Stop pulling the fire alarms!

Steven Jung

 

The fire alarms were pulled several times earlier this last October. Chief of Police Christopher Wilkinson was kind enough to shed so more light onto what was happening there.

“Seven fire alarms have been pulled over the course of seven days,” Chief Wilkinson said. That means there were four additional times it happened than originally reported. Chief Wilkinson did state that further investigation revealed that all seven times the fire alarm was pulled; it was intentional.

It seems that the person who is doing this on purpose is interrupting classrooms. Some students want to actually learn and it becomes difficult when this person pulls the alarm.

Dr. Juan Avalos also explained what could happened to this student if this student continues to pull fire alarms. There are more punishments besides academic disciplinary action that the school can take. Campus police are police officers and according to Chief Wilkinson, “If the student is known to have done this multiple times before then we can arrest him on the spot.” It is understandable why they have these procedures; the police don’t want to make a scene if the person is a first-time offender but if it is a repeated offense, then they don’t want the culprit to get away.

The police do use discretion however, if a student is a first time offender they will not arrest them there in front of everyone. The California Penal Code from section 148.4 states “if a person is convicted of pulling a fire alarm is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail.”

Chief Wilkinson provided more details about the California Penal code. If there is a great bodily harm to someone or a death is a result in pulling a false alarm then the conviction can be upgraded to a felony where as it is a “misdemeanor” according to section 148.4.

Its obvious why they take this problem seriously because what if someone dies as a result? How would a mother or father feel if the police showed up at their house telling them that the reason their son or daughter is dead is because someone wanted to pull a prank? This is exactly why they can upgrade it to a felony.

Chief Wilkinson also explained that when it is upgraded to felony; if found guilty, the convicted can be fined $500 to $10,000 or be fined and receive imprisonment. “When it’s a felony, that means the convicted goes to a state prison; not county jail,” Chief Wilkinson said.

Chief Wilkinson explained that the police have no leads as to who is doing this but it is an “on-going investigation.”

“It takes a lot of man power and resources,” Chief Wilkinson said. Since the fire department and campus police have to get involved this is why it should not be taken lightly. When these alarms go off, the campus police have to go make sure the building is evacuated and the fire department gets called out even if there is no fire, they are required to respond.

Chief Wilkinson also gave some insight on how the police observe the campus when it comes to fire alarms. They have an advanced security system that not only has a layout of the buildings but also tells them which alarm exactly got pulled at the exact location of where in the building.

This system allows them to better coordinate an evacuation if there ever really is a fire.

According to The Berkeley Daily Planet, “By pulling a fire alarm you can endanger lives of fire fighters even though there is not a real fire.” It is known that both police and fire fighters deal with stress, so what if one of them has a heart attack during a call from an adrenaline rush?

“What if the driver of the fire truck has a heart attack from an adrenaline rush; then the truck might crash endangering all the lives on the street,” The Berkeley Daily Planet pointed out. More importantly was information that The Berkeley Daily Planet provided was that fire departments can refuse to respond to a call if a false alarm happens too many times.

This can end badly as a result; what if there really is a fire but the fire department does not come because they think it’s just another prankster with a false alarm. Every alarm is a real emergency to fire fighters and campus police. If someone else is in a car accident and the fire alarm is a prank then the resources are being diverted to a fake emergency. These reasons are exactly why I agree with The Berkeley Daily Planet.

These false alarms might actually get someone hurt in a real fire and fire fighters can refuse to deal with an alarm because they think it’s another student who thinks he or she is funny.

Recently a mass email went out on November 21st. It was from Chief Wilkinson reporting an update on the fire alarm incidents since another alarm was pulled in the LRC building last Monday around 2 p.m. Another alarm was pulled in the S and M Building that same day around 10:30 a.m. It is starting to become a nuisance for campus police. 

If anyone has any information on who might be doing these false alarms or sees someone pulling the alarm intentionally when there is no fire please call campus police at 949-582-4585 and report it.

For other info visit: www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2011-04-20/article/37721?headline=Why-You-Shouldn’t-Pull-Fire-Alarms-When-There-Is-No-Emergency

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