Another false fire alarm? Maximise teaching time and minimise disruption

1 Feb 2022

Disrupting vital teaching time, interfering with crucial exams and causing unnecessary evacuations, false fire alarms remain a troublesome nuisance within the education sector – creating a barrier to learning.

Disrupting vital teaching time, interfering with crucial exams and causing unnecessary evacuations, false fire alarms remain a troublesome nuisance within the education sector – creating a barrier to learning.

Recent Home Office figures revealed that false fire alarms remained the largest incident type attended by the Fire and Rescue Services in England for 2019/20, with educational establishments amongst some of the worst offenders for unwanted fire alarm signals.

With similar figures reflected across the UK, over £1 billion is lost every year due to false alarms. To recoup this cost the London Fire Brigade became the first fire service in the country to recover costs from buildings such as schools with a poor false alarm record.

As we return back to the classroom it is imperative to maximise teaching time ensuring no lesson is wasted during false fire alarm evacuations; it is also important to consider that social distancing becomes even more difficult with evacuations – which usually result in crowded corridors and large gatherings at playground assembly points.

A false alarm is defined as a fire alarm signal caused by means other than a genuine fire, which has activated a fire detection and alarm system, these can include: equipment false alarm, environmental influences, accidental damage and inappropriate human action, including the malicious activation of a “break glass” manual call point.

Sadly schools, and other education establishments such as colleges and universities, are particularly vulnerable to this type of false alarm. More than 3,000 false fire alarms were maliciously activated across England in 2019/20 disrupting schools and businesses.

Not only does the subsequent evacuation disrupt teaching time, the process can also be distressing for pupils, especially during adverse weather conditions and for those with sensory difficulties.

A school in Cumbria had to send pupils home and shut for the afternoon after students were forced to stand out in the bitter cold and pouring rain following the evacuation for a false alarm.

Whilst some false activations are caused by accidents; whether it be from a bouncing ball in the sports hall or a heavy book bag in a bustling corridor, a much more unfortunate and common cause of false fire alarms is malicious activations.

With some pupils determined to avoid lessons, maliciously pressing a manual call point, often seen as a “prank”, is an easy way to force their teachers and peers to abandon the classroom and evacuate the building.

One school in Irvine, Scotland had its fire alarm maliciously activated 15 times in just two months, interfering with important exams. Whilst pupils at a set of schools in Dundee sounded 22 false fire alarms in three months as they reportedly challenged each other to record the most false alarms.

Not only are these hoax call-outs detrimental to education, there are also both human and financial costs attached to false fire alarms. Firefighters respond to all fire signals as if they are real, this exposes the public and fire crews to unnecessary risk in their swift response, directing them away from real emergencies.

As recommended in BS 5839-1:2017 manual call points can be fitted with a protective cover to prevent false fire alarms. The British Standard Institute recommends in section 20.2b), that: “All MCPs should be fitted with a protective cover, which is moved to gain access to the frangible elements.”

This is supported by fire safety guidance f­or educational premises set out by the Government which highlights that “a common problem [in educational premises] is the malicious or accidental operation of manual call points,” and as such “where break glass call points are provided, vandals can be deterred by fitting liftable covers with audio alarms.”

Safety Technology International manufacture a range of protective covers, from integral covers to outdoor and sounder models; there are variations to suit all applications. These covers are specifically designed to prevent false alarms whether accidental or malicious.

The first-ever STI protective cover, the original Stopper, came directly at the request of a high school principal in the USA, who had a problem with false fire alarms.

The Call Point Stopper is a protective cover ideal for educational premises with a risk of accidental activation. The polycarbonate cover does not restrict the legitimate operation of vulnerable call points and is tough enough to withstand severe knocks from wayward sports equipment or the break time rush.

However, if there is a history or threat of malicious activation from unruly pupils who are willing to lift a protective cover to raise a false alarm, then the Euro Stopper offers a twofold solution – preventing both malicious and accidental activations.

The tamper-proof cover features the same sturdy UV-stabilised polycarbonate housing as the Call Point Stopper with the useful addition of an optional integral sounder. The 96 dB sounder emits a piercing alarm when the cover is lifted drawing immediate attention to the area.

The warning alarm coupled with a break seal acts as both a deterrent for disobedient students, who will now be caught in the act, as well as functioning as a pre-alarm in a real emergency.

If further robust protection is still required the Universal Stopper provides IP56 protection from the elements; Featuring the same audible alert, the tough outer dome or low profile cover is strong enough to deflect heavier blows and for harsh environments, such as pool areas or kitchen facilities, the Enviro Stopper conforms up to IP66.

Taylor House
34 Sherwood Road
B60 3DR
Bromsgrove, Worcestershire
United Kingdom

Follow:
Facebook   Twitter   LinkedIn   YouTube

See Safety Technology International at IFSEC International 2022

Safety Technology International will be exhibiting on Stand FI2430 at IFSEC International 2022, 17 - 19 May 2022, ExCeL, London, UK

SCHEDULE MEETING
Stopper ® Stations
Product

Stopper ® Stations

Build this North American style, ADA Compliant, multipurpose push button switch to your specifications.  Unique, patented design helps dramatically stop accidental activation. Available in five colours, eight button activation choices, with or without a protective cover and in any language to a...

View product page

STI StopperSwitches
Product

STI StopperSwitches

A highly versatile range of attractive indoor Push Buttons combining unique design, quality and value. These aesthetically appealing, low/high voltage switches fit any standard UK-type switch socket box, and are quick and easy to install.

View product page

STI ReSet Call point
Product

STI ReSet Call point

The ‘ReSet’ is a unique manual call point that simulates break glass activation whilst offering the user the benefits of a re-settable operating element. An activation indicator drops into view on activation. The unit is then simply reset with a key and is ready for immediate re-use. Waterproof models are ava...

View product page

STI Enviro Stopper ®
Product

STI Enviro Stopper ®

IP rated protective cover is ideal for extending the life and reliability of devices exposed to harsh environments such as wash down areas. The Enviro Stopper offers protection to manual call points and switches against dust and water ingress, both outside and inside, as well as preventing tampering, vandalis...

View product page

STI Global ReSet
Product

STI Global ReSet

A resettable call point that simulates break glass activation with no broken glass. Versatile mounting plate fits to U.S., European (GLR models only), double-gang and single-gang mounting boxes, making it quick and easy to install. When activated an indicator drops into view. Simple reset with the provided ke...

View product page

STI Universal Stopper ®
Product

STI Universal Stopper ®

The Universal Stopper is an indoor and outdoor, low profile or dome polycarbonate that covers and protects devices such as manual call points, emergency buttons and dual action pull stations etc., without restricting legitimate operation. The versatile cover offers excellent protection against physical damage...

View product page

STI Euro Stopper ®
Product

STI Euro Stopper ®

Protective cover helps prevent malicious or accidental activation. The Euro Stopper consists of a clear, tamper proof, tough UV-stabilised polycarbonate cover and frame that retrofits over the break glass call point. The Glow Guide, a unique material that is embedded in the perimeter of the frame,&n...

View product page

Environmental Covers & Enclosures
Product

Environmental Covers & Enclosures

These multipurpose lockable UV-stabilised Polycarbonate Enclosures help protect against vandalism, accidental damage and the environment whilst ensuring all round visibility and immediate access. These Environmental covers and enclosures are specifically designed for the protection of fire and security contro...

View product page

STI-6400 Exit Stopper ®
Product

STI-6400 Exit Stopper ®

The Exit Stopper is a unique and highly effective way to alert you to any unauthorised exits or entries through emergency exit doors. This emergency exit door alarm can also serve as an inexpensive security device and help prevent theft as well.  If the protected door is opened, the electronic Exit Stopp...

View product page

STI-6200 Theft Stopper ®
Product

STI-6200 Theft Stopper ®

If you are looking for a way to protect Fire Extinguishers, AED’s and Evacuation Chairs from theft and unwanted use, this sturdy, self-contained alarm is the answer. It has proven highly effective in helping prevent theft, misuse or vandalism of fire extinguishers and other important devices. The Theft Stoppe...

View product page

STI Alert Point
Product

STI Alert Point

Powered with a 9V alkaline battery, the Alert Point includes an integral sounder and resettable call point. Once activated, it emits a 102 dB alarm, an activation flag drops into view and the built-in LED will flash red. Any external connected devices will be activated. It can be easily reset with a key,...

View product page

STI Steel Web Stoppers ®
Product

STI Steel Web Stoppers ®

These steel cages are designed to protect a variety of applications from vandalism and misuse such as flush mounted smoke and fire detectors and motion detectors. Constructed from plastic coated, heavy-duty galvanised steel rod, the Steel Web Stoppers can withstand the severest of abuse from vandalism or...

View product page

NoTouch® Buttons
Product

NoTouch® Buttons

This touch free button applies NoTouch® technology which helps reduce the spread of germs in any public building. To exit, a person must simply wave their hand in front of the device. The infrared will detect the motion and unlatch the time adjustable door.Available in Cast Aluminium or Stainless Steel, the&n...

View product page

List your business for free

Create a business listing on the UK's leading security and fire directory

Get the IFSEC Global newsletter

The latest security and fire news, trends and insights

Close
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT SAFETY TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL
* Oops!
* Oops!
* Oops!
* Oops!
* Oops!
I have read, understood and consent to your Privacy Policy
* sorry this is a required field
MESSAGE SENT!

Thanks for using IFSEC Global Directory,

Your enquiry has been sent to the selected companies, they will be in contact shortly.