False alarms cost Shropshire £384,000
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26 November 2014
According to the Shropshire Star, firefighters in county attended more than 1600 false alarms in the past year, at a cost of almost £400,000.
Of these, almost 750 were non-residential, affecting shops, offices, factories, warehouses, restaurants and similar locations.
Neil Griffiths, Group Commander for Prevention at Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service, said the service is tackling the issue and the number of false alarms is steadily dropping.
He said: "We're continually trying to drive down unwanted fire signals that are faults on the system or a results of processes going on, for example a toaster too close to a sensor.
"In an effort to drive that down further we send each business a letter after a false alarm telling them the costs and that it ties up a pumping appliance and a crew when it may be needed elsewhere for a rescue or to a traffic accident or another emergency."
The newspaper reported that in 2013/14 there were 1,251 false alarms due to automatic callouts, where the fire service responds to automatic fire alarms, and 441 false alarms not caused by automatic systems.
Mr Griffiths added that prior to April 2014 the fire service would send a warning letter to a premises after three false alarms, but now if is after each one.
In a recent publication detailing its strategic aims and objectives, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service stated its commitment to reduce the number of false alarms in the future.
Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.