floor in the event of an emergency is part of my job, there are other parts of my job that also need to get done, and I’d rather be doing them than constantly having to evacuate. Plus the fire department would really be pissed if they had to show up once an hour on the hour for a malfunctioning alarm system. But I did keep my vest and hard hat out and handy, just in case I had to don it a third time.

And of course, my speak-of-the-devil story was amusing for all who heard it. I mean, after all, you’re talking about how well you could hear the fire alarm, and then all of a sudden, you get a second live demonstration.

Web site: Bonnie Grimes Elementary School in Rogers, Arkansas. Interestingly enough, they now list every fire drill they're planning to have on the official school calendar online. What I would have done to know exactly when all the fire drills were going to be held back then, since I don't like surprise fire drills...

Song: Meanwhile, it still annoys me when people refer to nuisance alarms as "fire drills", because they're very much not planned drills. Seeing fire trucks showing up is a good indication that this isn't planned. After all, the fire department does not usually show up for drills, because they're told in advance that a fire drill will be conducted and to disregard the fire alarm. And then system testing is done outside of normal business hours. Thus unless otherwise told, any unannounced fire alarm is potentially the real thing, and therefore NOT a drill. Thus why I can't stand it when people refer to these things as such.

Quote: From The Simpsons:
"This orange drink is the only way to recoup our terrible losses from 'Fire Drill Follies'. I just don't know what went wrong."
"You opened the show with a fire drill, and everyone cleared out!"
"Mm. So Mother was right. It was my fault. Go ahead. Water it down some more."
"My God, man. I've watered her down as far as she'll go. I cannot water no more!"

Categories: Fire alarms, Work