Reducing False Alarms
The safety of your business premises and its occupants can be greatly enhanced by the installation of an Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm System. When properly installed, used and maintained, it can be a significant factor in reducing the risk to life and limiting damage to your property, due to its fast response in detecting a fire. Unfortunately, the very features that provide this fast response can also produce false alarms, arising from other sources, such as cooking, steam, smoking, etc.
A false alarm is a fire alarm signal from an Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm System, due to a cause other than an actual fire.
If you are the ‘responsible person’ you have a legal responsibility to manage the fire protection measures in your premises. Failure to do so competently can lead to prosecution under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
This includes making sure that appropriate Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm Systems are fitted (where necessary) and that the premises, facilities, equipment and devices are maintained effectively and regularly and are in working order in order to safeguard the safety of people in the premises. The responsible person must also, where necessary, nominate a competent person to implement these measures.
The latest figures published by the government estimate that the cost of false alarms in the UK is around £1 billion a year. Much of this cost is borne from lost production and interruptions to business activities.
False alarms affect South Wales Fire & Rescue Service by:
If your system is monitored, before testing or doing any maintenance work on your Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm System you must inform your alarm receiving centre that the testing and maintenance is taking place and inform them when it is completed.
Also, ensure that:
Having an effective investigation procedure when the Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm System activates can limit the disruption caused to your business by false alarms.
Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm Systems are excellent at detecting a fire in the early stages. By having a strategy to investigate the cause of an activation the moment it happens, your staff can quickly identify false alarms, reset the system and return to work.
If you discover a fire or smoke as part of your investigation, do not put yourself or others at risk. Leave the premises quickly and safely, dial 999 and ask for the Fire & Rescue Service.
Please liaise with your Fire Risk Assessor in relation to the above.
NOTE: South Wales Fire and Rescue Service does not reset Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm Systems. Resetting the System without proper investigation could reduce the effectiveness of the subsequent investigation into the cause of the false alarm by a competent engineer.
For additional advice on reducing the number of false alarms please contact your fire risk assessor and your fire alarm maintenance company.
Additional advice can be found via the links below: