Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

HOWARTH HIGHLIGHTS COST OF FALSE FIRE ALARMS

  • Comment
False fire alarms threaten to overwhelm fire authorities' resources, Home Office minister George Howarth warned tod...
False fire alarms threaten to overwhelm fire authorities' resources, Home Office minister George Howarth warned today.

Nearly 40 per cent of all fire calls received in the United Kingdom are false. Recent figures show an annual rate of nearly half a million false calls, about a quarter of which were from automatic fire detection systems.

Mr Howarth said:

'False alarms are expensive, waste valuable fire brigade resources and increase the danger to the public.

'If a fire brigade appliance is investigating a false alarm, it is not there to respond to a real fire'.

'False calls from automatic fire detection systems have been increasing steadily in recent years - this reflects the increased numbers and age of such systems.

'If this increase continues we run the risk of overwhelming the resources of fire authorities'.

Mr Howarth was speaking at the launch of a joint initiative on managing false alarms held by fire chiefs and representatives of companies in the fire detection, alarms and extinguishing systems' field.

He explained that some approaches to tackling the problem are already in hand. These include user-friendly guidance for owners or occupiers of premises with automatic fire detection systems on ways to reduce the numbers of false calls, produced with Home Office assistance.

Mr Howarth pointed out that much can be done to improve the reliability of systems by using nationally agreed schemes and standards:

'Third party quality assurance can also offer great comfort to businesses, as a means of satisfying themselves that systems are designed, commissioned, installed and maintained properly and to a designated standard.

'This should help to reduce false calls due to equipment failure'.

'We have asked the British Standards Institution to look at the existing standard again.'.

The launch will be followed up by a seminar at the Fire Service

College and a series of workshops in the regions.

NOTES

1. The launch was held by the British Fire Protection Systems Association and the Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Officers' Association in Westminster.

2. In 1995, the most recent year for which statistics are available, there were 447,000 false calls.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.