An Alarming State Of Alarm Recognition

, , , , | Learning | October 27, 2017

(When we have a fire drill in our elementary school, a steady tone is sent over the public address system. A warbling tone is used for duck and cover drills. This is the system we use for the six years I attend that school. One day, in fourth grade, we hear a strange tone in the hall:)

PA System: “ACK-ACK-ACK-ACK.” *pause* “ACK-ACK-ACK-ACK.”

Student #1: “What’s that sound?”

Student #2: “I don’t know; never heard it before.”

Student #3: “I think it’s the fire alarm.”

Student #4: “Don’t be silly; the fire alarm goes ‘ooooooooh’ over the PA system.”

(The teacher looked as mystified as we were. Eventually the sound stopped. We never found out what it was. Jump ahead a few years. The first week in junior high school, we hear the same alarm out in the hall. Most of the kids jump up and begin to leave the room. This is how I learned this was the sound made when someone pulled the fire alarm in the hallways. For six years, we could have burned up in a real fire because we were never taught what a true fire alarm sounded like.)

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