Leak causes fire alarm malfunction at SRHS

CONFUSING DAY AT SRHS. The emergency bag which hangs in Mr. Bohn’s room is one of many that were not used after the Great ShakeOut drill was canceled on Thursday, October 21. A message sent to students and parents through ParentSquare said, “we are postponing The Great California ShakeOut Earthquake Drill due to concerns about the rainy weather.” Although SRHS administration postponed the official drill, a malfunction caused the fire alarm to go off shortly before the first bell.

Article and Photo by Molly Murphey, website editor

Shortly before the start of school on Thursday, October 21, two alarms went off on the Santa Rosa High School campus. 

It was difficult to tell whether the alarm was a lockdown, fire evacuation or earthquake evacuation from the parking lot, and students still in their cars weren’t sure what to do. Parents continued to drop off students as the alarms blared. 

SRHS was scheduled to participate in the Great ShakeOut, an international earthquake drill occurring on the third Thursday of October annually, on the 21st but postponed due to rain. According to the Great ShakeOut website, 10,849,082 people in California alone participated in the exercise in 2019.

Senior Lucas Shimetz said that when he heard the alarm, he wondered, “do I go into the school parking lot and go to school?” He decided, “yes, I will,” because he said, “it didn’t seem that it would be a big deal because I knew that we were having drills.” In a word, it was “confusing,” Shimetz said.

Although the alarms weren’t immediately explained, Principal Dr. Kimberly Clissold said in an announcement at the start of first period that a leak resulting from the rain had caused the fire alarm system to malfunction. 

Clissold also said that students should be prepared for the possibility of more malfunctions throughout the day and to follow proper evacuation protocol. She reminded students to wait to renter buildings until the all-clear signal had been administered.

The incident came only three days after teachers issued their mandatory safety protocol talks to their class in anticipation of the Great Shakeout. 

At 8:15, the bell rang according to a modified schedule designed to accommodate the canceled drill, catching some classes off guard. 

For all of the confusion and rain, SRHS students made it home safely. 

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