It’s good that entertainers taking part in last weekend’s Busker Festival helped turn a blaring fire alarm at U.S. Bank into part of the show, but Saturday’s incident points out the need for the bank and other local businesses to better prepare for such situations.
A malfunctioning fire alarm at U.S. Bank’s central location, at Ninth and Massachusetts street, emitted a shrill alarm from about 9 a.m. to about 3:30 p.m. Saturday. This would have been a bad situation on any Saturday in downtown Lawrence, but it was especially problematic last Saturday because Busker Festival events were scheduled to take place in what has become a popular performance space directly in front of the bank.
Bank officials said they were working hard to shut off the alarm, but the fact that it took more than six hours to accomplish that task confirms the need for action announced by a U.S. Bancorp official in Minneapolis, who said “We are strengthening our procedures.”
This situation undoubtedly took U.S. Bank off-guard, and bank officials aren’t likely to allow a repeat of last Saturday’s incident. However, it’s a good reminder to other businesses, especially downtown businesses, to get to know their alarm systems and how to deal with similar malfunctions as quickly as possible.