I understand that the district is doing everything it can to protect our children from excessive heat in the classroom. I am grateful for your efforts.
I do have another concern related to healthy safe environments. I was in school for a routine fire drill. Once again, I am grateful for an organized way to practice for emergency situations, but I believe we have overlooked one important health issue. We are exposing our children to very dangerous sound levels as we practice routinely for these emergencies. There are ways that the fire alarm sound could be played over the intercom so that the students know what it sounds like, but so that the volume could be controlled in a safe way.
Could we not record an alarm, and play it over the intercom for practice so that the volume can be controlled? They would still know what the sound is, and in the event of a real emergency, they would respond. Additionally, the alarm system in the building could be checked when school is not in session. That would help to protect our children’s hearing.
Not just student hearing. Since the last fire drill in the district office (we have them here too), it’s been easier to talk behind the superintendent’s back – he can’t hear us whispering anymore! More seriously, fire alarm systems are installed according to the Uniform Building Code, Uniform Fire Code and NFPA 72 Fire Alarm Code. Most fire alarm horns today are factory set according to the code requirements at 15db above the highest ambient noise. I believe 110db is max. Newer horns may have a lower and higher setting depending on manufacturer. We try and put all classrooms on the lower setting (if available) and hallways on the higher due to greater ambient hallway noise. Fire alarms are installed to a very strict code and horns are spaced and placed according to these codes. Like smoke detectors in airplanes, fire alarms are strictly regulated and tampering with them is a significant offense.
Thanks to Kurt Fisher, our district’s deputized fire marshal for his assistance in responding to this question.