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False Alarms

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Guest Paula


I work at a school where there have been a number of fire alarms set off deliberately by students. This has led to a lacklustre response to alarms from students and staff. I wonder if anyone knows if there are any legal ramifications for setting off alarms deliberately?



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I am not aware of any under the RR(FS)O because students would be classed as relevant persons and the Responsible Person owns a duty to them but it is not reciprocal. If as a result of the call box being operated maliciously and the fire service attend they could do something, but in my experience they do not.

I think it is up to internal discipline, catch them and punish them, CCTV can be a tool in identifying them .

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The Fire Safety Order has provisions for this, but only with respect to ,employees. Traditionally, as fire legislation over the years has had limited provisions for individuals messing around with fire precaution features Article 8 of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is cited:

Duty not to interfere with or misuse things provided pursuant to certain provisions.

No person shall intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health, safety or welfare in pursuance of any of the relevant statutory provisions.

This has the advantage of not limiting to employees. However, it's rarely used in practice and sometimes Criminal Damage has been used instead.

Very unlikely to get HSE or CPS authorising a charge where no real harm or expense was caused, exclusions and expulsions are more achievable for persistence offenders.

As an initial step, if not already done, you should fit hinged covers to your call points. More extreme (but not unheard of) solutions are altering the cause & effect of the system so that a single publicly located call point doesn't cause a full evacuation, only detectors or staff area call points;and moving to key operated call points in public areas.


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