"Fire Drill" at school yesterday

Around 10:00 yesterday all the phones that belonged to a teacher let off a small hum that was barely noticeable and our teacher told us that we were having a fire drill and that we needed to leave the building. At first, this sounded pretty normal but then our principal came over the loudspeaker and said “The fire drill has been activated” The thing was that the System Sensor speaker strobes were dead silent, and as were leaving the building I noticed that a bunch of teachers where looking at their phones and whispering to each other, by the time we are outside the principal asks if all the teachers got an alert and around half of the teachers say no. When we enter the building the principal comes back on the loudspeaker and says that we will be having another drill at 10:30 and that we should ignore it, by then its 10:30 and you can hear the hum again and once again the System Sensor speaker strobes are dead silent. I got to talk to a staff member at my school to learn that all the alert systems on campus will be replaced with a Raptor Alert system.

Is this against the law? Is there a page in a codebook that I can show my school?


This definitely seems very wrong. There are so many better ways to do this. They should at least leave the FA system alone.

Based on how the drills with the phones went, I would say that they need to make the alerts come over either the PA system or the speaker strobes.

really crap way. students cant get used to fire alarms being teacher phone buzzing. My old school sometimes didnt touch the FA system but they played the exact same tone on the PA so thats fine.

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Mhm: as I said on another topic where a school would either use the intercom to inform students of a drill or put in a fire drill tape & have the students not leave the building, that’s definitely not right: they should have the actual alarms sound so that the students get familiar with both the sound & what to do if they hear it (which is of course leave the building). Any school who doesn’t do it that way deserves to be fined if you ask me (moreso if they announce it’s a drill beforehand, as then the students won’t react the way they would to an actual emergency, which is important: treat every alarm as if it’s real just in case it is I say).

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Yeah, I don’t think it needs to be explained why this is extremely dumb

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UPDATE: The school will keep the fire alarm systems up and running, but the Raptor Alert system will replace everything else and be used for drills.

Oh for Pete’s sake: do they not know the point of a fire alarm system? To both audibly & visually alert building occupants to a fire & instruct them to evacuate: no “silent panic alert system” (as “Raptor Alert” is described as) can do that (in fact that may actually be illegal).


Yeah, this sounds like it’s against code. I looked at the webpage for this company, and it seems like their system is for non fire emergencies. So it may be that they aren’t even using the system properly.


Not sure where your jurisdiction is at so I can’t give an exact answer. However, codes have been pretty clear on the answer (which any AHJ don’t have to enforce if they choose not to).

If they do follow NFPA 101 (2024 ed.), it does state the following for educational occupancies (and will likely state in a similar location for other editions):

IFC 2024 also gives this provision:

It is very much possible they are trying to integrate a mass notification system into the fire alarm systen and seeing how they’re trying to test that out. Since there are multiple ways to approach this, I’d want to know a little more about the system before I make a call as to whether what your school did is an at-risk practice.

Keep in mind that if your fire alarm system is not designed as a mass notification system, it is poor practice to use it as such. A building evacuation that’s not necessarily a fire could use the new Raptor system your school is implementing. Likewise, building occupants should be familiar with the building’s fire alarm system if it’s going to still exist in the building.

Somehow they did not learn from what the other school tried to do for a fire drill by not activating the system. And having a text message sent to teachers is just a inefficient and unreliable way to notify everyone of an evacuation. They could have just integrated their intercom/PA system in with the voice evacuation system if the speaker strobes weren’t working.

Just what in the world were they thinking? A secondary drill to ignore and just a small noise to notify everyone to evacuate and ignore that part? That’s like making the fire alarm system seem like it’s not an essential part of school safety.

Other types of mass notification systems can be used alongside the fire alarm’s voice evacuation and intercom/PA systems, but not to outright replace it with some sort of general emergency detection and separate signaler (I get that natural disasters and security can be an issue that many schools in your area would face) but fire drills are super important as well.

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I remember there was a school in California who had substitute staff that didn’t really know how to work the Advanced Network Devices IP Clock & Speakers as well as the fire alarm system however they just played the SpectrAlert Advanced tone over the system from another device but it was quiet. Quite inefficient but if it can mimick the real sound it would probably work.


it just needs to use the tone that the signals fire. but using the silent alarms is bad as thats not what is gonna evacute you with a real emergency. my old school just used the same tone as fire but just on the PA, but my new school thats different. lets say its a 3 tone mess