Breaking News
  • Congratulations to Jadie Hwang for placing 2nd in the WSPTA Relections in Literature!
  • Congratulations to the Inglemoor Crew Women’s 4+ boat for winning 5th at the US Rowing Youth National Championships!
  • Good luck to Jackie Jones, Maggie Cowan, Paige Stewart and Lauren Vesely who are competing at the Nike Outdoor Nationals from June 14-15 at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field!
  • Congratulations to National Merit Scholarship Recipient Senior Bennett Ye!
  • Congratulations to senior Ava Espiritu who won the League of Women Voters’s video contest!
The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

Fire alarm malfunctions lead to frequent false alarms

In the past four school years, there have been 20 fire alarms at Inglemoor, with seven of them being from this school year. For students and teachers alike, fire alarms can often be extremely disruptive to class. Every time the alarm activates, the entire school has to evacuate and stay outside for several minutes, regardless of weather conditions, until the administration and fire department verify that it’s safe to reenter the building.

The majority of alarms at Inglemoor are simply false alarms, and none of the alarms this school year have been caused by students pulling them, principal Adam Desautels (he/him) said. The concert hall, constructed during the 2021-22 school year, adheres to newer fire codes that are different from the ones the other buildings at Inglemoor follow. The separate fire alarm systems don’t always communicate properly with each other, which causes the false fire alarms.

In the coming years, Inglemoor’s campus will be rebuilt, which will involve upgrading the fire system and resolving the issues causing the false alarms. Deputy Fire Marshal Russ Holmes of the Shoreline Fire Department said the type of fire alarm malfunctions at Inglemoor are rare and that the fire department could require NSD to upgrade the alarm system if there are too many false alarms. Though fire alarms may be a mere inconvenience for students, every alarm prompts a serious response from the fire department, wasting precious time and resources that could be spent on real emergencies.

“Every time a fire alarm happens here, there’s an engine driving all the way from Kenmore, all the way up the hill, sitting here. The guys are walking around finding out that it’s a false alarm, getting back in the rig and then driving all the way back down to Kenmore. Well, they’re not in Kenmore during that event, and if something were to happen in Kenmore, the next engine is Lake Forest Park or Bothell. Every call gets the nearest engine, and when that nearest engine is out on a false alarm, it adds time, and somebody’s house is potentially going to burn a little bit longer because the engines are coming from a little further away,” Holmes said, adding that even though the fire alarm system informs firefighters where the alarm was triggered, they still inspect the entire building to ensure it’s safe.

In addition to wasting resources, responding to a fire alarm is dangerous for the firefighters, who put themselves at risk to get to the scene quickly.

“We’re coming out here as if it’s a real alarm,” Holmes said. “That means my siren’s on, my lights are on and I’m driving in an emergent manner. That makes it more dangerous for me, my crew and everybody that’s driving around me, because people sometimes don’t react well when they have an engine with lights and siren. They do crazy things. And when we come up here, every single time we jump in a rig, we’re putting our lives in danger, and driving lights and sirens is inherently dangerous. So we can’t be doing that four or five times a month for no reason.” 

Desautels emphasized the importance of treating every fire alarm like a real one even though there hasn’t been a real fire here since at least 2018, his first year as principal. Since the fire department’s first priority in responding to an alarm is always to ensure that everyone has evacuated the school, it’s always important to evacuate quickly.

“We have teachers that have been here 20 years, 25 years, 30 years, that have never had a real fire,” Desautels said. “And so when you do that over and over and over again — multiple times a year — and never had it be real, it does kind of take down your level of seriousness at which you take it. So it’s our job in our trainings to restress, ‘Remember, just because the last 20 that you’ve been through have been false alarms doesn’t mean the next one will be.’”

Similarly, Holmes reiterated the need to take every fire alarm seriously. 

Don’t get complacent,” Holmes said. “This is a big school, so you might not see anything where you’re at, but there still might be a fire happening somewhere on the other side of the school, so it’s safer to just treat it as a real fire, so follow the teacher’s directions and get out of the school.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Weiju Wang (he/him)
Weiju Wang (he/him), Co-Copy Editor
Junior Weiju Wang is heading into his third year in Nordic and second year as a copy editor. He’s excited to work with everyone on staff and continue to contribute to the publication. Outside of Nordic, he participates in the school’s robotics team and a variety of hobbies, including language learning, coding, piano, and calligraphy.

Comments (0)

Please leave your name and email when commenting. Harmful or spam comments will be removed. Visit the comments policy tab for more info.
All Nordic News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *