21 July 2014

A faulty fire alarm forced BBC Radio Cumbria to evacuate its building during a broadcast.  

The fire alarm went off during Val Armstrong’s show, shortly before 7am.

The presenter told listeners that she was being evacuated from the station’s headquarters in Carlisle.

The radio station switched to its emergency broadcast tape, before broadcasting the output from  BBC Radio Newcastle.

Staff were allowed back into the building just after 10am, and programmes resumed at 11am.

The FIA says: “It is estimated that false alarms cost the UK in excess of £1 billion a year. They must be stamped out! Even one is one too many. We are on a mission to stamp out false alarms and we need your help.

“Most fire alarm and detection systems don’t cause false alarms; it’s the mismanagement of them that does and this is where they can really cost you money due to lost production, disruption due to staff evacuation, unnecessary release of retained firefighters, possible future charging for attendance by fire and rescue services, as well as increased insurance premiums.”

The FIA has produced an infographic which highlights the extent of false alarms, identifies their causes and provides solutions to the issue.

It also has a microsite which provides useful advice and information on managing fire alarms systems, reducing false alarms and the consequences of having a false alarm.

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.