Booth Designed to Combat Pulling of False Alarms
A novel approach to the false alarm problem is a booth to enclose a street box and hold the person transmitting the alarm inside for a predetermined length of time. At the same time, a light on top of the booth will flash to attract the attention of policemen and passersby.
The booth, according to its inventor, Philip Stern of Winchester Systems, New York City, is designed to discourage the transmitter of false alarms by denying him an immediate escape. To actuate the box, the booth door first must be closed and when the box is pulled, an electronic lock will keep the door closed for any reasonable length of time—Stern suggests 10 to 15 seconds. At the same time, the light atop the booth begins flashing.
Stern believes that the interval in which the door remains closed increases the chance of a person being identified or caught if the alarm is false and should be a strong deterrent to transmitting false alarms. Stern suggests that the time delay for releasing the door can be determined through experiments in high incidence areas for false alarms.
For both practical and aesthetic reasons, the booth is designed with emphasis on indestructibility and transparency. The frame will be steel, and the glass breakage problem has been eliminated by designating Lexan as a glazing material. Lexan is a tough plastic that is clear as glass and light in weight. It is being used in schools where glass breakage by vandals has been a problem.
Stern says that the booth can be made to fit around any alarm box now in service and only simple electrical connections have to be made to make the booth operative. Power from the alarm box electrical system will be used to operate the locking mechanism.
Another advantage of the booth, Stern points out, is that the time delay for the door should remind the transmitter of a legitimate alarm that he should remain by the box to give responding apparatus the exact location of the fire.