Author Topic: Accidentally Set Off Building Alarm: What would you do?  (Read 29344 times)

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Risa Comical

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Ok, so I have a question about decision making.

For a tech my first hs show, the crew and I (the SM)  arrived for our call to find the theatre completely locked. Because I was a 17 year old student I didn't have a key, and our technical director was already suppposed to be there and have the place unlocked. So we waited for about 45 minutes, and nothing, and just out of habit we tried one of the doors. To everyone's surprise, it opened. For about 3 seconds we stared in awe until the alarm started going off! I dashed inside, since I was the only one who knew where the alarm was, and tried to turn it off after seeing a sign pointing out there would be a $500 fine if the police showed up to a false alarm. I pressed all the buttons, nothing worked. Called my technical director and head director multiple times (along with his wife!) No response. The police station was down the street, and I was terrified of a cop pulling up to the theatre seeing a bunch of hs kids dressed in black (doesn't look good!) And I would be taking the blame for it all (which my ASM though was crazy, cause she was the one who oopened the door) I finally found the phone number for the alarm company (and in tears with a terrible headache by this time) called them. They asked for the password, which I didn't know, and they told me they couldn't disregard the alarm till the password was recived. I had a crew member drive to the directors house (he lived in the area) and of course he wasn't there. Eventually my director got there, I gave him the number for the company, and he turned off the alarm useing the password, which was horribly obvious, and everything was ok.

Later I saw a cop car across the street, my ASM assured me it was unrrlated, but I wasn't so sure...

Anyways, I now know I want the key, and the alarm password.

But my question is, aside from the crying, did I handle this correctly? Was there somthing else I could have done? Has this ever happened to anyone else? How did/would you handle it?
It all started with a single question... " Hey, do you wanna stage manage JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT!?" Best decision in my life so far...

cprted

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Re: Accidentally Set Off Building Alarm: What would you do?
« Reply #1 on: Jul 14, 2010, 06:20 pm »
If you're not listed as a property representative with the alarm company, call someone who is.  In a perfect world, there should be PR contact numbers beside the alarm panel.  If you can't get in touch with anyone, wait for the police outside the building and explain what happened.  It is a lot easier for the attending officer if you are there and can explain rather than having them arrive at an insecure building with the alarm going and then having to go take the time to clear the building, etc, etc.

No need for tears.  Setting of an alarm isn't a big deal.  We've all done it ...

Celeste_SM

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Re: Accidentally Set Off Building Alarm: What would you do?
« Reply #2 on: Jul 14, 2010, 07:45 pm »
I've done it. I think you handled it fine.  No need to cry though. A locked door should be locked; if you could open it, then it wasn't locked and you'd have no expectation of setting off an alarm by opening an unlocked door.

My story is similar, except that I had a key. In my case only the facilities manager could shut off the alarm, and it was his duty to shut it off prior to our arrival in the space. He didn't.  I had no way of knowing that, so I waltzed in and had that fun siren go off seconds later. I called him and he came and shut it off. It was another story later when the company was charged the $500 false alarm fee by the facility (who passes it along from either the alarm company or the police station), and I had to show documentation that the false alarm was not our fault. I also found it interesting that no police came by during the time it took to get the alarm shut off and reset and the alarm company notified, yet they were still charged.

Maribeth

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Re: Accidentally Set Off Building Alarm: What would you do?
« Reply #3 on: Jul 14, 2010, 08:21 pm »
Done it. I think I did it in high school once, in a similar situation to yours, and I don't remember how I handled it. Definitely done it at a professional theatre (with a key)- I called the county, who controls the alarm system, and told them the situation, and called the 2 people at the theatre who are on the county's "to call" list if the alarm goes off.

It's no one's ideal situation, but it's no one's fault- it happens. Explain the situation, and everything should be fine. Things happen- the best thing you can do is remain calm. You called the people you can call. That's all you can do.

MatthewShiner

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Re: Accidentally Set Off Building Alarm: What would you do?
« Reply #4 on: Jul 14, 2010, 11:30 pm »
Hey, having been on the other end of this . . . six years of getting phone calls after every alarm went off . . . let me tell you, it happens.  We expect it to happen.  In reality, someone should have been more angry that the alarm was set and a door wasn't lock.

I also have a great story, in which a artistic director set off the alarm, and I watched him scoot out of the building yelling at me that the alarm was about to go off.  I waited three counts, watched him drive away, as the alarm went off.  Now, we had both police and fire department respond, and by the time I could run across the parking lot and turn it off, people were already on the way.  I greeted the firemen (why is there always one really hot fireman in any group of fireman - - - but i digress), and explained to them that this was probably a false alarm . . . they said they had to check it out anyway, and then I began to smell smoke - what are the chances that my artistic director would set off the alarm and then a fire would start.  I said, "Wait, I do smell smoke now."  They all laughed, and pointed at their clothes.  "We always smell of smoke."   I was very embarrassed. 



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Risa Comical

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Re: Accidentally Set Off Building Alarm: What would you do?
« Reply #5 on: Jul 15, 2010, 12:19 am »
I know crying didn't help. But I guess it was all I had left after I apparently (thanks for feedback) took what neccesary steps I could and nothing worked. I'm also emotional by nature, and all I could think of is what would happen with the police, my director/teacher, my school, and the expensive fine...
It all started with a single question... " Hey, do you wanna stage manage JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT!?" Best decision in my life so far...

planetmike

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Re: Accidentally Set Off Building Alarm: What would you do?
« Reply #6 on: Jul 15, 2010, 08:00 am »
I'm on the security team for a local facility, so whenever a security or fire alarm goes off, I get the call and have to report to the building. With so many volunteers and staff running around, I'm actually amazed the alarm doesn't go off more often. It's about once every two months. It's not a big deal, although the $100 "fine" from the police is annoying if they show up.

Again, it's better to wait for the police and explain what happened than running away. Hint: make sure you have some ID that you could show the police, just in case they show up first.

 

riotous