This archived article was written by: Priscilla A. Sharp
Just imagine: you wake up in your bed at 2 a.m. with your house completely consumed by flames. You’re consumed by panic as you run through your house trying to wake up family members as every personal item is eaten by the flames.
You get to a phone and call 911 and tell them your house is on fire, but they reply that they can’t get to you because the fire department is at the nearby college because of a fire alarm going off.
Your house is gone, burnt to the ground, and you’re left with the scars of the flames. Now it may not seem like it, but pulling a fire alarm and the ever-increasing number of fire alarms pulled at Utah State University Eastern residential halls could make this scenario a reality.
Every year more than 500,000 houses are burned down from simple things like hair straighteners sitting too close to an article of clothing; to a cord hitting a short, sparking and starting on fire or starting something around it on fire.
When you pull a fire alarm, you short cut the reaction time of the fire department and reduce the chances of someone’s house or business being saved and possibly lives.
By pulling a false fire alarm, it endangers not only the lives of citizens across town you don’t know, but it puts the lives of every person inside the building into the puller of the fire alarm’s hands. In some cases someone might fall down the stairs while they are trying to get outside and away from possible danger. Someone might trip and fall or be pushed down. Each of these are a possibility when a fire alarm is pulled.
If you are caught pulling a fire alarm, the consequences are severe. It is a federal offense, possible jail time alongside expulsion from school as well as large fines are the end result. If someone is injured while trying to evacuate the building, your fines go up, and your charges are worse. Also, if you pull the fire alarm and somewhere across town there was a fire and someone was killed or the house completely burned down, your fines and charges would be raised.
Although USU Eastern’s Residential Life are trained well, it still takes a long time to make sure every person is awake and out of their beds, and the time it takes to wake up and be forced to go into the bitter cold for anywhere between half an hour and an hour and a half, should be reserved for the times when a building is actually on fire. Pulling a fire alarm is not a joke, it is not humorous in the slightest and whoever is caught will be punished to the fullest amount possible.
The fire alarm in Aaron Jones dorm has been pulled anywhere from five to seven times this semester; this means every time it has been pulled someone has to notify an authority, who calls the fire department as well as their R.As who proceed to go through and wake up every person making sure they all make it outside safely. It is a long, drawn out process and everyone must stay outside until the fire chief says it is alright to go back inside. To avoid this, if you or anyone you know sees a fire alarm being pulled, you should tell your R.As, someone in authority or even send an email and it will be completely anonymous, but you will not have to stand in the freezing cold anymore for another “false alarm” caused by someone in the residential halls.