Impact to Commerce
The latest figures published by the government estimate that the cost of false alarms in the UK is around £1 Billion a year. Much of this cost is borne by commerce from lost production and interruption to business. (Source - Fire Industry Association).
Frequent false alarms in a building can cause staff to become complacent and less willing to react when a fire alarm actuates. It erodes user’s confidence in the value and reliability of the fire alarm system and discourages people from taking these systems seriously.
Impact to Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service
Unwanted fire signals have a detrimental effect on the Fire and Rescue Service e.g.
They divert essential Service resources from emergencies (putting life and property at risk).
They create unnecessary risk to fire crews and members of the public whilst responding (potential accidents).
Disrupts essential work routines, training, arson reduction and community fire safety activities.
They have a demoralising effect on personnel attending a high number of false alarms.
They impose an additional avoidable financial burden on the Service, particularly salary and vehicle fleet costs.
The cost to business of retained fire fighters being released for operational duties.
Impact on the environment of unnecessary appliance movements (noise and air pollution).
Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service aims to reduce the number of false alarms emanating from commercial premises by working with owners, occupiers and managers to identify and address problems and as a last resort by taking enforcement action.
Our corporate aims focus on the protection of people, property, the environment and our heritage by preventing fires and other emergencies; responding to environmental emergencies, terrorist attacks and major flooding incidents, and of course, responding to fires in the most appropriate way.
All Fire and Rescue Services now have a responsibility to identify the risks in their local communities and make sure they allocate resources to lowering those risks. Responding to false alarms diverts the fire and rescue service from their fire-prevention duties, or from dealing with real emergencies.
To provide a uniform process in managing the reduction of false alarms and UFS.
To reduce the number of false alarms generated by fire detection and fire alarm systems.
To reduce the number of UFS sent to the Fire and Rescue Service.
To provide the most appropriate response by the Fire and Rescue Service to calls arising from AFA's activations.
To improve the fire safety management of the protected premises.
To consider the use of statutory powers where efforts to reduce UFS fail to realise improvements.
However, any call to the Fire and Rescue Service, that confirms a fire will automatically receive a full scheduled response.
Preventing Unwanted Fire Signals (UFS)
Whilst attending an UFS our fire crews may check the fire safety measure of the premises. This will be a simple check of means of escape, signage, fire detection and warning, staff training, emergency lighting and any general concerns the crew may have.
Any problems highlighted by the fire crew may lead to a full fire safety audit being carried out by a specialist fire safety officer and enforcement action being taken if appropriate.