School fire alarm inspections due

Schools are to be inspected first month of each year

School fire alarm inspections for public schools are due in the first month of each year, according to Fire Prevention Officer Tina Choy.

As of Friday, 4 February, only two of the public schools had contacted the Cayman Islands Fire Department to schedule the inspection, and only one school has been inspected.

“There is a general inspection once they’re installed,” Ms Choy said. “The plans come to us, and we see if they are in compliance. We approve all the drawings and then there’s a physical inspection where we test the device and check to see if the alarm is installed according to the drawings.”

According to the fire code, she said, the schools are required to a test on the system and run a fire drill.

The false alarm that sounded in January at John Gray High School raised questions of how and when school fire alarms are checked and inspected.

Chief Fire Officer Dennom Bodden said that the owner of the building – in this case, the school – is responsible for the upkeep, maintenance and scheduling of inspections.

“(Fire alarms) are inspected by us, but they are maintained by the schools,” Mr. Bodden said. “We are responsible for the fire code upon installation.”

The principal at John Gray High School was contacted by the fire department about the inspection, which is set for next week.

The Caymanian Compass tried several times to contact John Gray’s principal, Aldin Bellinfantie, but hadn’t received a response as of press time.

Ms Choy said that the fire department tries to do random inspections every year, but one of their officers is on medical leave so the office is short-staffed, pushing the random inspections to later in the year.

“My daughter goes there and the teachers, when the alarm goes off, tell the kids to just stay in the classroom,” she said, adding that the school automatically assumes it’s a false alarm.

The false alarms at John Gray apparently sounded because of additional dust in the air from recent construction on the school campus. Parts of the buildings were being demolished, and it was playing havoc with the fire alarm systems, according to Ms Choy.

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