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State Fire Marshal: Schools can hold students during unplanned alarm

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb is acting on a number of recommendations from a recent school safety report.

Posted: Aug. 13, 2018 10:30 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb is acting on a number of recommendations from a recent school safety report.

He is directing the Department of Education notify schools of options available during an unplanned fire alarm. This is a result of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida where the suspect pulled a fire alarm sending people into the hallways.

According to the state fire marshal, schools can choose to keep students in classrooms up to three minutes after an unplanned fire alarm sounds. During that time staff can check to see if there is a fire or other threat. After three minutes the school must evacuate unless staff can confirm there is an active shooter.

The idea has many people feeling conflicted.

Parent David Smith says, "I think that three minutes could be a little bit too long."

Lois Kesner questions, "If it is a fire, is that going to give them enough time to get out just in case it is a fire?"

Some schools already have policies like this in place. For example, according to Terre Haute Fire officials, Vigo County schools keep students for up to 45 seconds before evacuating.

Smith says, "That seems more reasonable. But again, you look at how many fires do schools really have nowadays, so that would be a reason why to check and hesitate a little bit."

While school has only been back in session a few days, Vigo County students say they have already done drills using this option.

For more information about unplanned fire alarm options and the school safety report visit the following links:

https://www.in.gov/dhs/unplannedfirealarms.htm

https://www.in.gov/dhs/files/Fire-Marshal-Guidance-to-Schools.pdf

https://www.in.gov/dhs/

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