The Causes of False Fire Alarms in Buildings

The Causes of False Fire Alarms in Buildings

This report details the BRE project which was established to collate information about the causes of false alarms observed in buildings and to identify approaches that could be developed and used to reduce their occurrence.

Two different contributors were identified- Kings College London and Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire and Rescue Service (BMKFRS).

Kings College London provided data from 699 false alarm incidents and following a thorough review of the data 6 physical interventions were identified to address all of the valid false alarms reported. Replacement of existing detectors with intelligent multi-sensor detectors (that detect more than one fire phenomena) was the solution that could reduce false alarms by the greatest amount (69%).

The data supplied provides a snapshot of the types of false alarms that are observed but is not a comprehensive account of what might be the most common causes in the UK.

Discussions with the Unwanted Fire Signals Officer of BMKFRS and analysis of their false alarm trends revealed that the use of a technical and experienced individual dedicated to investigating false alarms and engaging directly with regular offenders is a very effective means for Fire and Rescue Services to reduce false alarms.

Reducing the number of false alarms from domestic premises remains a challenge despite the fact that the vast majority are reportedly related to cooking incidents. Educating homeowners on effective installation and use of detectors in and around kitchens is likely to lead to the greatest reduction in false alarms from the domestic environment.

This work has prompted a number of stakeholders, led by the Scottish FRS (SFRS), to propose a further investigation of false fire alarm causes. This further project has involved a fire detection specialist working alongside SFRS personnel, attending all reported fire alarms and conducting a live investigation of the circumstances, collecting further meaningful data for analysis. The report from this project is due out later this year.

The Causes of False Fire Alarms in Buildings  (Thu, 16 Jul 2015)