Dangerously loud fire alarms in schools

Does anyone have experience in getting schools to turn down the volume of their dangerously loud fire alarms?  I am looking for advice, literature, personal experience or professional expertise... anything that can help me motivate the school to turn down the alarm volume.  I don't want to have to turn this into a legal battle, I just want the alarms turned down.

Background: My teen has chronic tinnitus (24 hour a day non-stop ringing in his ears caused by exposure to an explosion).   His tinnitus is exacerbated by loud noise which can also potentially cause more permanent damage to his hearing and permanently louder ringing.   The school tested the sound levels and subsequently admitted to me that the noise level is 35-45 db higher than required by law, but they have not turned them down.  Fire alarms continue to go off at the school for no reason (4x so far in two months which were not planned drills and not in response to fire or smoke) and my child comes home distraught with more intense ringing in his ears.  I resent having to send my child to a school where he is exposed to dangerous conditions.

Any advice is appreciated.

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

Easier solutions to simple problem. Please keep noise-cutting headphones inside his desk at all times. There are announcements before there’s a fire drill conducted in schools and staff has prior information. Inform them of your son’s requirement and am sure they’ll have him with his headphones before the alarm sets off. There are serious downsides to low volume fire alarms as there are kids with hearing problems also. These drills are in place for real emergencies, that can realistically occur anytime. 

How about equipping him with earplugs or noise canceling headset for these occasions?  They would have to be kept handy to grab, which might take some planning or practice, but with tinnitus it seems helpful to carry earplugs in a pocket. I recommend “sleep leight” for comfort, searchable on amazon. You can still stay in conversation with the school; possibly the parent board could pursue the matter; and your child is protected in the meantime.

I don't really know anything about fire alarms. But I have a couple of ideas to get things moving. One is to find out about the alarm and how to turn it down. It may simply be that no one has taken the time to read the manual. The other is to figure out who has the power to turn it down. It may be that you are talking to the principal when a side conversation with a maintenance person may be more productive. The third thing is to find other concerned parents. If there is a whole group of you putting it the pressure on, it may help. Good luck!