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Stern warnings after hoax fire alarms

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By Rod Edgar
Annan and Eskdale
Stern warnings after hoax fire alarms

A SERIES of false fire alarms at an Annan secondary school has tied up emergency resources - and caused misery for pupils.

Three false alerts at Annan Academy in the space of a week saw two fire engines forced to turn out on every occasion, and an entire school of nearly 900 pupils evacuated to the safety of playing fields in miserable wet and windy conditions.
Issuing a stern warning, a spokesman for The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “People who are responsible for hoax calls or deliberate false alarms risk lives and they need to think how they would feel if someone was killed or injured as a result of their reckless actions.”
Fire alarms were set off in the school last Wednesday, and again on both Monday and Tuesday.
Pupils were sitting exams on Monday, but these were not affected – on each occasion the alarm being set off during the last school period of the day.
The fire service note that each call to the school has tied up two fire appliances which might be needed elsewhere.
And a spokesman said: “If someone is trapped in a fire or after a collision then it’s vital our crews can get to them as quickly as possible.
“Having to attended needless actions means firefighters are unavailable to respond to real emergencies.”

As a result of the repeated false alarms, a fire officer has visited the school to reinforce that message.
While noting that the majority of pupils are responsible citizens, the fire spokesman added: “We are working with the school and our crews have spoken to young people to make them aware of the consequences of this sort of incident.”
Similarly, police in Annan, who have an officer stationed at the school, say they are working with Annan Academy to stop the incidents reoccurring.
A spokesman for Dumfries and Galloway Council said: “Over the past week, the firm alarm at Annan Academy has been activated, possibly maliciously.
“School staff are investigating the reasons for this. Until this investigation is concluded, it would be inappropriate for the school to comment.”

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