Essex County Fire and Rescue Service Launches Campaign to Cut False Alarms

Published on: April 3, 2024

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is taking proactive measures to reduce the hundreds of false alarms it attends each year.

According to the latest statistics, firefighters responded to over 1240 false alarms in commercial buildings last year.

Group Manager Dave Bond, Head of Protection at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, emphasised the importance of the campaign, saying:

“Fire alarm systems are designed to provide an early warning of fire so that members of the public have ample time to exit a building and make their way to a place of safety.

“Unfortunately, the vast majority of signals from these systems are not generated by fire but other causes such as a fault in the system or cooking, steam, dust, smoking or vaping.

“This can lead to crews being turned out unnecessarily to what is a false alarm, otherwise known as unwanted fire signal.

“While we absolutely endorse the use of automatic fire alarm systems, it is imperative that these systems are correctly managed and maintained to minimise false alarms and ensure timely activation when required.”

The 1241 false alarms represent 47% of all incidents attended by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service within commercial businesses and buildings such as businesses, hotels, care homes, hospitals and schools.

Group Manager Bond added:

“False alarms are an unnecessary drain on our resources and add undue risk for our firefighters and the public from appliances responding to these calls under blue light conditions. They also disrupt and prevent our firefighters from carrying out essential training and home safety visits and business fire safety checks.

“For businesses it can result in an impact on costs including lost revenue and the real danger of staff becoming complacent.”

Businesses who experience recurring false alarms are urged to contact their alarm system company to investigate the cause of the false alarms. Failure to reduce false alarms may result in enforcement action by the fire service.

Group Manager Bond adds:

“Recurring false alarms can often be resolved quickly and easily, so we are urging businesses who experience recurring false alarms to investigate each occurrence in order find the cause. Although we do have legal enforcement powers on businesses that fail to reduce their false alarms, we want to remind businesses that we are here to provide support and guidance for all businesses in Essex.”

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s Business Engagement Team is available to provide support, advice, and guidance to any Essex business experiencing recurrent false alarms. More useful information is also available on the fire service’s website at www.essex-fire.gov.uk/falsealarms.

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