Experts have frequently warned of a ‘cry wolf’ attitude towards fire alarms in the UAE, with one out of three GCC residents who ignore fire alarms coming from the UAE, is the country suffering from alarm fatigue?
False alarms cause inconvenient evacuations; affecting routine, costing businesses valuable time and money, and reducing confidence the general public have in fire alarms.
A prevalent cause of false fire alarms is the accidental activation of a manual call point; often placed in vulnerable locations, sensitive ‘break glass’ units are easily knocked or struck, activating an unwelcome fire alarm.
It is not uncommon for public buildings across the UAE to be evacuated due to false alarms. Following an incident at the Dubai Mall, the Dubai Police reported: “Dubai Police would like to clarify that a person mistakenly set off the fire alarm at the Mall after he had broken the emergency button fixed on a wall inside the mall.”
Incidents like the Dubai Mall evacuation undermines the public’s trust in fire alarms, causing alarm fatigue and allowing complacency to creep in. This contributes to a drastic reduction in response time and evacuation, quite literally ‘playing with fire.’
Engulfed by flames twice in two years, the Marina Torch building in Dubai Marina demonstrates the potentially fatal effects of alarm fatigue; on both occasions residents believed the signal designed to protect them, was a false alarm.
A British Standard with global reach, BS 5839-1:2017 has been used on high profile construction projects across the Middle East – the Standard states: “All MCPs should be fitted with a protective cover, which is moved to gain access to the frangible elements.”
Safety Technology International supply a range of protective covers, from integral covers to sounder models; there are variations to suit all applications. These covers are specifically designed to prevent false alarms.