Worst fire alarm experience you've ever had.

The worst I had was once during 2nd Grade. It was during Speech Therapy class in May of 2004 (I think), and the teacher said that we may have a fire drill. I got all nervous and I put my hands on my ears because I KNEW what was coming. Then a few minutes later the 450D+VALS in the speech room started blaring in continous, and it was just as bad as the 9833’s we had when I was in Pre-K. :shock:



And I will NEVER forget a time in Kindergarten when we had a malfunction with the fire alarm system. It was a few minutes before dismissal, and as we were getting ready to go, the fire alarms went off and we evacuated! After waiting the usual fire drill length for the all clear, we re-entered, and as we were re-entering the alarms went off AGAIN and we went back to our assembly areas! We had to repeat that several times, after I left campus, they probably had an announcement saying to disregard any other alarms (they went off during the carnival scheduled for the next day too!). :roll:

Knowing the a fire drill was about to happen, I would stand by the door, fingers plugged into ears, tears streaming down my face, because I knew I was going to HATE the sound of the fire alarm. This was back when I was in the elementary schools.

Having to replace a panel from the 80’s with conduits coming in to all sides of the panel, having to replace a majority of the signals and devices as well due to a lighting strike at 3am…



Worst fire alarm experience I ever had.

Too many to post…

I don’t have a worst experience. I’ve had plenty of bad experiences with them. And with household smoke alarms too.

Please explain …

Like when someone was burning some toast and the smoke alarm starts beeping. Ouch.

I’ve had a few bad ones recently in high school. As you guys may know, my school has Simplex 4040s, which are VERY loud, especially when you are right near one. They scare the heck out of me when they go off (although it’s mostly just startling). It doesn’t help the fact that the system has trouble being reset, so sometimes we end up going back in while the alarm is still silenced, and not fully reset. Here are three bad alarm experiences:



Last year, the alarm went off right before swim practice (after school). We all had to evacuate outside in the cold. Many guys tried to get changed, but I was panicking so much I just pulled on my jacket and brought a towel. I was freezing as hell and was so embarrassed. We went back in several minutes later, only for the alarm to go off AGAIN! We were in the pool locker room, which might have formerly had an alarm, but doesn’t have one anymore. We could hear it pulsing in the hallway (120bpm march time is the coding). We were confused, as they kept silencing it, then un-silencing it. Likely, they were having trouble with the system. We were told we had to re-evacuate. I got mostly changed, but still needed to get my shoes on. When I was outside on the steps by the exit trying to get my shoes on, the school athletic trainer was yelling at me to hurry up, which really made me feel uncomfortable. We were out there again for another few minutes before we finally went back in for good. The alarm didn’t go off again.



This past november, they were doing testing on the alarm. My anxiety has been really high lately as I wait for college decisions, so I was more anxious than normal. I saw the red crown victoria that the fire department has while I was eating lunch in the cafeteria, so I knew there was a chance the alarms could go off. I didn’t worry, till I was leaving and heard the end of a faint announcement saying: “…again, if the alarm goes off, please disregard it”. I started to realize they must be testing the alarms, so I went outside as I didn’t want to be in the hallway or library with it going off. Indeed, they did do a test, and it went off periodically for the next 20-30 minutes or so. When I saw the fireman leave, I went back in, double checked with the principal that it was indeed done, and went to class (this whole test was during a free period for me). I feel kind of stupid for chickening out on something like an alarm test, but my anxiety has just been so high this year that it has made my fire alarm anxiety go up to about as high as it was in fifth grade.



This past december, we had a false alarm. I knew that a fire drill would happen that month, since we usually have one in december before vacation. It went off while I was in the library. At first I thought it was a drill, until I saw there were no trucks there, meaning it was a real alarm. The trucks came shortly after and we were out there for a good 20 minutes. We went back in, and I noticed that the annunciator still had a yellow light on, meaning the alarm was silenced but not reset. It briefly went off again (just for one pulse) while I was in the hallway. I went out to the courtyard, where there are no alarms, to sit till I had to go to class. I was very anxious. Indeed the alarm briefly went off a few more times. Shortly after, I had to suck it up and walk through the halls to get to class. The alarm thankfully didn’t go off while I was in the halls. I noticed that the fire department was still there though, so the alarm was likely still only silenced, thus I was still pretty nervous. During class, the alarm went off again! Obviously my class didn’t believe it was real, and my teacher decided to have us wait for a bit. A few seconds later, the alarm shut off. An announcement came on saying: “Excuse the interruption, we’re having problems with the fire alarm. We are working on getting it solved, but until further notice, if you hear it go off, do not evacuate.” The alarm actually didn’t go off again, but I was still pretty nervous knowing that it might. We do not have alarms in the rooms, but they are pretty loud from in the hallway. Another 20 minutes later, an hour after we initially went in, they finally announced that the alarm was fixed, and that if it went off again, it was real. The alarm did not go off again and the fire department left.



In general, I have had some pretty bad experiences with the alarm at school lately. Thankfully, my anxiety should go down once I hear back from colleges, and I only have to deal with the Simplex 4040s at my school for the remainder of this year. In fact, our last fire drill is sometimes after the seniors get out, so I might only have 1-2 more high school fire drills!


That sounds pretty nasty! How did you take care of the conduit?

I’ve had some bad experiences with our old smoke alarm in Janesville. As I mentioned before, when it would go off, I’d run and plug my ears. It was an old First Alert SA76RS and had the squealer horn. It sounded like the MT’s Code-3 Tone at high volume except in Continuous. But through desensitivity training I grew to like smoke alarms and that led to where I am now. I always think about how cool it’d be if I could get that old alarm. it’d come full circle; the alarm I grew up to fear would be the most prized piece of my collection, and would get its own display case, and a long YouTube video on it and my memories of it. I never had any bad fire alarm experiences.

The conduits were all straight ups and downs with some 90 degree bends. So I cut back the upper conduit in the suspended ceiling and installed a large wire trough. I then came down in the wall behind the panel with my new wires. The conduits from the bottom were up from a concrete slab so I put some boxes at the base of the wall and snaked up again to the new panel. Maintenance came by a few days later and built out the bottom half of the wall around my conduits as I suggested.



It came out as nice as it could for a rush job. I was not in love with it when I walked away but it did not look horrible.

Thanks for taking the time to explain it; sounds like it worked out pretty well. At the beginning, I was imagining a mess like this with conduit coming out on all sides.

I’ve had several bad fire alarm experiences that I can think of. I read somewhere that I would hide in the boys’ room in my first elementary school while waiting for the alarm to go off. I think that they were round horns, probably either Edwards or National Time. I have no recollection of what they sounded like, but if I hid and was afraid, they must’ve been pretty loud.



In my second elementary school, for some reason, I’d always get really anxious before they went off, even though they were Simplex 2901-9838s on 4903-9101 strobe plates, and they weren’t all that loud and raucous. They sounded in 120 BPM.



My middle school is where I had the worst experiences I can think of. I remember the first drill I was there for. I was standing out in the hallway. That part of the building had Standard 4-350s on Standard light plates. When it went off, it wasn’t quite as bad as I was thinking, but it was still pretty loud. The second drill I was there for, I was in the other part of the building, which had Standard 30As. They looked so old and so loud, and they were both, but EXTREMELY loud. Louder than the 4-350s (aka Simplex 4040, Federal Signal 350), at least 105 dB at 10’. The worst experience I had was one day when I was in Adapted Phys Ed in a small gym that had a 4-350 in it. It was quiet in there, until all of the sudden it went off for a few seconds because they were testing the alarms. It was very loud. It went off several more times. The teacher said it was just testing so we’d stay in there, and after hearing it a few more times I started freaking out and I couldn’t participate in the class. Recognizing that I was terrified, he let us go outside until it was over. I was shaking pretty badly. The whole school also had a siren sound over the PA like this one: <LINK_TEXT text=“http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojmP513C … plpp_video”>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojmP513ChXs&list=FLaJ5ESpfm5KBzv8FQBugMjg&index=260&feature=plpp_video</LINK_TEXT>. That wasn’t that loud though.



I also had a bad experience in High School. The school had U-MMTs in the halls and rooms set to Continuous Horn but coded to Code-3 by the panel. One day I was in support class, and they went off for a few seconds because they were testing them. We were then told to disregard the alarms. They went off again, and I was shaking and wanted to go outside (but not nearly as bad as I was that day in A.P.E.). The teacher said that it was just testing and we weren’t going outside. They didn’t go off again after that. Thankfully, however, the strobes would flash once first, then the horns would sound about a second later. That was a nice warning, as those things are very loud.

That is a mess! However that install would be very easy to clean up compared to a non flexible conduit like I was dealing with.



No pride in that work at all.

When I was wiring one into my system, didn’t unplug the panel (very stupid, I know) and someone thought it would be funny to activate it. I got a big shock.

That just makes things more fun :slight_smile:

Well… Having to experience 8 different simplex systems being torn down, when they still worked. I luckily am getting one of the 4002 panels, but the rest will soon be with the rubble. :frowning:

Wow. That’s nothing like at Stonehill College; they’re removing perfectly-functional Simplex systems and replacing them with cheaper Siemens systems just because they don’t like Simplex anymore. And there aren’t that many Simplex systems anymore either; many other buildings have older FCI or Fire-Lite or Gamwell systems from the 1970s-early 1990s that are still intact, even if a building is renovated! So it has nothing to do with codes; it’s a preference on what system it is.



But back on topic, I’ve had quite a few bad fire alarm experiences in elementary school (the school I went to for grades 1-6), mainly in first, third and fourth grades. (Older Federal 450 horns, like the Simplex 4041, on an old Gamewell FlexAlarm system.) I won’t list them all, but there were a few times in third and fourth grade where I was sent to the principal’s office afterward for the rest of the school day because I was so upset and all the kids were teasing and making fun of me (it also didn’t help that the teachers at the time did not know much about Aspergers’ Syndrome.)

High school was also pretty bad, due to their deafening Simplex 4040 horns (in Continuous) and many of the mean students in the building. The worst was that one time in my sophmore year when the fire alarm went off during lunch, and I screamed so loud (like a girl!) all the other kids began laughing at me and teasing me about my fear, and I nearly got suspended for my meltdown! (But one of the special ed. teachers presented the case carefully, and the housemaster let me off easy that time.) Then at the end of the day, we had my mother pick me up from school, because I didn’t want to ride the school bus home because the kids would’ve continued to tease me on it about the alarm. (The reason it went off was because the building had a crappy FCI FC-72 fire alarm panel that was often having problems and glitches.)


I had very similar experiences in elementary school whenever they stated there would be a fire drill on the weekly calendar (but they never happened), when I got a suspicion or when they announced (either when the teachers told us or they came on the intercom and told us) we were going to have one.

In 4th grade, I was so afraid of the fire alarm going off, thinking it was a horn in the bathroom (it wasn’t. It was just a strobe) that I urinated on myself.