Pupils face exclusion after fire jokes

UP TO ten children could be excluded from school after fire alarms were set off four times in one day, automatically scrambling the fire brigade each time.

By Juliette Maxam

UP TO ten children could be excluded from school after fire alarms were set off four times in one day, automatically scrambling the fire brigade each time.

Clacton Fire Brigade sent a crew to Colbayns High School at 10.50am, 12.15pm, 12.50pm and 1.05pm on Wednesday after pupils activated the fire alarm.

Yesterday headteacher Nick Pavitt, said the school is taking the matter seriously and ten children aged between 11 and 14 have been questioned.


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He added: “We have talked to each year group today through assemblies, when we explained while the fire engine was here it could have been dealing with a fire or an accident.”

Once the investigation into the matter is complete, the children found to be responsible for setting off the alarms will be excluded, most likely for two or three days, depending on the pupil's general behaviour record.

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Mr Pavitt said fire alarms at the school usually go straight through to nearby Clacton fire station at evenings and weekends.

On Wednesday the system was not switched back to the school during the day.

“When one of the children set off the fire alarm it triggered it in the fire station and an engine came. Then another child thought it would be a fun thing to do,” said Mr Pavitt.

“It's a very regrettable incident. We will be working to make sure it doesn't happen again,” he added.

As a result of the incident, the school is setting up a scheme with Clacton fire station enabling children to spend one day a week with firefighters.

Clacton fire station's safety officer is also working with Mr Pavitt in the school.

Station Officer Nigel Dilley, of Essex Fire and Rescue Service headquarters, said: “Hoax calls cost lives. Don't make them. Firefighters cannot be in two places at once.”

Mr Dilley said most arsonists - especially those responsible for school fires - start out by making hoax calls.

He added hoax calls have been dropping in the Clacton area each year since 2000.

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