Reducing false alarms

False alarms from fire detection and fire alarm systems cost businesses and Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs) an estimated £1 billion a year in the UK

fire alarmIn the year April 2015 to March 2016 Avon Fire and Rescue service received over 15,000 incidents. Of those attended just over 5500 were false alarms. Half of the false alarms attended involved commercial premises.

Avon Fire and Rescue service is committed to reducing unwanted fire signals within its service area. The impact of an unwanted fire signal affects many people and can affect the availability of important resources.

All organisations are reminded that fire alarm maintenance, false alarm reduction and procedures to identify false alarms are the responsibility of the premises responsible person.

Under the regulatory reform ‘Fire Safety Order’ 2005 all premises have a responsibility to ensure they have appropriate procedures in place to manage false alarms within their premises.  

The national policy and guidance requires all premises with an automatic fire alarm system to have call filtering at the premises to ensure false alarms are identified prior to the Fire Service being called

Why it is important to reduce false fire calls

If an Automatic Detection and Fire Alarm System is correctly maintained, it can significantly improve safety by detecting a fire and sounding the alarm at the early stages of a fire's development. Unfortunately this equipment can also produce unwanted or false alarms.

The impact on the fire and rescue service:

  • Diverting essential services from real fires and rescues (putting lives at risk);
  • Unnecessary risk to crews and the public while responding (accidents);
  • Disruption to training, arson reduction and community safety activities (education saves lives); and 
  • Cost of attendance to Council Tax payers.

The impact on your business includes:

  • Down time from evacuations
  • Disruption to production
  • Annoyed customers
  • Fire service charge for attending

Cost to Your Reputation

  • Image of complacency about life safety
  • Loss of confidence from staff and the fire service
  • Risk of prosecution/charge

False alarms can cost lives

Free advice from your fire and rescue service, along with good fire alarm management, can help to ensure an effective and trouble free Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm System. For advice on how to reduce unwanted and unnecessary fire calls, please get in touch using our contact us page.

The Chief Fire Officers Association website provides some useful guidance on reducing false alarms.