Frequent false alarms make residents complacent

With fire alarms going off as frequently as twice a week, often in early morning hours, residents have taken to ignoring them, which can be dangerous.

Reem Island resident Mohandas Nair: ‘Being an engineer, I can understand the reason why alarm drills are necessary, but the consistency with which it’s happening is unbearable.’ Delores Johnson / The National
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ABU DHABI // Residents have become complacent about fire alarms because of too many drills and false alarms, which can occur as often as twice a week.

“It’s become a nuisance,” said Mohandas Nair, a Malaysian who lives in Abu Dhabi’s Oceanscape building on Reem Island. “I’ve lived here for a year and it happens two to three times a week, sometimes early in the mornings at 4am or 5am, which is very scary.”

With three alarms in his apartment, he has raised concern about false alarms many times.

“Being an engineer, I can understand and appreciate the reason why it happens, but the consistency with which it’s happening is unbearable,” he said.

“They can adjust the sensor’s sensitivity, which they should have done a long time ago.”

His neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, agreed.

“The fire alarm keeps going off at random times and I think it’s because there’s no exhaust fans built into the building,” she said. “I cooked a steak once and I think it went off because of that.”

She said it was terrifying when the alarm, located above her bed, went off in the middle of night.

“It’s like crying wolf, so you never know if a real one goes off,” she said. “I have a backpack packed and ready just in case.”

Irem Bilgic, a Turkish resident in The Torch tower in Dubai, said the building used to have frequent alarms to which she would not react.

“I knew it was a drill,” she said. “We would never be informed of anything else. It’s only now that we take it more seriously.”