Hays CISD wants to remove fire pull alarms over safety concerns

Hays

BUDA, Texas (KXAN) — After recent school shootings, school districts around the country are searching for ways to make sure students remain safe when they are at school.

At Hays Consolidated Independent School District, leaders are looking to get rid of the manual fire alarm pull stations you can find hanging on walls throughout schools. 

“Part of the thought process behind pulling them out of our buildings is for safety and security,” said HCISD spokesperson Tim Savoy.

There is a concern that an intruder could pull a fire alarm and get students into the halls or cause panic, or someone could pull a fire alarm thinking they are helping by letting everyone know to evacuate, Savoy said. “But that would actually run counter to our lockdown procedures where we want everyone locked in their classrooms and not moving.” 

During the Santa Fe, Texas high school shooting, fire alarms went off, making some students think it was a drill

The three new schools being built in the district will not have the familiar red fire alarms anyone can pull scattered in hallways.

Instead, there will only be one manual pull station located in the office area.

The Buda fire marshal says technology has advanced so much throughout the years that the system being placed in these schools would likely recognize a fire before a person, automatically sound the alarms and activate the sprinkler system without a person physically touching an alarm.  

The district says this is one way to prevent and cut down on false alarms on their school campuses.  

“We want to take out anything that makes it easier for someone to come into a school and do harm,” said Savoy.  

It’s a small change for the district, one that doesn’t necessarily fix every emergency situation. But small changes add up, and the district hopes this is one step closer to a safer future. 

“In today’s times we need to be vigilant and keep looking at these things and be able to make decisions that are going to keep students safe,” said Dahlstrom Middle School Principal Dr. Michael Watson. 

The school district says it’s also looking to get rid of pull fire alarms in existing schools. District leaders will be talking with the fire marshal to decide which schools they can safely be eliminated in the coming months. 

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