East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service logo
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service logo
False alarm reduction

False Alarm Reduction

In  the year 2014/15 we responded on to 8,776 incidents. Of those, 4,424 (50%) were false alarms including 3,032 from automatic fire alarm systems.

Smoke Detector

Why we must reduce alarms

Impact on the Community

  • Disruption of business (unnecessary downtime costs whilst building is evacuated, loss of business, disruption).

  • Unnecessary risk to public from responding fire engines.

  • Complacency "oh it's just another false alarm" - reduces effectiveness of management plans and safety of staff.

  • Cost to business of Retained fire fighters being released for duty.

  • Impact on the environment of unnecessary appliance movements.

  • Cost of attendance to Tax payers - Council Tax.

Impact on the Fire & Rescue Service 

  • Diverting essential services from real fires and rescues (putting lives at risk).

  • Unnecessary risk to crew whilst responding (vehicle accidents).

  • Disruption to crew's training, arson reduction and community safety/ fire safety activities.

  • Cost of attendance to the Fire Service.

  • Wear and tear on vehicles.

How we will do this?  

  • Encourage AFA protected site managers to be more proactive about false alarms.

  • Set up Call-Filtering procedures with Fire Alarm Monitoring Centres and in our own Sussex Control Centre  to ensure appliances are not mobilised to confirmed false alarms. 

How can you help?  

  • Remember, fire alarm systems are there to alert occupants to the fact that there may be a fire and depending on your fire risk assessment and emergency plans, it is normally appropriate to investigate first and only to call the Fire Service if / when there are any signs to indicate that there is actually a fire.

  • If you have an automatic alarm system, make sure it is installed properly, that you know how it works and it is serviced regularly by a competent person. The British Standards Institute's BS 5839 has recommendations for the planning, design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of these systems. If these are followed, a false alarm issue is unlikely to occur.

  • Best practice requires that false alarms are logged and investigated so that any patterns and trends are identified and dealt with.

  • Be aware that steam and dust can trigger alarms and take precautions when possible.

  • Ensure staff and/or residents know what to do when the alarm goes off.
If you do have a fire, please call 999 immediately. Please do not put yourself at risk and only attempt to use any extinguisher if trained and it is safe to do so.

Advice For Residents

Understanding our role and identifying who should be managing the automatic fire alarm system.    

For occupiers of premises protected by automatic fire alarms

Why we do not reset fire alarms
Why we do not reset fire alarms

Contact us

If you require further advice or information from the Business Safety Team please contact us:  

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service,

Business Safety

20 Upperton Road
East Sussex
BN21 1EU

Telephone : 01323 462414

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