Students are desensitized to emergency alarms SGHS


Ataallah Grady

When a fire alarm is activated, students are not showing a sense of urgency to evacuate the building.

Achazia Adams and Kamilah Osman

When the fire alarms goes off in the middle of class, students and teachers are expected to follow their emergency exit plan in order to safely evacuate the building. As of late at South Gwinnett, while transitioning out of the building, an announcement usually is made over the intercom system for students to disregard the alarm and return to their classrooms. Due to these frequent false alarms at South, students do not tend take fire alarms as seriously and often mistake them as an error unless they are told otherwise. This desensitization to fire alarms could potentially pose as a threat to overall student safety.

Fire drills are intended to ensure that students and teachers are equipped with the practice and confidence needed to respond to an emergency. As the fire alarms sounded on October 13th, 2022, hardly anyone moved out of their seats with haste. The severity of a potential fire was out of everyone’s mind, until the the alarm was followed by a message saying, “this is not a drill, everyone please evacuate the building.” The school was then taken over by an overwhelming sense of panic and confusion since an actual fire was an unlikely occurrence. As teachers and staff made their way to the Richard Snell Stadium, emergency vehicles could be seen arriving pn the campus to respond to a bathroom fire. Demarkis Patterson, a senior at South, explains his experience on this day, “I thought that the fire alarms were fake since we’ve had many other drills. But once I found out that it was real, I was scared and felt unprepared.” This has been the case for many students and teachers at South that often disregard these alarms.

The recent school fire was one of the major examples why school alarms should always be responded to with urgency. School efforts has been made to help counteract the issue of frequent false alarms. In response to students who contribute largely to these alarms being set off and disrupting the learning environment, a 90-minute class block scheduling went to effect almost immediately after and again during the week before finals in December. This administrative decisions allowed students to realize that traveling in the building is a privilege. Not only that, but lunches have been delivered to the classrooms allowing less and less movement in the halls. These simple changes to the school day keeps students in their classrooms, allows administrators to identify defiant teens, and reduces the amount of consistent false alarms usually prompted by student mischief.