Faulty fire alarms plague Northwest


A state-wide, mandatory tornado drill occurred at Northwest during second period Sept. 25.  However, that same school day saw two fire drills during zero period and third period that were completely unplanned– and completely harmless.

Yet another unplanned fire drill took place today, before zero period began. Similar to the others, this drill was also harmless. Due to malfunctioning parts of the fire alarm system in the cafeteria, the fire alarm has now gone off three times at Northwest, all unplanned and posing no threat to the safety of the students at Northwest.

“The fire drill (during third period) was a disruption, but my students were able to settle down and get back to work,” English teacher Scott Walker said. “Although I could see how it would be disruptive to lesson plans.”

While the frequent fire drills aren’t as disruptive as presumed, it still raises concern from students, who think the cafeteria is burning something, when in reality, it is a malfunction of the cafeteria alarm.

“(The fire alarm) was just a malfunction in the cafeteria,” assistant principal Donnie Watkins said. “It was supposed to be fixed. We’re waiting for the replacement part to arrive, the part that keeps causing it to go off was supposed to be bypassed.”

A false fire drill took place during fourth period at first lunch on Wed. Sept. 12. Faculty, staff and students knew this wasn’t a drill, since drills don’t occur during lunches. Northwest has had three fire alarms in the month of September alone.

“(The fire alarm) was never supposed to go off this morning in the first place,” Watkins said. “We’re trying to get it fixed as fast as possible.”

With each of the fire alarm malfunctions, several minutes passed before a fire truck arrived. This has prompted another misconception among students and staff that the fire station across the street from the high school is unable to respond to us in the event of an emergency because it is in another district. However, this just isn’t the case. 

“Last week when the fire alarms went off for no reason, the only thing stopping the station across the street from responding is the fact that all of their trucks were already dispatched,” Watkins said.

The fire station declined to comment.

We aren’t sure when the alarm will be fixed, but things sure are heating up.