False Alarm Management
The industry has been rife over the key issue of false alarms. With more and more fire services changing the way they work and looking at financial penalties for repeat offenders, the spotlight has focused on what we can do as manufacturers to help. 
We have developed a white paper which emphasises the importance of false alarm management within the fire and security industry. The white paper explains how FireClass technology has been developed to make the management of false alarms more effective and how reducing false alarms puts fewer lives at risks, saves costs for the businesses involved and ultimately saves more lives.
The paper describes how fire alarm systems and their equipment are constantly being upgraded and innovated to reduce both the frequency and the damage these false alarms can generate. Some systems now allow for a visual confirmation of the fire before the fire service is notified and sometimes simply having protective screens over call points, such as the ones FireClass manufactures, can reduce malicious false alarms instantly.
It is generally accepted there are a variety of false alarms which occur. Malicious false alarms are exceptionally frustrating for all parties involved. Although less prevalent in larger organisations, institutions such as schools, hospitals and other public areas such as train stations are still affected by malicious false alarms.
The management of such false alarms by Fire and Rescue services is focused on cutting the costs associated with attending false alarm calls. As such, some are reducing the number of emergency vehicles sent while others have stopped mobilising altogether in response to automatic fire alarms.
There are ways in which industry can ensure that Fire and Rescue Services are only called out to a genuine fire. The use of today’s technology together with training, and a good system design, can help minimise the possibility of a false alarm.
Phil Cunliffe, Senior Product Manager for Fire Detection Products at Tyco Fire Protection Products, explained: “There are many reasons alarms go off accidentally. The alarm may be poorly installed or it could be the incorrect system for its purpose. The device could also be fitted at the wrong height or installed in the wrong place. Importantly, if there are issues with the alarm at installation, then unless these are addressed the false alarms will continue to take place.”
He added: “False alarms represent the most significant drain on the Fire and Rescue Services. For organisations, they cause operational and financial implications which are a needless drain on their own resources. In the last 10 years false alarms have been reduced, due to the legislation requiring the appointment of an appropriate person to manage the reduction, but also due to the technological advances in the fire detection equipment. By making a comparatively small investment in a system with features built in to stop, or at least delay, an alarm activating, will instantly provide far greater benefits when it comes to the safety of our communities.”

    Common causes of false alarm include:

    • Poorly maintained systems or lack of maintenance
    • Badly designed or poorly installed systems
    • Insect infestation
    • Build-up of dirt and dust in smoke detectors
    • Steam ingress into smoke detectors, typically from en-suite bathrooms in hotels
    • Smoke from processes other than fire, welding is an example
    • Aerosols and atmospheric pressures
    • Cooking processes such as flambéing
    • Theatrical smoke, dry ice, candles and incense
    • Sudden heat ingress such as opening industrial oven doors
    • Water ingress into electronics
    • Diesel emissions on loading bays
    • Cutting, welding and ‘hot’ work
  • FireClass Triple Sensing detector FC460PC
  • FC501 FireClass 128 Device 32 Zone Addressable Fire Alarm Control Panel
  • FireClass Graphics Fire Emergency Management System Fire Alarm Panel Software
  • FireClass Multi Account Engine Software
Industry Resources

White Paper on False Alarm Management


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