Alarm fatigue in Dubai residents

Alarm fatigue in Dubai residents

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) set a goal to reduce false fire alarm numbers to zero by 2021, in line with its objective of being one of the world’s safest countries.

According to experts, one in three Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) residents ignores false fire alarms originating from the UAE, leading to a ‘cry wolf’ attitude towards fire alarms in the country.

Alarm fatigue occurs when a person becomes desensitised to an alarm due to repeated false alarms, causing them to fail to react appropriately during an emergency, which can have potentially fatal consequences.

Frequent false alarms in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have made residents complacent, causing them to delay evacuation and put lives at risk.

Accidental activation of manual call points and pull stations is a common cause of false fire alarms, with sensitive units often placed in high-traffic areas. This makes it easy for them to be knocked or mistaken for other electrical buttons.

Alarm fatigue is addressed in Chapter 18 of the UAE Fire and Life Safety Code of Practice, which states that it is residents’ responsibility to take every fire alarm and fire sounder seriously.

Although false alarms sometimes occur, it is residents’ responsibility to verify the fire alarm without neglecting and communicating with facility management.

False fire alarms allow for a dangerous relaxed attitude towards evacuations; however, they can be prevented.

As recommended in BS 5839-1:2017, manual call points can be fitted with a protective cover to prevent false fire alarms and halt alarm fatigue.

The dangers of false alarms are also highlighted in Chapter 8 of the UAE Fire and Life Safety Code of Practice.

Fire Detection and Alarm Systems are often ignored due to frequent experience of false alarms, which can be a nuisance and a waste of time when unwanted evacuations take place.

Section 4.10 of the Code of Practice advises protective covers: listed protective covers shall be permitted to be installed over single or double-action manually actuated alarm-initiating devices.

Protective covers can help prevent false alarms and halt alarm fatigue. Safety Technology International manufactures a range of protective covers, from indoor to outdoor, sounder, and UL-listed models, with variations to suit all applications.