Smoke alarm causes impromptu evacuation

By Sierra Clark, Graphics Editor

A smoke detector alarm rang throughout MTHS at approximately 10:30 a.m. this morning, causing an impromptu evacuation of the school. Many students were unaware of the situation, as it was not one of the planned fire drills.

Principal Greg Schwab assured that it was only the smoke alarms that went off, likely because of something being cooked in the kitchen.

“[The MTHS] smoke detectors are really sensitive, so things like dust and a little bit of particulate matter in the air will sometimes because them to go off. We think that is what happened in this case,” Schwab said.

He said that around 10:50 a.m., the fire department gave administration the “all clear,” for students to re enter the building. Students were outside, however, for a bit longer due to both slight confusion of where to go on the soccer field after evacuating and it taking a bit more time to go through the attendance taking process. Schwab said that where to go in case of an evacuation will likely be revisited in PASS classes, but overall, the evacuation was quite quick.

“It was a good opportunity for [MTHS students and staff] to practice [evacuating], because in a situation where there’s an actual emergency that we need to evacuate for… at that point then we want to account for students,” Schwab said.

In any situation with the fire alarms, the administration refers to the fire department.

“[The fire department will] do a visual inspection of the building and then come up, the alarm panel is back here in the office, and they will be the ones that will reset the alarm and the system,” Schwab said.

He said that the system will not reset if there is an issue with an open flame or smoke. The job of the system is to determine if there is a problem, where it is, as well as if it is safe to re enter, according to Schwab.

Once Schwab realized the alarm and evacuation had cut into students first lunch, he contacted Assistant Principal Peter Schurke do create an unplanned schedule quickly, “so that teachers and students can get their 30 minute lunch in.”