Brian Sims

False fire alarms continue to cost UK plc £1 billion-plus per annum

MORE THAN 2,600 false fire alarms were maliciously activated across England in 2019-2020, in turn disrupting schools and businesses and placing unnecessary strain on the Emergency Services, at the same time reducing the confidence the general public harbours in the efficiency of fire alarms.

The latest Home Office figures reveal that there were a total of 2,650 false fire alarms caused by the “malicious activation of (a) fire Call Points/alarms” in England for the year ending June 2020, surpassing hoax calls as the largest reason for malicious false alarms.

Accidental activations also remained a significant cause of false alarms in 2020. No less than 14,606 false fire alarms were recorded due to the accidental and careless activation of life safety devices such as Manual Call Points.

Continuing to be the largest incident type, false fire alarms accounted for 42% of the incidents attended by the Fire and Rescue Services in England in 2020. Fires accounted for just 28% of those incidents.

Costing the UK upwards of £1 billion per annum, the number of false fire alarm activations continues to be a major issue, but what can be done to prevent those false activation numbers from growing still further?

As recommended in BS 5839-1:2017, Manual Call Points can be fitted with a protective cover to prevent false fire alarms. In section 20.2b, the British Standards Institution recommends that: “All Manual Call Points should be fitted with a protective cover which is moved to gain access to the frangible elements.”

Following the introduction of the new recommendations in 2017, malicious false fire alarms have fallen by 12%. That’s an indication of the effectiveness of protective covers, but every false alarm is still costly, contributing to dangerous alarm fatigue and heaping pressure on the already-stretched Emergency Services.

For its part, Safety Technology International manufactures a range of protective covers, from integral covers through to outdoor and sounder models. There are variations to suit all applications. These covers are specifically designed to prevent false alarms whether accidental or malicious.

*Further information is available online at

Company Info

Safety Technology International Ltd

Taylor House
34 Sherwood Road
B60 3DR

01527 520 999

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