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Students happen a firetruck together they make their way to the football field after the fire alarm sounded. According to national Fire protection Association, the U.S. Fire departments comment to 2,238,000 false alarms in 2012, which corresponds to one false alarm for every twelve calls the fire room receives. Photograph by Ana Caklovic.

You are watching: Pulling the fire alarm at school

Are you dreading the test following period? space you just worn down of school? are you thinking of pulling the fire alarm to escape your necessary duties?

Although it may seem like simple escape route, it turns out the the dangers are high. Pulling the fire alarm in the lack of a fire no only has the potential to put students and faculty in danger, yet it likewise puts the perpetrator in the position of potentially being charged with a misdemeanor.

Last Tuesday, when the fire alarm sounded at lunch, students make their method to Palo Alto High School’s football ar as they have actually been conditioned to do for years. Anxious faces looked approximately for indications of fire or whiffs that smoke, however the security whistle shortly sounded and students were sent back to class.

It was yet one more student-mediated false alarm, follow to Palo Alto High institution Assistant major Jerry Berkson.

While faking one emergency might seem harmless, here are several factors that must make friend think twice before setting off that gently resting fire alert on the wall, lightly whispering her name to it is in pulled.

1. It is a misdemeanor

“It is a citable violation by the police, but it’s to discuss if it’s a suspendible offense,” Berkson said.

According come California Penal Code ar 148.4, any individual that willfully tampers v a fire alarm apparatus or transmits any false sense of a fire is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail because that a year or less, and or by a fine less than $1,000.

Additionally, if a misdemeanor offense doesn’t deter you, perhaps getting captured will. The sheer number of people and also cameras roughly campus make it easy for administrators to find the perpetrator(s), so there is a high risk for pulling it, follow to Berkson.

If any kind of eye-witness or camera around school reports or captures an individual or group of people pulling a fire alarm, the perpetrator(s) will challenge the consequences, according to Berkson.

2. It’s dangerous and also takes far from yes, really emergencies

False fire alarms space dangerous to both students within of school and also individuals within the community.

When there are practically 2,000 student on the field, v some under the impression the there’s a real emergency, havoc can break loose and people can gain injured in your stampede come safety. As outlined in the California Penal Code ar 644:3-b, false alarms have actually the potential to cause injury and even death. Under those circumstances, the perpetrators deserve to be charged v felonies.

On peak of this, when a fire alarm is pulled, firetrucks are immediately notified and they start to head to Paly. If who is hurt at college on their way to the football field, it may be vital for an ambulance and potentially the police to concerned the scene together well. However, if an also greater emergency is occurring elsewhere, it will take a substantial amount that time for the emergency personnel to come to the far location.

“You space taking away resources if there was a fire ,” Berkson said.

False alarms additionally desensitize students and can posture a risk in the occasion of a actual fire.

“I feeling like civilization don’t take it the alarms seriously,” freshman Vivian Yang said. “We walk really slowly and also its unrealistic.”

3. The wastes time

An alarm delays both students and also faculty from completing their present tasks. The time it takes to ensure the each college student is present, and also have every members walk indigenous the soccer field and also back to course takes a significant amount the time, according to Berkson.

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“It’s a disruption the class,” Berkson said. “Individually, there are a lot of of work that have to be done and they include up. It is a totality operation.”

Fire alarms also directly affect the classroom.


“Some course periods space really strictly designed where every minute really counts and there is a many that requirements to gain accomplished, therefore that often tends to be more upsetting,” english teacher Melissa Laptalo said. “One class could have a fire alarm and also another course doesn’t, and also it gets your classes off rhythm indigenous one another.”