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Everyday usability 21

Fire protection seen in way of cost reductions can lead to strange fire protection concepts.  One example occurred during the new building for tax collectors in Solingen (Germany). Costs for the new building lay in the range of 16mio €. However money seems to gone short specifically for installation of a fire alarm system. Some of the officials have a special task. In case of a fire it is their duty to blow a horn. The officials need to carry the horn everyday in a dedicated drawer of their desk. So they argue that fire protection of the building in according to the regulations even without those honks.

Instead of those honk why did they not install smoke detectors on the ceiling? This idea was maybe not considered due to maintenance and repair costs. I wonder what happens if one of those people is on holiday or ill.

Formal background to fire alarm systems is that an automatic fire alarm system is not required as long as all people are alert. If the building would foresee relaxation rooms an automatic alarm system would have been required. In this building further an alarm system via telephone is foreseen, the doorman gets signal and communicate the warning to all telephones in the house. Weakness is that people who are not at their place and in general not in the near of any telephone are not reached. To cover this case they did  foresee the manual usable honks.

Time will show if it is a reliable concept, therefore I guess the procedure needs to be active in the mind of the people and preferably be trained regularly. So the people can learn the procedure and retrieve it in an emergency case. Otherwise if it is not practise some people may forget it and rely to their flight instinct in an emergency case.

You can read details here. (unfortunately the article is German, but you may want to use google translator)

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