What is the worst fire alarm fail you have ever seen?

Examples include: fire alarms that are falling off the backbox, keys left in pull stations, and general fails like a fire alarm being blocked.

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I don’t have a pic, but it was a completely shattered advance in a Home Depot


Yikes! That advance definitely needs to be replaced. Hopefully, they fixed it by now.

How about a fire panel that caught fire ! When customers call in they exaggerate and would like turn a little smoke into a 5 alarm fire. So I went out there expecting a component on the board smoked but sure enough, it had caught fire and the customer hit it with an extinguisher. Very embarrassing especially since we had installed it. Don’t have to tell you we never used that brand panel again.


Woah! That’s not good at all! What brand was the panel?

Well, I really didn’t want to bad mouth any one company. The reason we put it in was the supply company was pushing it and gave us an excellent price to try it. That obviously worked and we purchased it and never purchased another. I’ll give you a clue and you should be able to figure it out. It goes by three letters which are the first letter of each name. The last letter is where a chemist might work. Lol

Is it Electro Signal Lab (E. S. L.)?

Yes it was. Sorry about not replying before but I could not find where it was to respond

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I’ve had 2 service calls for panels with water leaks, but not just any water leak. These 2 specific water leaks literally damaged the panels from the inside. In both cases, water somehow got into the FA conduit leading to the FACP, and leaked right into the panel.

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Some jurisdictions like New York City don’t allow conduit to enter the panel from the top, for this exact reason.

Speaking of Home Depot, I saw this at one of their stores.

All I can say is “Really?”


I have a few. There was a Wheelock AS in the Garden Center at Lowe’s. It DEFINITELY was not weatherproof. I’d be surprised if it worked at all. Another is that my church has a pull station reset wrench in plain view inside an extinguisher cabinet next to a pull station.

I would have to say it would be a Simplex 2901-9840 mounted outside (I highly doubt that they are weatherproof) that is now dead.

I have seen a non weather proofed Gentex SHG outside a store
Not even under a canopy it was wide out in the open

found a painted simplex light plate with a L series mounted on it inside a mall


In a Safeway in flagstaff’ Arizona I saw a Wheelock ASWP mounted on a 2903 light plate

This fail was fond In a Parking Garage in Milwaukee. The Fire Alarm system was not going off and the panel was in Normal.

Well, the wall looks happy.

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I saw something similar at the national zoo in D.C

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Not the worst fire alarm fail out there. At one of the buildings I work at has a rotated RSS strobe in the restroom, same for the women’s Restroom.