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August 22, 2019

Raising the bar of fire safety

A false fire alarm can prove a costly exercise for bars; an evacuation means unhappy customers, wasted drinks, and potential fines – amounting to a significant loss in revenue.

Malicious activations of manual call points hit a record high during 2018/19 contributing to the £1 billion lost every year in the UK due to false alarms, with each incident costing businesses an estimated average of £2.4k.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 dictates a ‘responsible person’ at your business must carry out a fire risk assessment, putting in place appropriate fire safety measures and plans for an emergency – this will include evacuation plans.

Evacuations as a result of a false alarm pose an unnecessary risk to both the public and emergency services, rendering your business vulnerable to financial loss. One bar in Liverpool lost more than £1,000 after fifty customers left without paying for their food and drinks after it was evacuated over a false alarm.

Manager of Panam Restaurant and Bar, Daniel Hesketh, said: “The whole industry is becoming harder and harder and the last thing we need is for people to walk off without paying for their food for something that wasn’t our fault and was completely beyond our control.

“We evacuated for diner’s safety, not to inconvenience anybody, but we compensated them anyway because we knew it wasn’t convenient.”

He added his Restaurant and Bar was not the only one affected that night, but other businesses had ‘just sort of accepted that people would walk off without paying.’

Busy bar areas are particularly prone to false alarms.

With false fire alarms accounting for 40 per cent of the 576,040 incidents attended by Fire and Rescue Services in the last year, wasting precious time and resources, many FRS have now taken the decision to recover costs from business owners who do not address their false fire alarm problem.

Should a customer trigger a false fire alarm maliciously they too could find themselves in hot water with heavy fines dished out to those who activate a manual call point whilst under the influence, being drunk is no defence for causing a false fire alarm.

Fire Safety Guidance from the Fire and Rescue Services for licensed premises reinforces the need to put a stop to false fire alarms within the industry; “Fire alarm systems should normally conform to the current edition of BS 5839, with consideration made for prevention of false alarms.”

In a recent revision to the BS 5839-1:2017, the British Standard Institute recommends, in section 20.2b) of the update, that:  All MCPs should be fitted with a protective cover, which is moved to gain access to the frangible elements.”

All manual call points that are placed in vulnerable areas of your bar should now be protected, without the need to consult a fire safety officer.

STI supply a range of protective covers, from integral covers to sounder models; there are variations to suit all applications. These covers are specifically designed to prevent false alarms whether accidental or malicious.

The Call Point Stopper is a protective cover ideal for bar areas at risk of accidental activation. The clear UV-stabilised polycarbonate cover does not restrict the legitimate operation of vulnerable call points, with a single hinge mechanism to access the call points – helping to distinguish the difference between a manual call point and a green electronic door release button.

If in addition to accidental, there is a risk of malicious activation, the Euro Stopper provides a versatile solution. The tamper-proof Euro Stopper retrofits over call points, protecting against false alarms in high volume areas, such as pubs, bars, and clubs.

The Euro Stopper prevents malicious or accidental activation of a MCP.

The Euro Stopper features the added benefit of an integral sounder, guarding against malicious activation – when the cover is lifted the 96 dB emits a piercing alarm drawing immediate attention to the area, acting both as a deterrent as well as an additional alarm in an emergency situation.

If further, more robust protection is still required, the Universal Stopper provides sturdy protection with a tough outer dome or low profile cover that can withstand the severest of knocks – the unit is also fitted with a 96 dB sounder to deter malicious activation.

Conforming up to IP66, the Enviro Stopper offers the same UV-stabilised polycarbonate protection with an optional localised alarm, whilst preventing ingress making it ideal for outdoor seating or smoking areas.

For further information on how STI’s range of polycarbonate protective covers can help prevent false fire alarms in your establishment, contact; sales@sti-emea.com, call +44 (0)1527 520 999 or visit www.sti-emea.com.


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