B-A installs new fire alarm system


Kaelynn Behrens

The new system includes a flashing light and a voice automated message.

Kaelynn Behrens, Staff Writer/Multimedia Editor

For students, fire drills amount to a ten minute break and a chance to get some fresh air.

At Bellwood-Antis, the drills have always gone off without a hitch and appear to work seamlessly. However, beneath the surface, the old fire alarm system had several issues.

Over the summer of 2017, the Bellwood-Antis School District decided to replace the thirty-year old fire alarm system in the high school and middle school. The new system, called Simplex, can be found in places where it never was before, most notably the gym locker rooms. Now, with the new system in place, every person in the school can hear its ring.

According to Superintendent Dr. Thomas McInroy, more problems were discovered with the old system than anyone ever thought.

Our number one charge as administrators is the health, safety, and welfare of everybody in our schools.”

— Dr. McInroy

“Our fire alarm system didn’t work as it should when we had a false alarm,” said Dr. McInroy. “It didn’t work in every place we thought it did, and there were no alarms in the locker rooms.”

Because of this, many students and faculty at B-A were not getting out of the building during drills. This was a wake up call for the district to change their alarms.

“Our number one charge as administrators is the health, safety, and welfare of everybody in our schools,” said Dr. McInroy.

Along with the new alarm system, the district has spent the last two years ensuring that the teachers know the updated emergency evacuation procedure. Last year, teachers received new flip charts to provide information about what to do in an emergency.

Dr. McInroy said what many do not understand is that we live in a very different age where all aspects of school safety mustbe evaluated.

“Thirty years ago, teachers left their doors open because it was a different time. There weren’t all the shootings, and people didn’t do these crazy things like coming into schools (to do harm),” said McInroy.

Today, school districts are a lot more cautious about the safety and well being of the students. This was the entire idea behind the new alarm system. However, it is not cheap.

The new system cost $412,000 to fully install. The school itself did not have that amount of money available on hand, so the district used its fund balance through capital reserve.

“The benefits are going to be important to increase safety and security,” said high school principal Mr. Richard Schrier

“The ultimate goal is to be seamless, because if the school is on fire, we don’t to put anyone in harm’s way,” said McInroy.