Not again, I thought, as I sprung into action. Grabbing the walkie talkie near the door, I began sweeping my building, calling into the Health and Safety Officer to let him know I was on it. It was 5:30pm, after all, so who knows who’s actually on campus at this time.
As I swept the building, finding no one around (everyone else was smart to leave earlier!), I noticed many of our middle and senior school girls wandering around outside, none of them the least bit worried about the alarm blaring. Some were even walking into buildings, disregarding the directions of the few staff still at school.
Part of me doesn’t blame them. I mean, our fire alarms go off all the time, for the slightest little thing. Seriously…we’ve had no less than 15 since I joined the school in August. I equate it to the boy who cried wolf…too many false alarms makes people complacent. But this one is a live alarm, or so I’m told over my walkie talkie, so we need to take it seriously.
When I reach the muster point, we realize no one has swept the Wellness Center, the largest building on campus, comprised of the swimming pool and change rooms/showers, ice rink, club room, faculty gym, gymnasium, and two cafeterias. I immediately volunteered, along with the Heads of the middle and senior schools. Luckily we didn’t find any students or teachers, but a few of the cafeteria staff and security guards hadn’t evacuated, choosing to keep working instead (probably figuring it was another false alarm). After coercing them to leave and checking all the nooks and crannies, we gave the all clear and made our way back to the muster point.
It wasn’t until a few minutes later that the problem was found (some smoke- no fire luckily- in the upstairs cafeteria had set it off) and the alarm was turned off. Well, there went 30 minutes of my life I won’t get back!
As the Head of Junior School and I walked back to our pods, we decided it was time to call it a day. I’m choosing to look at the positive side…at least I upped my step count and closed my rings with all of the sweeping I did!