Possible $3000 Bill After Son Pushed Fire Alarm Button

Hello everyone / Today I had bad luck with my son’s school / My son is six years old in the first grade / He pressed the alarm button and caused a false alarm and two fire trucks came to school / The school principal told me about the possibility of getting a bill estimated at 3000 dollars / I tried to discuss with her and she told me that the school will not pay this amount if there is a fine that will be paid by the father / What should I do?

Thank you


    • +3

      The kid is 6 dude.

      As a side note I got to smash the glass when I was 29 and it was the greatest day of my life. Our workplace had a fire drill and told us to use the fire exits. I went down the fire exit and the bottom door was locked and you had to smash the glass to get out. After approximately 2 seconds of deliberation I smashed the glass and the door opened to freedom.

      Our next fire drill I excitedly ran down the steps to smash the glass again but alas, the door was already open and tape put over the glass.

  • +1

    Why you have to pay ? The school should have taken care of kids and they should have educated the kids not to touch fire alarm at school unless needed ?

    • +1

      Why haven't the parents educated their child not to touch things they shouldn't?

      Why is it always the schools problem? That's right, because parents want to be their child's best mate.

      • +5

        Yes, because in my house, I installed a fire alarm button just so I could teach my children to not touch it.

        It’s the schools fault for a: having a fire alarm system that can be activated by a 6yo, b: putting it at a height at which a 6yo could reach it, c: not telling the children not to touch it, d: inadequately supervising the child while they are in the vicinity of the $3000 per activation button.

        No, you’re right, it’s the parents fault, who were miles away at the time, for not sitting their child down and having and in-depth discussion with a 6yo about not pushing a fire alarm button. Surely that should be on the NAPLAN test…

        • My parents taught me not to touch it. I pointed at the big red button and asked what it was and they explained.
          Perhaps it's better to teach kids to ask questions when curious instead of trying things out physically first. The latter can be dangerous.

  • Where is this button located
    Was it in an area not accessible from children?
    If not, school is negligent and responsibile for the full bill.

    Fire alarm buttons in school environments aren't typically located in easy accessible areas to kids.
    If you son gained access to a secure or restricted area by their own means, then you may have a difficult argument.

    It is the schools responbilty to ensure the environment provided is fit for purpose.

  • -3

    Pay the fee. Why should the school pay for your child's mistake?

    • +10

      Why should the school pay for your child's mistake?

      Because the school is responsible…

  • tell em they're dreaming

  • +3

    Send him to China to work for Nike.

    • +3

      He will have the $3000 paid off by the time he is 46.

      • 46? I was quoted 64! Where to get that bargain? You need to post it as a deal here mate.

  • +1

    Give him the cane

  • Do not tell them that you don't hold a hose…

  • One time I had a brazier in the backyard and a neighbour called the fire brigade, who must have told them some BS for them to come sirens blazing. Instantly they say WTH and tell me it's legal and all good.

    Another time there was a decent sized electrical fire at my place that I put out myself, but I called the fire brigade to ask about the smoke, and if I should leave the house for a while to let it air out. Instead they said hey, "don't worry, we'll come around anyway, we have nothing to do, it'll help the new lads go through the basics of ventilating the property and doing all the checks for safety etc".

    • +1

      Yep - our fire control training, by an off-duty firey as is usually the case in Adelaide, were that an engine will be sent for the smell of smoke, with all lights and sirens blazing for the sight of smoke. and a full call for flames. None of these would be a " false" alarm.

      They prefer the annoyance of an unnecessary call to the tragedy of the smell of bacon and screams of trapped people.

  • Change schools if its a public school dont worry. Happens all the time when I went to a crappy western sydney school in the 2000s smoking kids tripping alarms and pulling the alarm to get out of school/exams

  • If your in VIC that figure sounds right 😷

  • getting a bill estimated at 3000 dollars

    Sounds about right if it's coming from the alarm monitoring company…

    • The fire services have a right to issue a fine. I'd be quite annoyed if rent-seekers were entitled to issue anything more than an invoice for costs…

      • some monitoring services pad the bill with admin fees…

        Don't know how it operates down there … may have been direct to depot.

  • +4

    Hope this helps. You may have to do further research.

    https://www.frv.vic.gov.au/fire-alarm-systems: (Victoria)

    Building owners or managers are responsible and accountable for the payment of false alarm charges resulting from preventable false alarms.

    If you believe that a building owner or manager is seeking to recover the cost of a false alarm charge from you unfairly or unlawfully, it may be helpful for you to seek legal advice from an independent advisor.

    https://www.fire.nsw.gov.au/page.php?id=77 (NSW)

    Billing of charges
    FRNSW invoices the AFASP, which in turn invoices building owners or managers.

    AFA false alarm charges are the responsibility of the person/s who has entered into a contractual agreement with the AFASP.

    FRNSW does not support charges being passed on to individual occupants, although exceptions may apply.

  • +9

    Don't worry about it

    Tell your son to enjoy being a 6 year old and not to do it again

    There's no way this fine will eventuate

  • +6

    My son is six years old in the first grade

    School had a Duty of care

    Teacher in charge should pay the fine… Nothing to do with the parents.

    • Sure they do take have some degree of duty of car,
      Especially given when the parent wasn't even there at school (and hence could have absolutely in no way controlled son's direct actions at that time)

      I mean parent could teach their kido better at home but other than that not much parent can do.

      • +5

        I mean parent could teach their kido better at home

        The kid is six, not sixteen…

        Do you think all parents teach their 6yo that pushing a fire button is a $3000 fine?
        Is that reasonable ?

        What is reasonable is that the school or fire brigade have taken steps so that 6yos do not push the button.

        • +1

          Thay is the best answer on the forum.
          You look at issues like these as system issues. Of a 5 year old can easily activate an alarm, the the system isn't working as it should

    • This is not on the teacher either imho.

      • +1

        It's whichever adult was responsible for the child when it happened.

        • +1

          It doesn't work like that though. It has to be foreseeable.

          The teacher could be liable if he or she knowingly allowed the kid to fiddle with the fire alarm for example.

  • +6

    I'm going to be real and say, if they seriously want to ask for money from the parents of a 6 YEAR OLD BOY PRESSING A BUTTON, this country is doomed.

    Screw them, take it to Television. The people in this thread saying anything other than it being completely unacceptable for a kid to be held responsible for pressing a button, and I don't even care if it was a big red Nuclear Missile Launch button, it's just not on my friend.

    Anyway if you PM me I will personally contact said school and solve this for you. I want to apologise on behalf of the absolute mental patients of this nation who are in our midst, phoning it in on a regular basis like NPCs.

  • Your son is 6 years old. No one is billing him. Only a high schooler should be held responsible.

  • +6

    He is underaged and must be with a guardian who will be responsible for his actions. He will not be held responsible for this. When at school, the school is in the capacity as his guardian, so either the teacher or the principal pays…not you as parent. He is not under the parental supervision how can they blame you?

    Tell your boy take it easy, not a biggie but learn the lesson. Then over and move on. He must have a tough day at school already so don't make it harder at home.

  • +1

    gotta love ozbargain for all the free parenting advice.

  • +3

    Nek minnit the principal joins ozbargain asking for advice on how to get a parent to pay a $3000 fire alarm bill

  • +1

    Unless it's a recurring event, it's highly unlikely that they would charge anything. If they do bill the school, definitely don't pay it without a fight. It's a 6 year old. While unfortunate, these things happen and the school definitely has some responsibility. Not to mention that $3k is a drop in the ocean for them.

    As an absolute last resort if things go badly, you can always go to the media (or a simple threat is probably more than enough). They would backtrack so quickly in a situation like that.

    If your son is a troublemaker and he intentionally does stuff like this all the, then that's a completely different matter of course.

  • +7

    I would honestly really feel sorry for my son, he probably feels terrible, embarassed and confused by it all, if it was an honest mistake.

    I would sit him down calmly, ask him what happend and understand why he did it, then explain why the fire trucks came and/or the school got evacuated and how important it is that false alarms aren't made and we don't waste the firey's time and why (ie. it may stop them from going to another building on fire and saving lives). He will understand and learn this lesson in time. Give him a hug and reassure him it will be all be fine.

    I find it funny how everyone here is panicking about the $3,000. Kids cost money to raise, and kids make mistakes - just make sure they learn from their mistakes and not repeat them in the future =)

    • +2

      At last - someone who can see the important action to be taken.
      This is the only parenting advice justified in this whole thread.

    • You're a great dad.
      I still ldont think the child's parents should foot the bill. However, that whole statement, made me appreciate how great some parents our there really are.

  • +5

    Change schools…

    Obviously your child is not supervised appropriately

    Who installs a fire alarm where a 6 year old can get to it??

    And what principals thinks intimidating an adult is a reasonable response??? Imagine what level of intimidation is occurring to small children….

    Get your child away from that school And be grateful you saw through their bullshit early

    • OP should request the department of education to change the school’s principal instead of telling OP son to go to another school.

  • +2

    It is the school's problem - it is up to the school to supervise your child. The school can discipline your child, but cannot impose a financial penalty to recoup losses from your child's behaviour. The bill is sent to the school, not to you…if they pass it on, kindly return it.

  • +4

    Legally, the school is responsible, because he’s under their care
    Do not pay

  • -1

    does your son suffer from any behavioural or cognitive issues?

    • +4

      His parent is on OzBargain…

  • +3

    If I were to disagree with a teacher regarding discipline of my child in their classroom, I would no doubt be told that the school has responsibility. Were my child to misbehave on the bus on the way to of from school, the school would claim the right to discipline them - as they would during weekend sports meetings.

    I have a rule in life - I acknowledge authority to the extent that the person claiming it accepts responsibility.

    The child is well under the age of legal responsibility, and you were in no position to affect your son's actions and had relinquished the right for discipline and control to the school.

    Your son was under the care and control of the school - a care and control that they failed at.

    I would point this out in a registered letter, with a copy to the school board and the local education minister - along with my commiserations for the teacher whose pay will be docked…

    • -3

      Calm down mate, the histrionics don't help.

  • +1

    We had a boy in our primary school who did this probably 3 or 4 times that I remember. Apparently he liked fire trucks and loved to guess which number truck would turn up. Didn't realise the cost involved each time. Ouch. Thinking back about it, I doubt very much that his family would have been able to even pay their regular house bills on time and the principal was really quite annoyed about it.

    Edit: The fire station was about one block away which may have helped.

  • +3

    0% chance you're going to get a $3k bill for something like this. The firies would only charge the school if it kept happening repeatedly.

    Clearly the school needs to educate the kids.

  • +2

    He is a 6 year old child and he nor his parents should be held liable. He was in the care and custody of the school at the time and they should accept some responsibility. Did the school adequately asses this as a financial or safety risk? What were the mitigating factors put in place to minimise the risk?

    It takes a village to raise a child not just the parents. Sure he should receive a punishment appropriate for a 6 year old, but suggesting the parents should cough up is a poor reflection on our society.

  • +2

    Fire alarms within reach of 6yos - is this a thing now? Are they common in primary schools?

  • +1

    Doubt you will be fined, 1st offence, child, if anyone had a duty would have been the teacher, Principal playing hardball etc. On the other side of the coin, probably don't want to hear….Is your kid a trouble maker , a bully , rebelling? Starting early at 6, You may want to nip it in the bud before you see him on Australia's most wanted in 20 years…( maybe a bit of an exaggeration but you know what I mean)….. Good luck but as I said doubt you will be fined,

    We had the fire brigade come out one night because mum ( was elderly at time) had done a bbq and thought the ashes were out and threw them against the back fence about 9pm the fire brigade turn up, nothing happened.

  • +2

    Anyone else think the principal is pulling their leg because they are migrants from NESB? They wouldn’t even try this BS to other families

  • +2

    Sounds like the principal also needs to be disciplined

  • +1

    Fire department should make this into a positive by coming back to the school to teach some fire safety after the school and dad pay half each. Get the son to be involved in the teaching moment in a non mocking way and it helps out the other kids as well.

    I understand that it is serious but the child did not know of the consequences of such actions.

    • And OP pays another call out lol

  • This is just a shot across your bow from the principal so that you discipline your kid.

    It's highly unlikely the fire dept would charge out 3k for this.

    • But while the kid is at school the school, not the parent, is 100% responsibl;e for discipline. That is the legal position. Anyway the kid is 6 FFS!

  • +2

    All children make a mistake at some stage whether he knew the consequences of it is the question. His only 6 years old.

    Did the school instruct all children as to not to touch those alarms? and where are these alarms located?

    I doubt you have a fire alarm at home so he has some reference.

    It never occurred to me to tell my boys to not touch the fire alarm at school we have though have said on multiple times listen to your teachers.

    I just asked my 9 year old about this and he knows nothing about fire alarm buttons just what the alarm sounds like and where to go through fire drill practice.

    Ignore some of the negative comments here about parenting they either don't have children or they don't have a qlue as to what there children get up to.

    Or their children haven't made a mistake yet (doubtful) and their children most certainly will.

    We all just hope our kids make small mistakes and learn from them and not the big life changing mistakes.

    ALL children make mistakes as to having to pay this I dont think/hope it comes to that.

    • +1

      I doubt you have a fire alarm at home so he has some reference.

      This is probably the most important part that all the "PaReNtS PaY. He ShOuLd hAvE BeeN tAuGhT BeTTeR aT hOmE" commenters seem to ignore.

      Who has a (fropanity) fire alarm button at home mounted the same way as a school and has confidently trained a 6yo to comply with how to use said button?

    • -1


  • Outcome: This thread plus fun and games for parents, fire department and school community

    Total cost to student: $0

    Child OzBargainer status: Platinum

  • Agree with everyone above. The school should have taken responsibility to ensure the child does press the fire alarm for no reason.

  • +1

    The fire dept may have a legal right to charge the building owner/manager/tenant. But this does not mean the tenant (the school) has any legal right to seek reimbursement from a minor or any random person who triggers the alarm. If it is a private school, you ought to check the terms if the contract but otherwise just laugh in their face. And set off the alarm again.

  • +1

    Pretty sure it's not that much. My work place at CBD Sydney had a birthday party and the smoke from the candle triggered the smoke alarm, two fire truck came and we managed the building, i heard the work place paid 800-900 bucks for false alarm.

    • It's already been pointed out in this post that in Victoria the charges for false alarms are now legislated to be $578 per truck per 15 minutes

  • I'd ask the Principal what training did they give to your 6 year old to prevent them from engaging the alarm.

  • The alarm should be 3m off the ground not at infant impulse level. I'm surprised it doesn't get pushed every week.

    • +2

      How tall is your ceiling lol

      • +2

        Maybe 2.5m would be high enough.

        • +2

          My God man, please stop. Most women aren't even above 165cm, would they need to jump to reach it? Lord these nuts.

  • As a CFA volunteer, if you do get that bill just write to the brigade, to be honest if that happened at our brigade we would use this as an opportunity to train the community via our socials, if its a metropolitan fire brigade then it may be different. My advice would be to wait and then call the brigade and let them know the story. We're all human. Hope the little fella has learnt the lesson and is not too upset about it.

  • +2

    I feel sorry for the kids teacher, looks like they are gonna get fired soon reading from the comments here.

  • -3

    What can you do. Your son pressed the button… and must pay the consequences

    • +4

      You really think a 6 year old kid understands the consequences of actions like that. They probably s hit their pants still. 100% School's fault for allowing this to happen.

  • +1

    Absolutely not lol your son is 6 and does not have any capacity to understand the action taken. The responsibility is on the school for allowing a toddler to press a bit red button which is extremely reasonably foreseeable. Tell them to go f uck themselves, and that you are interested in reviewing their supervision, procedures and safety assessments if a 6 year old is able to so easily cause 3k worth of damage.

    • Absolutely agree.

  • +3

    School / teachers responsibility to look after your children and make sure they don't stab each other to death / run onto the street / pull fire alarms while not in your care

  • Seems like the alarm is placed in an incorrect location. Find out where was it installed and did they followed the guidelines on switch installation. Also it should be schools responsibility to teach their staff and students that only fire warden can operate the switch and the possibility of fines for improper use. If they did not take precautionary actions, it is their responsibility. Also, i thought that you have to break a glass to reach such switch. Was there any such protections?

  • Hello,

    Couple of things:
    I'm not sure where you are but normally commercial buildings are granted 1 free false fire alarm per year. So the school may not be charged.


    You can say, I'll pay the fine if you can provide the invoice. Normally these people are really slow at providing invoices, at times can be 6-9 months. But generally speaking, the person that triggers it are responsible. It's also not $3K, normally its $1,600 + 160 admin fee +$16 GST so for me, its $1,776.

    • No. OP has ZERO civil liability for even an older kid's actions while they are at school, let alone a 6 year old's. The school is always a child's legal guardian ("in loco parentis") while they are at school. OP should pay absolutely nothing as the school does not have a leg to stand on.

  • +2

    He pressed the alarm button and

    School at fault, clear and obvious.

    1. No supervision. Where was the supervising staff? How about touching a power point instead? Pathetic!

    2. Alarm button installed at a high accessible to children. How stupid could they be?

  • +1

    In a primary school I would expect the fire alarms or electrical sockets etc to be out of reach of kids ?
    Small children will do stupid things but isn't it the schools responsibility to position these things accordingly.

  • +3

    Lol the school is dreaming if they think they can bill the parent for that.

  • Most schools/hospitals are directly linked to emergency services.

    We used to get 2 free passes a year for accident alarm trigger where I worked at a hospital

  • To many comments to read through. Did it have a plastic cover over the glass plastic that you have to push. It's part of the latest Aus standard. I'd be arguing at a school with children this would be mandatory..

  • Reminds of the fire alarm that my wife and kid accidentally set off 3 years ago..as we were new to this country and didn't know the procedures, they waived off the fine as a one time pardon.

  • I'd say it's legally unenforceable against the parent. Just a nervous principal trying to cover himself.

  • +3

    Give them $6,000 and say the extra $3,000 is a prepayment on the next prank

  • no worries, no birthday presents for the next 10 years …

  • Show him discipline unless he is an Australian Cricketer

  • Thats an expensive lesson. If the principle cant be reasoned with. Maybe the Fire Station Chief can be.
    My 5 yo daugther went to a Fire and Rescure open day and they were awesome with kids. I am sure they understand your situation.

    ** Heck I am waiting for the day when my daugther sets of fire alarms to see them again. Knock on wood.

    • It's an expensive lesson FOR THE SCHOOL. The school is the legal guardian of the child while he is at school - any damage the kid causes has to be paid by them. OP has zero obligation to pay - legally it is literally nothing to do with him.

  • Don’t pay it.
    If they try to get rid of you and your kid, take them to the cleaners. Kids at the age of 6 will do dumb shit. Haven’t read the whole thread but did the fire alarm have glass over it?

    Don’t pay!

  • +3

    Relax bro firies aren't gonna send you an invoice. State service charging the state is just convoluted.

    If they do, tell them to come after your kid who pulled the latch.

    lol. Love to see that hold up.

    In all respect to the principle, they don't know what they're talking about.

    • More likely the principal is bluffing than that he's ignorant. Surely no-one gets to be a school principal without being aware of the very basic law around such a position - that is, that while the child is at school the school is his legal guardian, with both the rights and obligations guardianship entails. That means anythng the kid breaks the school pays for.

  • You can do the following:
    - ask for leniency
    - pay the penalty
    - weasel out by ignoring it and changing school

    Your choice. Just make sure your son doesn't start go press every red button/ break every glass where ever he goes moving forward.

    Take care

    • Or you can just throw the bill in the bin. Its totally unenforceable as legally the kid is entirely their, not OP's, responsibility while he is at school.

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