13th October 1977

03 October 2016

On 13th October 1977 we had a report on a very successful false alarms survey undertaken in co-operation with the Suffolk Fire Brigade. Suffolk reported all false alarms to BFPSA, which sent the information to the member companies responsible for the alarm systems, for a full investigation. [A previous survey we did ourselves showed that there was only one genuine alarm call for every 15 false alarms, which lead us to undertake this more serious research. We could not hope to sell alarm systems while so many led to wasted call-outs, and we needed to know whether the faults were with the systems, the installations, or avoidable human error at the premises which might be cured by training or information.] The Suffolk false alarms survey at the October stage showed 73 premises; 38 had 2 or more false calls, 16 had 3 or more, so we could see immediately that concentrating on reduction at specific premises would be the best way to reduce false alarms. This seems so obvious in hindsight, but it was the first time we’d had statistics to show that the large number of false alarms could be narrowed down to specific premises which were generating more than their fair share, and not a design fault of alarm systems in general. ‘Reducing repeated false alarms would provide an effective means of strengthening the industry.’ As we had reduced the number of false alarms during the progress of the exercise so far, we could now write to CACFOA (Chief Fire Officers) ‘with a view to their recommending BFPSA members throughout the whole country.’  The Suffolk project seems to be regarded as a success: our chairman was to suggest to Euralarm that the members of all national organisations adopt a similar fire alarm reporting scheme.