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March 1, 2024

5 Reasons Why Reducing False Fire Alarms Should Be on Your To-Do List


Improve Building Safety: Make False Fire Alarm Prevention a Top Priority 

The persistent issue of false fire alarms continues to pose a significant challenge globally, placing strains on fire services, schools, businesses, and the public. Many buildings indicate false fire alarms as one of their primary fire safety concerns.

Various jurisdictions have attempted to mitigate the false fire alarm issue, often with less than acceptable results.

According to the National Fire Protection Association [NFPA] of Quincy, Massachusetts, fire departments in the United States reported 896,500 false fire alarms in 1980. Since then, this number has increased by over 230 percent to a staggering 2.21 million.

Those numbers are unacceptable. Failing to take effective action could result in severe consequences for citizens, building owners, and security officers.

Here are five reasons why reducing false fire alarms should be on your to-do list:

Reason 5. Disruption: False alarms cause unnecessary disruptions and productivity losses, impacting the effectiveness, efficiency, profitability, and services of schools and businesses. Evacuations disrupt the focus of students, patients, employees, staff, and customers, increasing the likelihood of distractions or patrons permanently leaving.

Reason 4. Unnecessary Risk and Panic: False calls endanger the lives of emergency responders and escalate the risk of fatalities due to traffic accidents while rigs rush to attend false alarms. They also induce panic on the roads or in buildings, potentially leading to injuries or health complications.

Reason 3. Complacency/Alarm Fatigue: Repeated false fire alarms can foster complacency among the public, diminishing their responsiveness to real fire alarms and increasing the potential for fatal incidents. Alarm fatigue occurs when frequent false alarms lead to a reluctance to heed warnings, leaving individuals vulnerable to safety hazards. If false alarms persist, people become conditioned to believe the warning is fake, and when a legitimate alarm sounds, it fails to attract the needed attention to the emergency. This complacency leads to a loss of revenue, a waste of resources, and the possibility of fatalities.

Reason 2. Cost/Lost Revenue: False alarms incurred over $100 million in costs for building owners in 2020. Additionally, they consumed $1.8 billion worth of police time and resources during the same period (Center for Problem-Oriented Policing). Evacuations promoted by false alarms result in productivity losses and potential revenue shortfalls for businesses. Building owners may face fines for repeated false alarms, further escalating costs.

The Number 1 Reason. Community Dependence: Advocate your role as a responsible community member by refraining from triggering false fire alarms, reporting suspicious activities, and setting a positive example for others. Your actions influence children, teenagers, and adults, shaping their behavior towards safety and responsibility. By maintaining high standards of conduct, you contribute to a safer community for everyone.

Many authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) recognize the false fire alarm issue is a multifaceted problem reaching epidemic proportions. Drastic measures, such as disconnecting manual pull stations, highlight the urgency of addressing this issue. Failure to implement effective corrective measures will have dire consequences for citizens.

Make False Fire Alarms a Thing of the Past

Educating building owners, inspectors, responsible individuals, and the public about proactive measures to prevent false alarms can significantly reduce their occurrence.

One immediate and effective solution to drastically reduce false fire alarms—and potentially eliminate them—is the installation of high-quality and dependable protective polycarbonate covers approved by fire marshals or Underwriter Laboratory (UL Listed). Clear covers, proven effective in the industry, can be mounted to the wall over existing manual pull stations, acting as a deterrent against false activation. The professionally engineered covers do not restrict a legitimate alarm from being activated.

STI’s Universal Stopper® protective cover is specifically designed to help discourage false fire alarms and accidental activation of manual pull stations. With over 40 years of proven effectiveness, this polycarbonate cover fits securely over fire alarms and is highly successful in protecting manual pull stations.


When the Universal Stopper cover is lifted, it flashes (STI-14000 series only), and a loud warning horn will sound locally. Immediate attention is drawn to the area before a false alarm is pulled. STI’s full range of covers offers excellent protection against false activations, physical damage (both accidental and intentional), dust and grime, as well as severe environments. Available in a wide range of sizes and mounting options for indoor or outdoor use. The covers are easy to install before a building is occupied or can be retrofitted while in operation. These high-quality covers are UL/cUL Listed and ADA Compliant, ensuring reliable protection.

40+ Years of Experience

Safety Technology International (STI) is a long-time trusted manufacturer of fire, safety, and security products that help deter false alarms, alert to emergency situations, prevent theft, and minimize damage to equipment in buildings worldwide.

For all your access control and fire alarm needs, STI offers a variety of cabinets, enclosures, cages, alarms and custom or touch-free buttons.

For over 40 years you can Rely on STI® for covers, cages, alarms and buttons.