Almost 9000 False Alarms Since 2013

25th May 2016

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In a recent report published by the Daily Post it has been revealed that firefighters from Wales Fire and Rescue Service have attended nearly 9000 false alarm callouts in the last three years. That’s an average of over 3000 a year!

Of the false alarms the Wales Fire and Rescue service have received since April 2013 over one thousand were related to alarms triggered by burnt toast and/or cooking, over four and a half thousand were as a result of automatic fire alarms  (AFA) being triggered and over two hundred were deemed to be malicious. Out of nearly nine thousand calls, only just over three thousand were considered to be with “good intent”.

Other reported reasons for unwanted fire signals include automatic fire alarms being triggered by cigarette smoke, aerosols and poor maintenance.

What are the consequences?

If a fire service is called out to attend an unwanted fire signal it means they are made unavailable to attend any other call outs. They will not be able to attend genuine callouts which puts lives at risk. The time spent attending false alarms could be better spent training firefighters, carrying out important maintenance on firefighting equipment or carrying out community fire safety work.

Frequent false alarms in a building can cause staff and/or residents to become complacent and less willing to react when an alarm is triggered putting lives at danger should a real fire occur.

On top of this, every time the fire service attend and alarm it costs money whether the alarm is genuine or not.

A change in policy

In 2015, in an attempt to save costs and reduce time spent attending false alarm calls, fire chiefs in North Wales changed their false alarm policy so that an emergency response would only be sent if a fire alarm was backed-up by a 999 call. While they will attend some automatic fire alarm calls, they will only mobilise where they have received confirmation or if there is genuine suspicion of fire.

Avoiding false alarms

There is a lot that can be done to help avoid false alarms. Unwanted fire signals can be greatly reduced by:

  • Ensuring that Fire Risk Assessments are kept up-to-date and reflect the conditions in your property.
  • Having a fire alarm system that has been properly designed, installed and commissioned.
  • Ensuring that fire alarm maintenance is properly carried out at the recommended intervals.
  • Fully investigating false alarms and ensuring that remedial action is taken to prevent unnecessary repeated instances.
  • Ensuring that potential fires are investigated and confirmed up with a 999 call.
  • Notifying the fire brigade to let them know that there is no need to attend if an automatic fire alarm is suspected to be false.

Eurofyre are proud, British manufacturers of specialist fire detection systems for commercial and industrial applications. Our range of products includes, but is not limited to, analogue addressable fire alarm systems, 2-wire fire detection systems, conventional fire alarm systems, aspirating smoke detection and video smoke detection.

Our expertise and experience enables us to supply complete systems for any application. Please feel free to get in touch if you need help with choosing the right system for your application or if you would like to discuss any of our products.

Mark Redfearn

Posted by Mark Redfearn

Mark is the technical services manager at Eurofyre.

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