What's your earliest fire alarm memory?

Mine is when I was in pre-K, we were out in the playground and the fire alarm went off.

UGHH Fire drills in preschool. SUPER LOUD CONTINUOUS Cerberus Pyrotronics Horn/Strobes (The ones that sound a tiny bit like truealaerts), Wheelock MT’s and SpectrAlert Classics. I was sooooo scared of them omg. One time i cried and peed myself so… :lol:

The first fire alarm I remember was at the daycare at the college I now attend. I was probably around 3 years old. I wasn’t quite sure what a fire drill was yet, and I just remember being out in the playground already and hearing a noise that I thought was coming from an outside air vent.

Those preschool fire drills were super scary for me, because not only was there an AV-34 combo, but two V-33 strobes on the ceiling as well. Yes, it was quite the light show.

The last fire drill I remember from there was also interesting. I remember the horn slowly rising in pitch, before getting up to full volume, and the strobe starting off dim, too. Is there any way to explain this, or was it most likely a confabulation on the part of my 5-year-old brain?

My first fire alarm memory was the Simplex TrueAlert speaker/strobes that did the 500hz code-3 tone (no message) at my old school.

Simplex 4903-9219s in continuous. Why do you think that I like Simplex systems so much? Because I have a lot of fond memories of them. This was in 1997 when I was in kindergarten.

This would be the timeline of what year I heard each horn.

1997 - Simplex 4903-9219

During the 1997-1998 school year when I was in kindergarten. This is the alarm that there was the most of in my elementary school.

1998 - Gentex SHG

During the 1998-1999 school year when I was first grade. It was an art class that was in a backroom and it had this alarm above the double-doors.

1998 - Wheelock AS

During the 1998-1999 school year when I was first grade. A basement classroom that had a direct exit outside was also a first grade classroom that had this horn in it. First exposure to code-3 also. Since the way my first grade classroom went out was right next to the direct exit I was able to stick my head in to hear the alarm before my special education teacher pulled me away and said “it sounds different”. During the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 school year, said classroom became a multipurpose room which was an OT/PT classroom for 2002-2003 and a meeting room for the 6th grade (which I was in at that point) during the 2003-2004 school year so I still ended up actually IN the room so I could hear it in person.

2000 - Simplex 2901-9838 (on 4903-9101s)

During the 1999-2000 school year when I was in second grade. The cafeteria/gymnasium had these alarms down there and they went off while we were in gym. Then during the 2000-2001, 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 school year, the evacuation exits for the classrooms I was in resulted in the class going out through the entryway outside the cafeteria where there was another one of these horns. In high school, which was from 2006-2007 to 2009-2010, I heard these alarms a lot since they were the alarm that there was the most of in my high school.

2004 - Simplex 4051 (on 4050-80s)

During the 2004-2005 school year when I was in seventh grade. My middle school that I went to only had these alarms surprisingly and while most of the district updated, these alarms are still there.

2005 - Edwards Integrity

During the 2004-2005 school year when I was in seventh grade. I was walking home when the apartments across the street from the school started testing their alarm system which had these alarms in code-3 and which I thought were what SHGs sounded like.

2006 - Federal Signal 450Ds (with I-Strobes)

During the 2005-2006 school year when I was in eight grade. The elementary school across the street from my high school had these alarms and when they did fire drills I could hear them go off when I was in my english class though it only happened 3 or 4 times.

2006 - Edwards 892-2B

During the 2006-2007 school year when I was in ninth grade. Throughout my freshman year when we were in shop rotation (it was a career and technical high school), the health careers shop was in the modular building which had these alarms. It was a nine-room modular building with 3 of these alarms and I remember each of them having different pitches and since the classroom was at the very back of the building and every single classroom had to go out the front, we passed all three of these horns.

2008 - Space Age Electronics 2DCD (on AV32s)

During the 2008-2009 school year when I was in the eleventh grade. We were in the former assessment center which was now a special education classroom that had computers in it when it went off. Good lord was it LOUD. And since it was by the cosmetology shop which had the SECOND one of these horns near the exit, I wanted to get out of there fast.

2009 - SpectrAlert Classic

During the 2008-2009 school year when I was in the eleventh grade. We were in the lecture hall because we were having one of our classes as a lecture and they set up a PowerPoint presentation in there and they wanted to talk in the hall when it went off. I was sitting in the third row and it wasn’t as loud as it was echo-y.

2013 - SpectrAlert Advance speaker/strobe

During the 2012-2013 school year while I was a student at CCRI. These were put in the 2011-2012 school year replacing the 4051s on 4050-80 light plates and upgrading all of the Simplex devices over to Notifier. I can never find the exact code-3 tone and message used for the system. I would know it if I heard any of them.

Could this be it (though it’s kinda hard to hear)? My current school has a Notifier system with this tone.


I’ve never seen such good strobe sync.

Actually it sounded like this despite the fact that it is a Notifier system, it sounded like the message was from a Wheelock voice evacuation message. The only thing is that the code-3 tone in the beginning had a longer tone and only went off once.


Totally! /s

As far back as I remember, my first experiences with fire alarms happened while I was a kindergartner. I attended two different schools–both in Livonia, MI–for kindergarten classes: Tyler Elementary (mornings), and Buchanan Elementary (afternoons). Tyler closed in 2006, but was later converted to the second home of Webster Elementary, whose fire alarm system I have covered.

While I attended Tyler, the fire alarm system there was never activated; I couldn’t tell whether the system was broken or if the building administration decided not to sound the alarms for whatever reason. Whenever we had a fire drill, it would be announced over the intercom; on rare occasions, the class change bells would sound for a few seconds as the fire drill signal.

Buchanan was a different story. The fire alarm system (National Time & FOS horns and strobes; National Time 641 pull stations) was always used for drills, and I could definitely remember the times I saw the strobes flashing from my special education room, the LMC, and my kindergarten classroom. I didn’t remember the noise that well at all, but according to some old special ed progress reports I have, I was sensitive to the noise, including the class change bells Buchanan had.

I believe the earliest fire alarm memory I had was back in kindergarten. Now, pretty much the entirety of the 20 students were deathly afraid of the fire alarm (was a regular ed classroom), including me. But we were all pretty dumb so we would not cover our ears. So, when the teacher announced the fire drill we were all confused, but as soon as the alarm sounded (Simplex TrueAlert horn/strobe in the classroom, not the mechanical 9219s in all the other areas in the school, but I recall they were quieter) every single one of us except for maybe one or two kids jumped out of the atmosphere. After that we were all good, but everyone covered their ears lol.

Fire drills in Pre-K at Edgewater Public Elementary with those darn Simplex 2901-9833 Horns on 2903 Strobe Plates on Continuous. I would cover my ears whenever we had fire drills I remember the alarms there being very loud vs the System Sensor MASS Horn/Strobes at Indian River Elementary (unfortunately they too had Simplex 2901-9838 Horns on 2903 Strobe Plates outside).

I vaguely remember my first pre-school fire drill. I don’t recall much about the drill itself, other than looking back through the front windows once we had left and seeing the strobes flashing down the hall.

However, I can clearly remember seeing the fire department talking to the classroom next-door (through windows between the rooms), and believing they had actually set a fire to start the drill. I was actually quite disappointed at the time to find there was no burn mark left behind on the floor in that classroom :lol:

I remember having a fire drill in preschool. The alarms were Wheelock MT’s set to continuous horn…my ears are still bleeding. Those alarms are no longer there and have been replaced with SpectrAlert Advances.

Then of course in elementary school with the EST Genesis’s (Geneses?). I remember being genuinely scared and holding my hands over my ears even though I knew we weren’t gonna be having a fire drill that day. Those alarms are all still there thankfully, still scaring young children.

Geneses are LOUD for how tiny they are. I have 7 of them on my system right now… and i think of any strobe on the market, theirs definietly appear to be the brightest on all angles

Then that would explain why the Cinemaworld in Lincoln has them with speaker/strobes but HORN/strobes in the bathrooms.

In the bathroom??? Jesus Christ! Are you sure they are hirn/strobes, they look identical to the remote strobes, although it isnt unlikley

Well if horn/strobes and remote strobes do look the same, then most likely they are just remote strobes.

My earliest memory was in daycare. I remember doing fire drills on occasion, the alarms were Edwards 6" Durabels (still there today) which sounded in continuous. I also remember another time in daycare where we were heading back inside the building when the bells started sounding and we had to turn right back.

I also remember a time in Grade 1, where my principal at the time wanted to show us what the fire alarm system sounded like. Back then, my elementary school had a Edwards 6500 system, with 10" Edwards single stroke/vibrating adaptabels everywhere doing march time. The bell we heard was right across our classroom door; I believe it was an Edwards 439-10AWC, or it was a single stoke bell (I do recall seeing a vibrating bell there later on so maybe it got replaced?). I also remember 2 memories from grade 4, one was when they were doing a fire drill but couldn’t reset the panel afterwards, the bells were going non stop for 10 minutes. & as with the daycare memory, I recall a time after recess where my teacher was mad cause we weren’t lining up straight and talking so she kept us outside. That’s when we started hearing the 10" bells coming to life and we had to go back to our evacuation spot. Grade 4 was also the year that basically started my fire alarm interest.

Reminds me of 1991 when someone was using the downstairs oven at 77 Park St. (Rutland, Vt.) when it was one of the Vermont Achievement Center residential houses, because of the Wheelock 7002Ts! And the oven often smoked!

One day, I remembered going outside to my bike, IIRC, because I knew that they were cooking!

It was very likely the oven being used, and the oven seemed to be the worst for false fire alarms!