Tag Archives: False Fire Alarms

False fire alarms “can cost economy £1 billion and stretch Fire Services” states Siemens Building Technologies

Siemens Building Technologies is warning UK businesses about the potential consequences of false fire alarms during the busiest period of the year. False alarms from remotely-monitored fire detection and fire alarm systems cost the UK economy an estimated £1 billion in business disruption* with 95% of automatically-generated alarms being proven to be false**. This places Fire and Rescue Services and the public at unnecessary risk.

“The majority of automatic fire alarm calls are proven to be false and often caused by either false fire triggers or the inadequate maintenance of alarm systems,” commented Don Scott, fire engineering consultant at Siemens Building Technologies.  “Christmas is already a time of heightened risk of fire for many businesses with the Fire and Rescue Services stretched to capacity across the country.  False alarms create further pressures when the Emergency Services have to challenge whether alarms are genuine before attending incidents – the time lost could end up costing thousands of pounds in repairs or, at worst, put lives at risk.”

Ionisation or single-sensor optical smoke detectors are a common cause of false alarm activations as they have difficulty in accurately distinguishing between airborne pollutants, such as steam, aerosols, dust, cooking fumes, insects, sparks, embers and a real fire. The incorrect siting of detectors can also be triggered if there’s excessive air movement from mechanical heating or ventilation.

FireProtection

Multi-sensor detectors are responsive to more than one fire phenomena (ie smoke, heat and carbon monoxide) and are proven to be more immune to false alarm phenomena, thereby giving fewer false activations. For more stringent applications, beam detectors, heat detectors and aspirating detectors are available.

Regular maintenance programmes

A regular maintenance programme ensures the correct functioning of a fire alarm system. Inadequate servicing and testing compromise safety. If an alarm system is ageing or becoming unreliable, replacement is advised when offset against the cost of disruption to a business. Generally, detectors should be replaced every ten to 15 years, depending upon the environment in which they’re installed and the manufacturers’ recommendations.

Dave Green, national officer at the Fire Brigades Union, added: “False alarms use up resources which could be better served elsewhere. They also increase response times to actual emergencies. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Fire Services should always be called when any alarm is raised.”

Green concluded: “Fire Services are under more pressure than ever before, dealing with more incidents and more fires, but with increasingly fewer firefighters. Since 2009, there has been a 23% decrease in the number of firefighters across the UK. This huge decrease in the number of firefighters has meant that preventative work, which would help to reduce the number of false alarms, has worryingly fallen by the wayside.”

Sources
*https://www.bre.co.uk/page.jsp?id=3527
**https://www.abi.org.uk/globalassets/files/publications/public/property/2018/07/abi-fpa-detection-demonstration-report-2018.pdf

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C-TEC to host live CPD-certified webinar entitled ‘Hush Those False Alarms’

With fire protection in flats, apartments and HMOs making the news for all the wrong reasons, C-TEC’s ‘Hush Those False Alarms’ webinar goes live at 11.00 am on 22 November. The Continuing Professional Development (CPD)-certified session is a perfect opportunity to become clued up on the current solutions available for reducing false alarms in HMOs and other areas by using mixed, conventional and hush systems.

The webinar will also explore how C-TEC’s BS 5839-6 Hush Button fire alarm solution is assisting landlords and building managers in better protecting their properties, while at the same time ensuring compliance with all of the relevant regulations and standards.

CTECWebinar

Andy Green, C-TEC’s marketing manager and one of the webinar’s hosts, informed Risk UK: “This CPD-certified event is an absolute ‘must’ for anyone who would like to know more about reducing false alarms and enhancing fire detection in houses of multiple occupation. We’ll also be hosting a live 20-minute Q&A at the end of the session.”

*To register access this link: http://www.workcast.com/register?cpak=5778363449402747&referrer=WCTEC

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BRE schedules Workshop to explore reduction of false fire alarms

Across the past 12 months, the Building Research Establishment (BRE) has been working with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to investigate the underlying causes of false fire alarms. The live investigations of false fire alarms research work is now complete and a briefing paper detailing the findings is available from www.bre.co.uk/firedetectionresearch.

The work has identified 35 recommendations for nine Stakeholder Groups that could lead towards a reduction in UK false alarms.

With the support of the Fire Industry Association and BAFE, the BRE is now scheduled to host a Workshop aimed at promoting the study’s findings, and is inviting key individuals that will adopt the recommendations from the Briefing Paper and reduce false alarms in their sector.

The Workshop is being held at the BRE’s Watford site on Monday 8 February. The overriding aim is to discuss and develop actionable methods for implementing the research findings as quickly as possible.

“Over the past ten years we’ve seen a reduction in false alarms,” stated Raman Chagger, principal consultant in fire detection at the BRE. “However, this is starting to plateau. The Workshop is aimed at reducing the more difficult false alarm causes.”

*For further detail send an e-mail to: conferences@bre.co.uk

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