In recent news from ABC affiliate WJLA out of Washington DC, a small fire alarmed parents of elementary school students at Anne Beers Elementary when the fire alarm failed to activate during the minor emergency.
On Monday, June 10, staff discovered a small kitchen fire and activated a nearby pull station. However, the activated device did not enunciate throughout the entire campus like it was supposed to and people inside the school were forced to rely on word of mouth to get the word out that there was an alarm and an actual fire and that everyone needed to evacuate immediately.
This race against time worried parents of students at the school, one parent noting:
“I found out that even though the alarm went off, it only went off in sections of the campus. And so the entire campus was not alerted by the alarms, so they had to rely on word of mouth,” one parent of two stated, “And if you’re relying on word of mouth, that kind of puts you in a race to get the message out before a potential catastrophe happens.”
According to the US Fire Administration, around 30% of all non-residential fires start in the kitchen and/or are cooking related.
Luckily no one was hurt during this fire alarm malfunction and all students, faculty and staff were evacuated.
The fire was caused by a motor on a walk-in freezer.
An investigation found that the fire alarm did not perform as expected because an electrical switch that connected the horn strobes in various parts of the building was in the “off” position.
The story notes that the fire suppression system (sprinklers) at the school is tested annually, but there is no mention of the fire alarm itself being tested.
Norris takes it’s job very seriously. We help all of our school system clients keep our kids safe. Our highly trained life-safety and security technicians test and inspect, service and maintain countless systems each year.
Please contact Norris today to set up a schedule to test and inspect your life-safety and security systems regularly.
What is Norris all about?
Norris, Inc.—a South Portland, Maine-based life-safety and security systems integrator with satellite offices in Bangor, Maine; Lee, New Hampshire; and Burlington, Vermont—was founded nearly 40 years ago by two brothers, Brad and Harty Norris. The brothers remain on the board of directors today and continue to help steer the enterprise toward its goal of advancing life-safety, security, and communications while striving to grow in its status as Northern New England’s leading systems integrator. Norris provides fully integrated life-safety and security solutions, comprising disparate systems including fire alarm, intrusion detection, access control, video surveillance, communications, and emergency notification and total systems integration via the Vigilance Systems Integration Engine and ENS.