Time to tackle false alarms

Time to tackle false alarms
22 Feb 2016

Since 2001, the number of unnecessary call-outs of Fire and Rescue Service crews in the UK has more than halved. Nevertheless, false alarms remain a problem that needs to be tackled by businesses around the country, with installer support.

According to a 2015 Government report, false alarms are still responsible for over 215,000 call outs in England every year. This problem is seen throughout the UK. Of the 14,000 incidents attended by the City of Glasgow Division of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service alone in 2015, more than 40% were due to unwanted alerts. 

These false alarms have significant repercussions for both the UK’s fire services and for businesses. Not only do they distract fire crews from attending genuine incidents, they cost UK companies significant amounts of money from lost worker productivity – a 2015 Building Research Establishment (BRE) report estimates that the annual total is as high as £1 billion.

False alarms occur for many reasons, from burnt toast, to excess steam and dust, but, in most cases, they are caused by improper maintenance or installation of life safety equipment. There are simple steps that installers can take to help building owners minimise the instance of unwanted alerts, though.

By suggesting intelligent and reliable life safety systems to customers for example, and installing them according to manufacturers’ recommendations, installers can minimise the risk of performance issues from the beginning. Advising owners to carry out regular inspections and servicing of equipment and record them in a logbook, in accordance with BS 5839, can also help them identify patterns in the occurrence of false alarms, and stay on top of the required maintenance processes.  

In offering such guidance, installers can give building owners the information they need not only to prevent unwanted alerts, but to improve the safety of building occupants and avoid the legal and financial impact of false alarms too.

For more information, including a free-to-download white paper on the subject, visit www.hochikieurope.com/falsealarms. 

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