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Precocious Preschooler Pulls Fire Alarm

Four-year-old says he was just following directions

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A few weeks ago, students had just put their backpacks down during second period when the fire alarm went off. As they filed out of the building outside, hugging their arms because temperatures were too cold for the t-shirts and shorts many were wearing, rumors started spreading:

“Is there a real fire?”

“Is this a drill? Usually there in the afternoon, and when it’s warmer…”
“Did someone pull the alarm?”

It turns out someone did pull the alarm — but he was not the usual suspect — the goofball trying to get out of class or who just thinks its funny to pull a prank.

The guilty party was a preschooler who had just learned to read.

The 4-year-old was in Mrs. Pam Yanusko’s Preschool Lab Class, riding around on his scooter during the free-time play period, when he suddenly jumped up off. Seeing the words “pull down” on the fire alarm, that’s just what he did.

“He is our only preschooler that can read,” Mrs. Yanusko said. “He can read every word in our room. He is always putting words up on our fridge. He read ‘pull down’ and I don’t think he knew what he was doing.”

Mrs. Yanusko called the main office as soon as the alarm sounded, telling administrators a preschooler was to blame, but the evacuation could not be stopped — nor could the fire department that routinely responds to an alarm.

This is the fire alarm that the 4-year-old pulled a week ago.

The fire alarm in the preschool room now has a new cover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Because it had already been pulled, the law states that we have to evacuate,” Mrs. Yanusko said.

While students stood shivering in the cold, the preschoolers enjoyed the experience, she said, especially when the fire trucks showed up.

“They were excited to see them,” she said. “A few of the firefighters were giggling a little.”

Rather than writing up the 4-year-old and suspending him, Mrs. Yanusko made the incident a learning moment for her class.

“As soon as we got back, I talked about the fire drill,” she said. “I sat them down and told them we must absolutely not touch the red fire drill alarm.”

To take precautions that this will not happen again, the school this week installed new fire alarm covers that say “Lift me” on them. The preschoolers will be taught not to literally follow those directions.

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