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February 12, 2021

False fire alarms continue to cost the UK

More than 2,600 false fire alarms were maliciously activated across England in 2019/20 – disrupting schools and businesses, placing unnecessary strain on our emergency services, and reducing the confidence the general public have in fire alarms.

The latest Home Office figures reveal that there were a total of 2,650 false fire alarms caused by the “malicious activation of (a) fire call point/alarm” in England for the year ending June 2020 – surpassing hoax calls as the largest reason for malicious false alarms.

Accidental activations also remained a significant cause of false alarms in 2020; 14,606 false fire alarms were recorded due to the accidental and careless activation of life safety devices, such as MCPs.

Continuing to be the largest incident type false fire alarms accounted for 42 per cent of the incidents attended by Fire and Rescue Services in England in 2020 – fires accounted for just 28 per cent.

Costing the UK over £1 billion a year, false fire alarms continue to be a major issue; but what can be done to prevent this number from growing further?

As recommended in BS 5839-1:2017 manual call points can be fitted with a protective cover to prevent false fire alarms. The British Standard Institute recommends in section 20.2b), that: “All MCPs should be fitted with a protective cover, which is moved to gain access to the frangible elements.”

Following the introduction of the new recommendations in 2017 malicious false fire alarms have fallen by 12%, an indication to the effectiveness of protective covers, but every false alarm is still costly, contributing to dangerous alarm fatigue and heaping pressure on emergency services already stretched.

Safety Technology International manufacture a range of protective covers, from integral covers to outdoor and sounder models; there are variations to suit all applications. These covers are specifically designed to prevent false alarms whether accidental or malicious.

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