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Siemens Sales Head responds to LFB's announcement of fine for more than 10 false alarms in a year

Published on 17 January 2014
Each detector is configured with a unique set of parameters for each location, enabling the system to differentiate between false fire phenomena

Siemens Sinteso fire alarm system is integrated with ASA technology making it efficient & reliable

False alarm callouts are costing London £37 million annually and the economy approximately £1 billion in lost productivity. The cost, risk to lives and drain on firefighting resources has led the London Fire Brigade (LFB) to announce a stringent, new rule which came into effect on the 01 January 2014.

LFB's stringent, new rule for more than ten false alarm call outs in a year

Organisations will now be fined £290 plus VAT if they have more than ten false alarm call outs in a year. Hospitals are among the most prolific offenders; large businesses, airports and student accommodation will also be fined under the new rule. The fine does not apply to care homes or domestic properties.

40,000 call outs, one third of all incidents for fire crews in London are due to false alarms from automatic systems. James Cleverly, chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, who made the decision for the charge, stated: “The vast bulk of automatic fire alarm calls turn out not to be fires, these are often caused by poor management or maintenance of alarm systems.”

Poor technology or mismanagement results excessive false alarms

Tony O’Brien, head of sales for Siemens Building Technologies Solution and Service Portfolio responds; “Fire alarm and detection systems should not cause false alarms; if an organisation suffers from excessive false alarms, it is down to poor technology or mismanagement. A false alarm is referred to as an ‘unwanted fire signal’ as soon as the fire service is summoned. There is a need to properly educate building and facilities managers about the benefits of the right technology to minimise unwanted alarms and how to properly maintain their fire alarm systems.”

There are a number of reasons for a false alarm. These range from steam, smoking materials, poor housekeeping, humidity and temperature change through to poor fire detection system testing and maintenance procedures.

Choosing and applying the correct fire detectors for the location and application reduces the chances of a false alarm from the detector itself. It is the responsibility of fire alarm companies to not only install and maintain the technology but also to advice on best use and minimisation of potential unwanted fire signals.

Siemens Sinteso™ fire alarm system features Advanced Signal Analysis technology

Tony O’Brien explains: “The Siemens unique Sinteso™ fire alarm system features advance intelligence which delivers the highest level of protection against all types of fire hazards. Its built-in intelligence means it can offer fast identification and early warning of fire, as well as eliminate potential false alarms due to environmental influences such as welding or steam, etc. The Sinteso system is constantly alert, evaluating each situation minute by minute and taking decisions on complex criteria to ensure a safe environment.”

Advanced Signal Analysis (ASA technology™) is integrated in the detector itself, making each device highly intelligent and 100% reliable. Innovative detection algorithms simultaneously convert signals such as smoke density and temperature into mathematical gradients and constantly evaluate according to present values. Carbon monoxide detection is combined with this unique technology providing optical, thermal and electrochemical CO sensors, which offer extremely fast detection as they continually monitor all three fire criteria – smoke, heat and carbon monoxide.

Each detector is configured with a unique set of parameters for each location, enabling the system to differentiate between false fire phenomena, such as steam or cooking fumes and a real indicator of fire.

False alarms contribute to downgrade of the fire service response

Tony O’Brien concludes: “Alarm systems save lives, protect your business, your reputation and property. As well as this they save the building and reduce the risk of having to make a large insurance claim. There is a danger that repeated false alarms can contribute to the downgrade of the fire service response. Furthermore, excessive unwanted fire signals can lead to complacency, putting lives at risk if and when there is a real fire.”

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