en-Gauge Fire and Life Safety Blog

False Alarms and Missing Fire Extinguishers - A Bad Combination

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 5/12/12 2:12 PM

blog_post_Missing-Fire-Extinguisher-Empty-CabinetThis is the type of story that we run across all too often at en-Gauge.  Some pranksters at Western Washington University have taken to pulling fire alarms in the middle of the night.  And to make things worse, there have been several instances where fire extinguishers have gone missing or have been discharged during the same time period.  These types of actions when found in combination can increase the likelihood of a tragedy occuring in the event of an actual emergency.


According to the Western Front, the school newspaper:

Chief of the Bellingham Fire Department Bill Boyd said pulling a fire alarm when there isn’t a fire is similar to the “crying wolf” analogy. 

“Repeat false fire alarms in the same location can lull occupants into a false sense of security,” Boyd said. 

He said he realizes false fire alarms are occasional, but is still aware of the danger they can cause.

“Most of our false fire alarm responses are due to malfunctioning smoke and heat detectors or properly operating detectors that were tripped inadvertently due to construction dust or burned food,” he said. “It does have an impact on our response readiness and ability to quickly respond to emergencies when the dispatched engine company is tied up on the alarm investigation.”


In addition to the impact this has on the students and the fire authorities, in the event of an actual fire, missing or empty fire extinguishers can lead to a rapidly escalating emergency.  As we've mentioned in the past, fire extinguishers put out an estimated 5 Million plus fires in the U.S. in 2010, and is most often the first line of fire defense for residents.  en-Gauge fire extinguisher monitoring technology ensures that fire extinguishers on campus are in place, pressurized and accessible, while at the same time dramatically decreasing or eliminating the instances of costly fire extinguisher vandalism.  To learn more about why monitored fire extinguishers are a vital piece of the fire safety program at every campus, watch this short presentation:  4 Reasons it is an Emergency when a Fire Extinguisher is Pulled on Campus.

Topics: Fire Extinguisher Vandalism, Compliance, Vandalism, Campus Fire and Security, Fire Extinguisher Monitoring, Inaccessible Fire Extinguisher, Inaccessible Fire Extinguishers