East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service logo
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service logo

UnWanted Gang hunted to help cut costly false alarms

Date : 14 January 2020

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is launching a new drive aimed at cutting costly false alarms.

The Service deals with around 4,400 false alarms every year – that’s around half of all 999 calls, meaning firefighters are being sent out unnecessarily when they could be needed elsewhere.

The (Un)Wanted campaign is being rolled out over social media and features Wild West villains on Wanted posters who have committed “crimes” which caused false alarms.

Introducing the (Un)Wanted Gang!

  • Handy Dan is (un)wanted for causing false alarms from dust or heat from tools while working as a contractor.
  • Smokey Joanne is (un)wanted for causing false alarms by smoking in the house next to the detector.
  • Barry Burns is (un)wanted to causing false alarms by leaving a pan unattended on the hob.
  • Steamy Pete is (un)wanted for causing false alarms with steam from a shower. 

How to avoid joining the (Un)Wanted Gang!

  • Cooking Fumes - Only cook in the areas that have the correct detection facilities.  Use the right extractor fans and close doors between cooking areas. Think about the location of toasters, they are frequent offenders.
  • Steam - Keeps shower rooms well ventilated and doors closed. Signs will remind people if they need to switch off extractor fans or open windows to stop steam building up. Qualified engineers can advise on the best type of detector to use around steamy areas.
  • Smoking - Keep to clearly identified smoking areas that are protected with appropriate detectors. Smoking under smoke detectors will set them off!
  • Aerosol sprays - Prevent the use or aerosols near fire alarms detractors or consider different products.
  • Hot and/or Dusty Work - Approved staff could fit temporary covers on detectors during the work and remove them afterwards.  Other staff in the area (including contractors) will need to be reminded to raise the alarm if they see a fire. 
  • Dust can also prevent detectors from effectively working, so it is essential to plan all hot and dusty work carefully. Make sure that contractors carrying out work take additional care not to trigger alarms by accident.
  • Residents know what to do when the alarm goes off.


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