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Preventing False Evacuation and Nurse Call Alarms

Posted by Simone Poulter | Aug 23, 2023 1:31:13 PM

When installing smoke alarms, evacuation systems, or nurse call systems at your workplace there is always the potential for false alarms. These erroneous reports of emergencies can lead to unnecessary panic and the misallocation of resources, such as emergency response personnel and carers, to places where they are not needed.

False alarms pose a significant risk, as they can divert emergency responders away from genuine emergencies, with the worst outcome a loss of life. Repeated false alarms in a specific area can also lead worker to develop alarm fatigue, causing them to disregard an alarm, assuming it's false.

When considering an emergency alert system, it's crucial to consider how that system addresses false alarm prevention as part of your purchasing decision. Neglecting this can have costly consequences for you and your business.

Authority Protocols

If your workplace utilises an automatic or semi-automatic emergency alert system, where sirens, lights, and other devices are triggered in the event of an emergency, workers and emergency response personnel will be promptly informed and directed to take immediate action. However, if this requires a site evacuation, it can be time-consuming for workers to evacuate the premises, gather at the designated area, address the emergency (such as a fire or chemical spill), authorise re-entry to the site, and resume work. This process can be more time consuming if there are third parties present, such as visitors or individuals with mobility limitations. If the alarm is false, this is a huge loss of time and productivity.

To prevent false alarms you can introduce an authority protocol. Depending on the system configuration, this would require some sort of approval from management before audio and visual alert communications - such as evacuation sirens or nurse call messages - are activated. 

By request, Vanguard Wireless system users can introduce a false alarm prevention protocol to their evacuation systems, so if a worker presses a physical evacuation trigger, connected evacuation sirens do not sound until nominated personnel approve the evacuation.

Training & Education

To prevent false alarms, it is crucial to ensure that workers have a clear understanding of how to operate the equipment properly. This includes knowing which buttons activate an alert and when it is appropriate to escalate an event to an evacuation or nurse call alert.

To mitigate these false alarms, businesses should incorporate comprehensive emergency event training into the induction process for new workers and provide regular refresher training for the existing workforce. In addition, clear signage should be placed next to triggers to guide workers on the appropriate steps to follow during an emergency. It's important to regularly test your emergency response processes in conjunction with your workplace emergency plan to ensure that every team and department understands the necessary actions.

Vanguard Wireless provides informative posters that can be hung near triggers. These posters provide instructions on how to trigger an evacuation or nurse call alert in various locations such as construction sites, industrial facilities, warehouses, and more. Additionally, Vanguard Wireless supplies other posters that can be hung in site offices or first aid rooms, guiding users on how to effectively manage evacuation or nurse call emergencies through the control panel or smartphone app.


Effective communication is paramount during emergency situations as it plays a crucial role in preventing harm to individuals, particularly in times of chaos and confusion. However, miscommunication risks are heightened during emergencies, which can result in false alarms when equipment is used incorrectly or at the wrong time. For instance, pressing the evacuation trigger button instead of the nurse call button.

To address this issue, Vanguard Wireless employs colored backboards for our triggers and sirens, clearly indicating whether the device is for a nurse call event or an evacuation event. Event information is seamlessly transmitted to the control panel and smartphone app, enabling users to promptly respond to the situation and escalate it if necessary. The result is a system that is easy for workers at all levels to use, underpinned by smart technology.

Preparation and Prevention

Understanding how false alarms could occur at your business is the first step to developing strategies for false alarm prevention. Review what you need to do to empower your workers, and make sure you select the right evacuation and nurse call systems that support your emergency response processes. 

Topics: medicalemergencies, evacuationsystems, nursecallunits, nursecall, medicalalertsystems, nursecallsystems, nursecallsystemsydney, nursecallsystemmelbourne, evacuationsystemmelbourne, evacuationsystemsydney, evacsystemaustralia, evacsiren, nursecallsystemconstruction, nursecalltrigger

Written by Simone Poulter

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