The majority of the peripheral alarm systems installed by the Taipei Department of Education were found to be malfunctioning, failing to alert teachers and schoolchildren of an emergency, Taipei City councilors said.
Speaking at a Education Committee meeting, Taipei Councilor Chin Huei-chu (秦慧珠) said the alarms are “practically useless.”
Citing statistics from the department, Chin said that from January to December last year the department received 13,767 alarm calls from 19 elementary schools and 13,142 were false alarms, putting the error rate at 95.5 percent.
The error rate at the Taipei Municipal Xingan Elementary School on Renai Road, where alarms were set off 1,545 times, was 100 percent, which was the case at three other schools, statistics showed.
Taipei Councilor Tai Shi-chin (戴錫欽) said his assistant on Thursday morning climbed over the walls of Songshan District (松山) Taipei Municipal Minquan Elementary School to test the alarms and was able to breach the walls without triggering them.
His assistant stood between two sensors for 10 seconds and no alarms were sounded, Tai said, adding that his assistant later walked around the campus unnoticed and then walked out the school’s gates, saying “hello” to the school’s security guards on his way out.
Department Commissioner Tang Chih-min (湯志民) said the department would carry out inspections at all 32 schools with alarms this weekend to gain a better understanding of what might have triggered the false alarms and help schools identify possible blind spots.
Taipei Deputy Mayor Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) urged school administrators to improve security guards’ training to keep loiterers away from schools, adding that he would randomly inspect schools next week to review their work protecting students.
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