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False fire alarms cost WMFS £400 a time

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Last year, West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) attended more than 4,500 false fire alarms triggered by automatic fire alarms. False call outs cost around £400 a time, making them a huge drain on an already strained budget. By far the worst culprits are hospitals
  • Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton  – 186 false alarms
  • Birmingham City hospital  – 87 false alarms
  • Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield – 82 false alarms
  • Walsgrave University Hospital in Coventry – 53 false alarms
  • Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley – 53 false alarms
West Midlands Fire Service Fire Engine Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton was responsible for the second highest number of false alarms in the country. The total number of false alarms added up to £1.9m, ridiculous, for a region that is looking yet another budget cut of 5.8m for 2015/2016. False alarms are problematic in another respect, too. The time spent responding to false alarms would be better spent fighting real fires and attending genuine emergencies.

It’s costly to businesses, too

But it’s not just West Midlands Fire Service’s budget that takes a bashing. False alarms are costly for the organisations responsible for them, too. Just think of the man hours lost evacuating a building in response to a false alarm. The situation’s worse for London Businesses, who will be billed £290 for false alarms, if they London City Fire Brigade has been falsely called out to their premises within a 12 month period.

How can you prevent false alarms?

  1. Keep your systems well maintained and clean
  2. Choose the right detectors
  3. Ensure your system has been properly designed, installed and commissioned
  4. Introduce a false alarm procedure
  5. Record false alarms and take preventative action
  6.  Invest in anti-vandalism devices
  7. Keep your fire risk assessment up to date
  photo credit: ell brown via photopin cc
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