Virtually every day, stories about vandalism in schools appear in the press, all with one consistent theme. The vandals and criminals discharge fire extinguishers in the facilities causing substantial damage, evacuations, school closings and costly cleanup charges. Here are some stories about schools that have been subjected to fire extinguisher vandalism in just the past few weeks.
Fire Extinguisher Vandalism Rates Increase at St. Boneventure University
According to a recent article in the school newspaper, The Bona Venture, Fire Extinguisher vandalism and misuse rates have increased dramatically campus wide in the last several weeks. Misuse of this vital fire safety equipment has resulted in mass student evacuation from buildings and residence halls and costly cleanup projects. As Ralph Aloia, the deputy director of safety and security for the university points out:
"The cost of a fire extinguisher itself is around $70; however, the cost to the community could be their safety, welfare and health," Aloia said. "When extinguishers are taken from their intended area and discharged, the potential cost of personal-property damage and life safety from fires to others is a huge issue."
"It is only a matter of time when a fire happens again," he said. "The history of the university speaks volumes about fires here. The community needs to come together about disregarding each others' safety. How would one actually feel if they knew their actions led to someone getting severely hurt?"
We couldn't agree with Mr. Aloia more. Fire extinguishers extinguished approximately 5.32 million fires in the US last year, and ensuring that these vital pieces of life safety equipment are where they are supposed to be, available, accessible and functioning properly is what en-Gauge was founded to accomplish.
Vermont School Vandalized for the Third Time This Year
A tiny Vermont school district has been burglarized and vandalized three times so far this academic year. As Vermont TV station WPTZ.com reports:
Vermont State Police are investigating a burglary at the Twinfield Union School early this morning, the third break-in in the tiny district this academic year.
Superintendent Nancy Thomas said a damage estimate was not yet available but she said there was broken glass, fire extinguisher residue all over and office equipment was stolen.
The 440-student K through 12 school was closed Monday for cleanup but will reopen on Tuesday.
As a community, when a school is forced to close for a day due to fire extinguisher vandalism, what is the economic impact? How many parents need to take a day off from work? How much lost productivity does this result in? The cost is a lot higher than a custodian's time to thoroughly clean a building.
Vandals Trash Special Needs School, Discharge Extinguishers
In a sad story, vandals in California broke into a special needs school and caused significant damage to the Richard Henry Dana Exceptional Needs Facility and the elementary school next door. In each instance, there was significant damage to the facility and the locations were coated with residue from discharged extinguishers. Watch this segment from KABC in Los Angeles to see the damage.
As you can see in the video, the police investigators don't hold out much hope that the criminals will be caught. Another benefit of electronically monitoring fire extinguishers is that alarms can be triggered when an extinguisher is pulled, resulting in a rapid response to situations like this.
Oklahoma City School Vandalized, Thousands in Damages
According to KFOR, Channel 4 in Oklahoma City:
A metro elementary school was targeted by vandals over the weekend. Officials say the vandals caused thousands of dollars in damage and it's not the first time this school has been hit recently.
Principal Phillip Cunningham said, "Everything was on the floor, fire extinguishers discharged, a lot of equipment broken and damaged."
These types of stories are all too common. With budgets tight and school boards struggling to stretch every dollar, losing days to cleanup or fire damage is unacceptable. To learn more about how to ensure your school is protected with electronically monitored fire extinguishers, contact en-Gauge today.