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A false alarm is still alarming. Here’s why

March 2018

Sometimes, a safety device might react in a situation when it didn’t need to. On the one hand, this can be an issue because it essentially shows that the product is not behaving as it should. On the other, clearly, it’s better to be safe than sorry. But there are other ramifications to a false alarm.

Examples of false alarms

In the home, a false alarm might be a smoke alarm reacting to burning toast, or a burglar alarm being tripped by a pet (or even by nothing at all if there’s a fault with the device).

In the context of fire safety in accommodation complexes, a false alarm usually refers to an alarm system being activated by the overzealous use of a toaster, stove, microwave, or oven, where food has been burnt and smoke has been created. In situations where there’s no fire or risk to life in these situations, these alarms can be more of a nuisance than a life-saver – at least on the surface.

False alarms matter. A lot

False alarms can have far wider consequences than it may at first seem.

In some cases, they involve the automatic call-out of the local fire and rescue service, something which many fire services now charge for, if false alarms occur regularly. Even if the fire service don’t charge, a false alarm will inevitably take them away from another potential fire, costing time, money and potentially lives as well. Ultimately, everybody loses in this situation and this does not exclude the residents themselves; they might need to be evacuated from the building, detracting from their quality of life and, in student accommodation, the ability to study.

If a sprinkler system is activated too, the financial costs can be significant – temporary rehousing, repairs and insurance premium increases being just a few examples.

Proactive fire solutions such as Airis, which prevent smoke and false alarms, are therefore the best answer. The alarm systems are still there, but factors that trigger them unnecessarily are removed. This saves money and time, and improves living standards.

Mental health

For a vulnerable or elderly person living alone, alarm activations can be distressing.

If false alarms are ignored and a fire occurs, the consequences could be serious; in the worst-case, fatal. In the best-case scenario where a resident has managed to escape from a house fire and the fire service called out, the traumatised individual may require medical attention, and they will need somewhere to live while their home is repaired. The sad reality, though, is that in many such situations he or she will likely lose independence due to safety concerns.

With cooking being a major cause of fires and the tendency of elderly and other vulnerable people to be forgetful, Airis can reduce false alarms by acting early enough to minimise smoke as well as prevent fires. Independence of vulnerable people is maintained, additional care costs are avoided and the resident and their loved ones can rest assured, knowing they are protected.

In this post: Advice, Airis, Fire safety