False fire alarms can cause a lot of disruption in homes and businesses alike. False fire alarms cost taxpayers over £1bn every year in the UK. And, with the risk of a fire department attending a false alarm and possibly missing a real emergency, common causes of false fire alarms need to be considered.
In reality, it isn’t so much due to fire alarm and detection systems causing false fire alarms, it is most likely because of lack of training, limited responsibility and everyday mismanagement.
Fire alarm system
A false fire alarm is essentially a signal from a fire alarm system that is not specifically alarmed by a fire. Since every fire alarm must be considered serious until investigated, a false fire alarm can cause a lot of unwanted disruption to the business and the building itself. Most companies will have a fire alarm system that alerts the local Fire Service, which creates a drama far more costly and time-consuming.
A false fire alarm can cause a lot of unwanted disruption to the business
Automatic fire detection systems will be installed in most commercial buildings to keep properties and occupants safe from the event of a fire. While a fire detection alarm is something essential in fire safety equipment, it can sometimes easily react to triggers that are not necessarily brewing fire.
Fire detection system
Triggers that set off a false fire alarm can be anything from smoke caused by cooking, cigarette smoke, aerosol sprays and even steam. Other reasons as to why a false fire alarm may occur are due to ill-suited locations or perhaps even due to vandalism. It is important to ensure you invest in a fire detection system that is high quality and well-maintained.
A good fire detection system should not produce more than one false alarm over any four week period. False fire alarms can affect both human and financial costs. Emergency services may attend a false alarm instead of a real emergency, leaving fire departments stretched and unavailable to those who need help.
Increased insurance premiums
It is still considered a safety issue as a false alarm can encourage staff to not respond
Although no real fire has taken place, it is still considered a safety issue as a false alarm can encourage staff to not respond as they should in the event of a real fire – which could result in serious consequences.
In terms of financial loss, a false fire alarm can cause loss of staff productivity, production efficiency, increased insurance premiums and, depending on the line of work, out-of-action machinery due to shutdowns caused by the alarm. For fire and rescue services, it is no question that false fire alarms cause a great strain on the department. Attending a false fire alarm can cost an immense amount of safety risk when fire crews are responding with blue lights driving through public areas. Not only that, it will affect an already tight budget and timeframe the fire and rescue service needs for real emergencies.
Automatic alarm system
Businesses need to ensure they have effective, working fire alarm systems in place due to the Localism Act 2011. This act states that the Fire and Rescue service can charge for their attendance of false alarms by regular offenders with an automatic alarm system.
Businesses must consider every precaution to avoid a false fire alarm
The charge can commence if the false fire alarm occurs in a non-domestic property and the resort is made due to incorrectly installed or malfunctioning equipment. Businesses must consider every precaution to avoid a false fire alarm. Ensuring that a regularly revised risk assessment is in place and that all fire protection equipment is up to date, as well as properly installed and maintained, is essential.
Performing risk assessment
Appointing a professional to perform a risk assessment is important, as they know to make sure everything goes ahead as it should and as safely as possible. Make sure that all employees, especially new members of staff, are properly educated and fully aware of the fire safety management put in place. If false fire alarms are happening regularly, the user must seek guidance from a specialist, who can look at the fire protection system in great detail.
Place the fire alarms in their correct locations, as with heat sensors, and ensure the user employ the right person with the correct training to be responsible for all fire processes and procedures. This person can also check that all fire alarms are working accordingly and record each time they are under maintenance.
Smoke curtain technology
False fire alarms cost more than just money. Every time one occurs, it can create a great risk to employees, the fire department and the business as a whole. Knowing the common causes of false fire alarms and ensuring the user takes the right precautions will ensure the user keeps false alarms at bay.
It is also crucial that the user invest in the correct fire safety protection. Coopers Fire is dedicated to advancing fire curtain and smoke curtain technology and improving ways to safeguard life and property. Get in touch with coopers fire to find out more about how the user can help protect the building from fire.