It was more than halfway through 5th period yesterday. Our video was interrupted by a flashing light and a blaring alarm.
The fire alarm.
I paused the video. And I waited. The rest of the class remained in their seats.
We did not have a fire drill scheduled. At any other school, I would have scrambled to find the class roster. Then I would have started to shoo the kids towards the door. I've been through enough fire drills and actual evacuations (they make us evacuate when we have an earthquake) to know vaguely where to go when this sort of thing happens. (The trick: follow the crowd.)
But not at this school.
The alarm blared for less than 20 seconds, and then it cut out. 30 seconds later we heard the announcement: "Please disregard the fire alarm." I started the video back up.
This sort of thing happens with some regularity. From snippets of conversation and questions I've asked of the office staff, I've gleaned that there is some sort of short or glitch in the fire alarm. It has something to do with the phone system. Anyway, from time to time, nothing in particular triggers the thing, and we're all startled by the flashing light and blaring alarm.
The students have learned to ignore it.
It doesn't happen every day. It doesn't happen as frequently as it used to. But if we evacuated every time the thing went off, we'd be out of class a lot.
If there were an actual fire, the office staff would have to tell us all to evacuate. But then again, when we have an actual evacuation (for earthquakes), we get a confirmation announcement anyway.
Ten minutes later, the fire alarm blared again. This time, I didn't even bother to stop the video.