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Research makes recommendations for reducing false alarms

Live investigations into the causes of false fire alarms have resulted in 35 recommendations for their reduction.

The research project, conducted by BRE Global aimed to identify the fundamental causes of false fire alarms, utilising a fire alarm industry expert to investigate false alarms as they occurred in the field in the greater Glasgow area.

A comprehensive online questionnaire was developed by a stakeholder group (facilitated by the FSF Technology Workstream) to enable the fire alarm investigator to record all details of the false alarms attended.

The fire alarm investigator assisted Scottish Fire and Rescue Service crews as they attended live callouts and, following a comprehensive investigation, completed online reports for each false alarm.

Data from anecdotal accounts and from 65 false alarm reports, gathered from November 2014 to April 2015, have been analysed by BRE and reviewed by the stakeholder group, resulting in 35 recommendations that could significantly reduce false alarm occurrences, and contribute to the greater integrity and reliability of fire detection systems and management processes.

The recommendations cover such issues as the greater use of covers and side impact protection for manual call points, improving guidance to reduce false alarms from routine fire alarm testing, comprehensive recording and investigation of false alarm events, and the more effective use of existing technologies.

The research found that if manual call points and routine testing were prevented, this alone could reduce false alarms by approximately 20 percent. That equates to 58,000 false alarms a year, which in turn equates to annual cost savings in the UK of around £150 million.

The research also proposed organisations that should take responsibility for implementing the recommendations.

Visit the BRE website for further information, or download the report from the Technology Workstream

Research makes recommendations for reducing false alarms