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

Help us to help you by reducing false alarms

Date : 04 February 2021

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Over the past 24 hours, we were called to eight false alarms in Brighton, Hove, Bexhill, Burwash, Eastbourne and Newhaven.

·       We are urging all businesses and residents to help us in reducing false alarms. False alarms divert our crews from other incidents and can potentially put lives at risk by diverting essential services from real fires and rescues. 

False Alarms

If you have an alarm, you can help reduce these call-outs.

·       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.

What can YOU do?

The following advice about common causes will help you to reduce unnecessary call-outs.

·       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.


Further information

Click here for more information, advice and guidance on false alarms at business and residential premises.


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