How to Avoid False Fire Alarms
A new multi-stakeholder study has revealed that many false alarms could be easily avoided if basic fire equipment maintenance schedules are put in place.
The study, which began in December 2014 – involved the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), Association of British Insurers (ABI), British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE), Building Research Establishment (BRE), CBRE, CS Todd & Associates, Fire Industry Association (FIA) and Glasgow City Council – has already made some easily implemented recommendations.
Amongst the findings, fitting call point covers or stoppers to protect manual break-glass call points from accidental damage and using key switches to ‘turn off’ alarm signalling during regular weekly system testing, are all cited as simple ways to address the issue.
The survey aimed to identify the causes of false alarms triggered by fire detection systems. As a consequence, it suggests that changes to both British Standards and Building Regulations might be needed to minimise the risk of unwanted alarms.
Latest statistics from the UK Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) suggest they are called to more than 200,000 false incidents every year, with the total cost to businesses and the fire service exceeding £1bn.
Some fire crews, including Staffordshire Fire & Rescue are now not attending incidents where automatic fire alarms have sounded unless there is confirmation of a fire.
Says Jamie Allam: “Unwanted false alarm signals are already cited as a significant issue for Fire & Rescue services, and the new trends of only attending if a fire is confirmed is likely to resonate through the country, especially with the continuing austerity measures in place.
“What the report shows is really simple measures can be taken to ensure fire systems are maintained efficiently for the benefit of businesses and fire services, so they are utilised effectively for the protection of all staff on site. This is something we do as a matter of course for our clients, to ensure a reduction in the volume of unwanted false alarm signal incidents.”
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