Out of the 37,000 house fires that occur in the UK every year, 35% of fire alarms did not sound. The biggest cause? The removal of batteries from smoke alarms or spent batteries not being replaced.
We are constantly reminded of the importance of checking that our alarms are still functioning and yet, people constantly fail to check their alarms monthly or replace the batteries twice a year. The reduction of false and nuisance soundings significantly reduces the neglect of alarms and will save lives.
Generally, the word ‘hush’ is something not often associated with fire alarms being that their sole purpose is to detect potentially deadly smoke and make you aware of it. However, there are situations when your fire alarm will ‘think’ there is deadly smoke in your home, when in fact you’re only making dinner for your family. A hush button will allow you to make dinner, take a shower, or light a match without having to endure the sound of an alarm every time you do.
The hush feature on an alarm will desensitize it to smoke for 7 minutes meaning, if you know every time you cook with oil it will go off, you can hush it beforehand to avoid the blaring sound.
It will, however, let out a small chirp every 30 seconds, to let you know that the alarm is still hushed. An important note on this feature, if the smoke continues to be thick throughout the hush period the alarm will still sound. The alarm will also sound if smoke is still in the air after the 7-minute hush period is over.
Some people find their alarm is constantly being set off when there is no danger from smoke or fire. If this happens enough times, they may decide to remove the batteries from their alarm or disconnect it from the power supply.
Although a temporary fix to misfires, the risk of death by fire in a home is doubled without a functioning alarm.
The function of a hush button will allow these people to temporarily disable their alarm should it misfire, or pre-emptively disable it when doing an activity likely to set it off.
Therefore, a hush button completely removes the ‘nuisance’ element of an alarm and significantly reduces the number of homes with defective alarms due to the removal of batteries.
False alarms make up around 40% of all call-outs for the fire services in the UK and cost millions in taxpayers’ money.
Time spent on these at unnecessary calls has a knock-on effect on the amount of time that can be spent by the fire crew on training, community safety and could potentially delay attendance of the fire services to a genuine emergency.
The use of a hush button would reduce the number of false calls made to the fire services in HMOs and high-rise buildings, therefore significantly reducing the unnecessary use of their time and resources.
Reducing the amount of distraction to the fire service could potentially save the lives of those in real emergencies.
People living in high rise buildings or HMOs are six times more likely to be killed in a fire-related incident.
In fact, 35% of fire-related deaths and 40% of fire-related injuries happen on these types of premises. Therefore, a quick and efficient evacuation plan is often in place in order to get all the occupants out of the building in an emergency.
However, false alarms resulting in regular evacuations can often begin to annoy occupants in a high-rise or HMO buildings. This may lead them to either remove the batteries from their own alarm, to avoid causing a nuisance for their neighbors or worse, ignore legitimate alarms in a genuine emergency.
The implementation of hush features would allow them to avoid regular evacuation and trust that when an alarm begins to sound, that they are in an actual emergency.
For those regularly experience false alarms, they often become accustomed to the sound and it no longer invokes the intended level of urgency within them.
This may cause them to ignore alarms in a genuine state of emergency, putting themselves in serious danger.
A hush feature on alarms would mean false soundings can be instantly stopped and therefore residents can trust that a sustained alarm means that it is a legitimate emergency.
BusinessWatch are a NSI approved provider of security and fire safety services for businesses across the UK. Our knowledgeable team also offers free advice for organisations looking to bolster their safety and security measures.