- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 08 Sep 2019
Live investigations of false fire alarms
Live investigations of false fire alarms was written by Raman Chagger and published by BRE in December 2015. Recommendations made as a result of this project can help to significantly reduce the occurrence of false fire alarms.
Fire detection and fire alarm systems (FDFAS) are used to provide early warning of fire in order to alert the local Fire and Rescue Service (FRS). FRS attendance at fires saves lives, prevents injury and reduces associated property damage costs.
However, false alarms attribute to estimated losses of around £1 billion a year, resulting in disruption and loss of productivity for businesses. False alarms have the potential to divert fire and rescue services away from real fires, and also reduce the confidence of the general public in fire alarms. Despite this there is no single organisation responsible for investigating false alarms or providing guidance on reducing them.
This research aimed to identify the fundamental causes of false fire alarms, utilising a fire alarm industry expert to investigate false alarms as they occurred in the field in the greater Glasgow area. A comprehensive online questionnaire containing 124 questions was developed to enable the fire alarm investigator to record all details of the false alarms attended. This form of live investigation of false alarms had not previously been attempted. The fire alarm investigator assisted Scottish Fire and Rescue Service crews as they attended live callouts and, following a comprehensive investigation, completed online reports for each false alarm.
Data from his accounts and from 65 false alarm reports, gathered from November 2014 to April 2015, were analysed and 35 recommendations were made. These can significantly reduce false alarm occurrences and contribute to the greater integrity and reliability of fire detection systems.
The recommendations were made across nine different stakeholder groups, ensuring that fire and rescue services, fire risk assessors, business owners, fire alarm contractors, trade associations and others can all play their part in collectively reducing false alarms in the UK.
The contents of the briefing paper are:
- Abbreviations and glossary of terms.
- Summary of data gathered.
- Findings and recommendations.
- Future work.
The free briefing paper can be downloaded at: https://files.bregroup.com/research/Live-Investigations-of-False-Alarms_2015-December.pdf
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- BRE articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Carbon monoxide detector.
- Fire detection and alarm system.
- Fire protection engineering.
- Heat alarm.
- Ionisation smoke alarm.
- Multi-sensor alarm.
- New requirements for fire detection and alarm network systems IP 12 13.
- Optical smoke alarm.
- Over £1 billion lost every year due to false alarms.
- Project SHOUT.
- Smoke alarm.
- The causes of false fire alarms in buildings.
Featured articles and news
Brick slip soffit systems and intricate brick features.
ICE event includes comments from Welsh Government Minister Julie James.
How to write them and what they should include.
Designing Buildings Wiki becomes the world's first website to adopt the new knowledge standard.
Assessing the most beneficial design elements.
Exploring different types of vinyl flooring.
New Government task force will build beauty into reformed planning process.
Five outstanding aspects of the profession.
The seismic strengthening of historic churches.
Results show guarded optimism and payment concerns.
Noteworthy navigable aqueducts.
Technology is making remote work a reality.