Friday, August 10, 2012

Fire Alarm Forever: Why Burnt Popcorn Ruined Weekend For Many

Fire alarms are designed to be annoying. You want to leave any building where they're going off. That's why they're effective. If the building is on fire, you want people to leave.

Of course, if it turns out to be a false report of a fire, you just shut down the alarm and all is well.
What would you do if an alarm went off
in your building for 15 straight hours?

Except, apparently, in a Pennsylvania apartment building. Somebody burned popcorn around 6:30 p.m. last Sunday. No big deal. These things happen. But nobody shut off the alarm for more than 15 hours.

Gawd, you'd think it wouldn't be difficult. The fire department said it couldn't shut if off, for liability reasons. Whatever that means.

The maintenance guy had a key to shut off the alarm, but not to the locked door that leads to the alarm. Residents called the company that owns the apartment building, but nobody could shut it off until the next morning.

The alarm was in a section of the building where there is an ATM. Building managers said the bank never gave them a key to the room.  The bank now says there was a breakdown in communication and they'd fix it.

Let's hope there's not such a comedy of errors if something else goes wrong in the building. Imagine if the sprinkler system started spraying water and nobody shut that off for 15 hours. Or even a faucet in a sink left running 15 hours with a clogged drain could create a few difficulties.

Or what if there was a real fire in the apartment building. Imagine the anger if the fire department couldn't get its act together for 15 hours to come over and put the blaze out. The whole city would have burned.

I'll use this occasion to check my own smoke alarms. But I can guarantee if it goes off and it's a false alarm, the noise won't last long


  1. Now there are many techniques that have been came by which we can save our property from thieves. I have used fire alarm services for home protection.

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  2. If the fire alarm ever went off for 15 straight hours, I would evacuate and never return.