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Reducing Automatic Fire Alarm Signals

Disruption, delays and missed appointments in the workplace caused by the problem of false fire alarms could be costing businesses in Wales millions of pounds each year.

That’s the warning from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service who report nearly half of all callouts in 2016-2017 (47%), many to business premises, turned out to be false alarms.

The staggering figures have prompted the Service to launch their ‘Are false fire alarms costing you?’ campaign offering advice and guidance to businesses who recognise the problem, and want to become ‘false alarm free’.

While highlighting the financial burden of false alarms, often the result of poor maintenance, unsafe cooking practices or unscheduled tests, the campaign will also be a stark reminder that false alarms can have even more serious costs to members of the public due to the drain on Fire Service resources.

Ed Robson, Station Manager for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s Business Fire Safety Department, said: “We are calling on businesses to work with us and pledge their support to educate staff around how their workplace can become ‘false alarm free’.

“There is a common misconception that false alarms are just ‘one of those things’ with no real consequences or costs but that is definitely not the case.

“Every false alarm represents a significant cost to the Fire and Rescue Service and ties up resources that may be needed at a genuine emergency elsewhere. What many business owners will not realise is that every false alarm call out will also be costing them. The time wasted due to disruption and delays is a constant drain on profit and staff morale, as well as rendering the alarm systems less effective as occupants become complacent. The good news is that this does not have to be the case. There are simple steps available to prevent most false alarms, such as proper maintenance of the system, relocating toasters and kettles away from smoke detectors, installing covers on frequently misused break-glass points. We are happy to advise on ways to prevent false alarms – it is in everyone’s interest to reduce this problem.”

To coincide with Responsible Business Week, South Wales Fire and Rescue are inviting employers to add their name to a growing list of businesses, companies and organisations lending their support. This list will be published later in the year along with success stories and case studies from the campaign.

More details, including free resources, are available from the Business Fire Safety Team on 01443 232716.