October 5, 2017 4:56 am

Vancouver Fire and Rescue says ignoring an alarm puts more than just your life at risk

File photo. Vancouver Fire Capt. Jonathan Gormick says ignoring a fire alarm puts more than just your own life at risk.

Jon Hall / CKNW

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services Capt. Jonathan Gormick says ignoring a fire alarm can be a deadly choice, and it’s something that’s being seen more often.

“There are always people who seem to ignore the warning bells and not evacuate the building,” he says.

“99 times out of 100, it’s probably not a problem. But it’s that one time when there is a fire that it could be a huge problem, and could be a life-threatening choice for that person.”

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Gormick says he can’t overstate the importance of evacuating if you hear alarm bells.

“Chances are it’s nothing. But the cost when it is something, if you’re still in the building, is huge for personal safety. It creates extra stress and extra danger for first responders, because now if someone is trapped we have to put ourselves at risk to go in and get them out. And if it’s needless, if they just ignored the fire alarm then that’s putting the lives of first responders in danger for no reason.”

READ MORE: Kelowna man credits smoke detector for saving his life

And a false alarm at a Surrey gym is raising exactly those concerns.

The fire alarm at the Newton location of Trevor Linden Fitness went off just after 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Minutes after the first bell rang a patron exited the building.

He had continued to shower through the sounds of the alarm.

Manager Ashly Killian says the experience has changed their safety protocol.

“If we do ever come across that situation again, [staff members] will physically check each shower stall to see if it opens. Same thing with the bathroom stalls in the other individual washroom.”

“We [have] a staff meeting monthly,” she says, “but probably every three months we would revisit those emergency procedures and make sure that everybody is comfortable with them.”

The building’s alarms underwent testing earlier in the week and were set off by activity next door.

Gormick recommends people try to sweep their building before crews arrive, if it’s possible.

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