False alarms: the hochstadt secondary school again and again

Two fire engines and the accompanying emergency bus (22 emergency personnel), a police patrol (two officers) and an ambulance (two paramedics) rushed to the secondary school in hochstadt on wednesday. And twice in one day. Both times it hit: false alarm.

In the morning, around 9.45 o’clock, a smoke detector went off in a stairwell. And then in the afternoon, around 2.30 o’clock, a detector went off in the school kitchen. Linked with the integrated control center, the alarm chain then goes off. In 95 to 98 percent of the cases, when a fire alarm system goes off, it is a false alarm. "We have to live with the fact that this happens from time to time, says benjamin obexer, commander of the hochstadt fire department.

Four to five times a year

At the secondary school, however, it happens relatively often. Four to five times a year, estimates obexer. Volunteer firefighters argue about "unnecessary" things operation? No, says obexer. One is always glad when nothing has happened.

The commandant stands with the school administration in front of the realschule. Around 150 students who had afternoon classes trotted back to the building. The turntable ladder leaves the yard again. "It’s starting to get a little embarrassing", says deputy principal thomas rohlich. He apologizes to the fire department, even though the school can’t do anything about it.

Principal jutta romeis also says she is naturally glad that it was not a serious incident. But the accumulation of false alarms is already unpleasant. The only one that went off on wednesday morning was a technical problem with the smoke detector. In the afternoon, the cause was a steam cooker in the school kitchen. The water vapor was enough for obexer and his colleagues of the volunteer fire department to drop everything and jump into the car.

"We immediately informed the district office after the incident this morning and will do so again now, says the principal. Two years ago, the wrong position of the detector in the school stairwell had already been pointed out. As a result, one of the warning devices on the ceiling was moved – apparently without success. "We are glad that nothing happened. But an alarm means great stress", says romeis. More than 800 schools have to get out, gather at rescue points, teachers pay them, report it to the security officer. So a false alarm means a massive disruption of classes.

The city is left with the costs

300 euros is the cost of a fire department call-out in the event of a false alarm, according to the city’s fire alarm regulations, says wolfgang glotz, who is responsible for billing at the city. However, the bill was not passed on to the county as the school board. Because the law only allows municipalities to charge each other for firefighting operations to a very limited extent.

In german: der landkreis hat feuermelder, die spinnen. The city pays for the operation.

As a former commandant in hochstadt, glotz knows the ropes. Smoke detectors must be tested every three months. Whether defects are always repaired right away is the question.

"During the regular maintenance work, no malfunctions have occurred so far that could indicate a defect", so the landratsamt on inquiry of the french day. A specialist company has been commissioned to "comprehensively check the fire alarm system for a possible technical defect and, if necessary, to carry out troubleshooting".

For the school kitchen, obexer proposes to connect the two smoke detectors in series. Should heiben: only if both strike, is alarmed. Not already, when a small water vapor cloud rises.

The BRK, which came on wednesday with an ambulance, does not charge for false alarms, says rescue service manager thomas heideloff. "That’s the order of the day." At the realschule hochstadt you can almost take it literally since wednesday.

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