The Alarming Cost of Recurring False Fire Alarms

Recurring false fire alarms is a global concern as the problem continues to be a strain for the fire service, schools, businesses, and the public.

The Alarming Cost of Recurring False Fire Alarms

Most buildings often indicate false fire alarms are among their biggest fire safety challenges. 

Numerous jurisdictions have attempted to mitigate the false fire alarm issue, often with less than acceptable results. 

Fire departments in the United States reported 896,500 false fire alarms in 1980. Since that time, the number has currently grown by more than 230 percent to an astonishing 2.12 mill (National Fire Protection Association [NFPA] of Quincy, Massachusetts). 

False alarms cost building owners more than $100 million in 2020. In the same year, false alarms also accounted for $1.8 billion in wasted police time and resources (Center for Problem-Oriented Policing).  

Those numbers are unacceptable. Failure to take meaningful action could have disastrous consequences for citizens, building owners, and security officers. 

A few easily maintainable building upgrades can help make false alarms—and other safety concerns—avoidable. 

Preventing false fire alarms saves possible municipal fees and helps reduce building disruptions, lost revenue, saves lives, stops unnecessary gatherings, and a loss of productivity from employees, staff members, and students.  

Many authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) recognize that the false fire alarm situation is indeed a multi-faceted problem rising to epidemic proportions and is causing many people to take drastic measures, such as disconnecting manual pull stations, to eliminate the problem. It is obvious that what is needed is significant corrective measures implemented immediately. This problem can only be solved by using a comprehensive approach. Failure to take meaningful corrective action to respond to these chronic false fire alarms will have disastrous consequences for citizens. 

Make False Fire Alarms a Thing of the Past 

Educating building owners, inspectors, responsible persons, and the general public to be proactive about preventing malicious activation can contribute significantly to false alarm reduction. 

One immediate and sufficient way to help drastically reduce false fire alarm risks—and sometimes eliminate them—is to install high quality and dependable protective polycarbonate covers approved by fire marshals or Underwriter Laboratory (UL Listed). Cost-effective clear covers within the industry are use-proven and mount directly to the wall over existing manual pull stations and help discourage someone from triggering a false alarm. The professionally engineered covers do not restrict a legitimate alarm from being activated. 

Safety Technology International (STI) started as a solution to this problem over 40 years ago. Decrease false fire alarm risks with STI’s Universal Stopper® protective polycarbonate cover.  

The time-tested protective cover is specifically designed to help deter false fire alarms or accidental activation of manual pull stations. Proven effective, the polycarbonate cover fits over fire alarms and is highly successful in protecting manual pull stations. 

When the Universal Stopper cover is lifted, it flashes (STI-14000 series only), and a loud warning horn will sound locally. Immediate attention is drawn to the area before a false alarm is pulled. STI’s full range of covers offer excellent protection against false activation, physical damage (both accidental and intentional), dust and grime as well as severe environments. Available in a wide range of sizes and mounting options for indoors or outdoors, the covers are easy to install before a building is occupied or retrofit while in operation. The high-quality covers are UL/cUL Listed and ADA Compliant. 

For more information on fire alarm covers, or solutions to fire, safety and security problems, download our catalog here:

For more information on STI’s Stopper® Line, call 248-673-9898, email or visit STI’s address is: 2306 Airport Road, Waterford, MI 48327-1209. 

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