False Alarms Reduced as Alexandria Removes Boxes
The false alarm rate in the City of Alexandria, Va., has been drastically reduced through the complete elimination of the city’s 228 street fire alarm boxes. The decision to remove the boxes was made after an analysis of the actual fire alarms received via the system, the estimated $50,000 needed to bring the system up to standard, and the continuing annual cost of personnel to maintain the system.
Of the 110 boxes pulled during 1976, only one was for an actual fire incident. The last box was removed in June 1976 and false alarms dropped from a high of 56 in April to a low of 11 in October. Boxes in low-frequency residential areas were eliminated first with off-duty personnel paid to remove them.
Instead of having a detrimental effect, removal of the boxes has improved the city’s fire protection by having companies ready to respond to incidents instead of being out of service answering false alarms.