Thomas Jefferson

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Fighting Fire Alarms

Posted 05/10/2023 by Mattie Brightwell

Station 22 firefighters work hard to keep the community safe. photo by Ethan Dunlop

Meet the firefighters of Station 22, TJ’s local station, who spent more than enough days on campus, thanks to several false alarms this year.

Kids have practiced fire drills in school since kindergarten – it’s essential to staying safe and knowing what to do in the case of an emergency. Usually, fire drills only happen once a month or so, serving as a protocol refresher. 

But what happens when there are four or more fire alarms in one week? How about two in one day, with less than fifty minutes of a time gap in between? What happens when there’s one during an assembly? For Thomas Jefferson staff and students, it began to feel excessive near the end of the first semester. Now after more false alarms this semester, it feels like the flashing lights and irritating beeping is just another normal occurrence. 

Nobody likes having to stand outside in the cold Colorado weather waiting for the fire department to show up and give the campus an all clear. The fire department probably isn’t any happier about it than the students, staff, and teachers are. 

During the first semester, it was discovered that the main cause of the repeated false alarms was students vaping in bathrooms. As a result, after students returned from winter break, TJ decided to implement tougher consequences in order to deal with the problem. If caught with or using a vape, students would receive a suspension and be required to complete a four-week long course on the dangers of vaping with School Health Professional, Megan Miccio

The policy is a zero tolerance agreement that was set in hopes to stop the constant false alarms, and decrease the amount of vaping on campus. The school hoped that it would mean that the local fire department wouldn’t find themselves back on the campus more often than necessary. It seemed to be mostly successful, as the amount of false alarms heavily decreased as the school year progressed. The department has only had to show up twice the whole semester now, which is definitely better than twice in one day like the last time.

Station 22 was built in 1966 and sits near the corner of Hampden and Monaco. Eight firefighters work there at a time, who attend nearly eight to ten calls per day. These brave folks put their lives on the line responding to dangerous fires, accidents, and other calls dozens of times in order to keep the local neighborhoods safe. On average, they attend two schools every week or so, including TJ. 

Being a firefighter is a difficult profession, and it comes with a lot of hard work. All of the firefighters at Station 22 spent around six months in a rigorous academy before graduating. The work they put in involved significant training, both tactical and physical. Cardio and strength training is a huge part, in order to properly ensure that the firefighters can handle intense situations. Graduating after all that hard work definitely paid off though, and plenty of firefighters say that the job was worth every step. 

The firefighters of Station 22 wish to remind kids that safety is everything— knowing how to handle emergencies, staying away from trouble that can cause them in the first place. There are always steps one can take in order to avoid accidents— it’s important to take those steps and know how to prevent issues.

Since TJ shares its campus with a lot of the community, it’s really important that everyone who attends is aware of all the people that help to keep it running. This definitely includes Station 22 and all of the hardworking firefighters who keep the school safe. Remember to practice fire safety!