False alarms in South Yorkshire have halved over the past eight years as a result of the Service's work with businesses, schools and hospitals to dramatically reduce unnecessary call outs.
More than a third of the calls SYFR receive turn out to be false alarms, but by working closely with site managers at buildings with previously high numbers of unnecessary call outs these fell from 4,329 in 2005, to 2,108 in 2013.
In 2005 SYFR introduced an ‘automated fire alarm’ policy, making regular contact with premises with high numbers of false alarms. Specialist officers offer advice to site managers on reducing unnecessary call outs. In extreme cases, the fire service can seek to prosecute repeat offenders under fire safety legislation.
Technical fire safety officer Roger Brason, said: “False alarms at commercial premises and large public buildings like schools and hospitals have been in steady decline for several years now. The success of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals (STH) in reducing their call outs is just one example of how hard work to reduce false alarms can really pay off, keeping fire engines available for genuine emergencies.”
The fire service was called to STH's Northern General Hospital 89 times in 2005 alone due to false alarms. But fire engines did not attend any of the organisation’s sites due to a false alarm at all in 2013.
Fire safety manager at the hospital, David Butler, said: “We’ve really taken matters into our own hands in terms of reducing false alarms. By introducing comprehensive fire detection systems throughout all of our premises, through extensive training for all our staff and by carrying out our own preliminary investigations when an automatic alarm is generated, we’ve shown that by tackling the issue head on, premises can make a big impact on the reduction of unwanted fire signals.”