Automatic fire alarms help to keep premises and their occupants safe by providing an early warning of a possible fire and enabling people inside the building to evacuate.

What is a false alarm?

A false alarm results in a fire signal from a cause other than fire. If the fire and rescue service attend any automatic fire alarm that is not a fire, this is considered to be a false alarm or an unwanted fire signal (UwFS).

Why reduce false alarms?

Impact of false alarms

  • Responding to these calls creates unnecessary risk to members of the public when appliances are responding under ‘blue light’ conditions.
  • Disruption to community safety activities – education, home safety visits and fire safety checks.
  • It is expensive to the Service particularly salaries and vehicle costs.
  • Diverts essential services from real emergencies, thus putting lives and property at risk.
  • Environmental impact due to unnecessary fire appliance movements (i.e. noise air and traffic pollution)

Impact on Businesses

  • They are disruptive and costly to businesses in terms of down time and productivity. They may have an adverse effect on staff.
  • Occupants of those buildings that have frequent false alarms get used to them and may delay their response, or worse not respond at all, in a real emergency.
  • They adversely affect businesses who release their employees to respond as ‘on-call’ firefighters.

Further Information

Find out more about our policy for attending automatic fire alarms

Read about the common causes of false alarms and actions you can take to help prevent them occurring.