Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Automatic Fire Alarms

In 2017 ECFRS firefighters responded to more than 2500 incidents triggered by automatic fire alarm systems that activated when there was no fire.

These systems usually sound because of cooking, steam, smoking or dust caused by building work, but still require a full emergency response from fire crews.

While fire engines and crews are travelling and attending these incidents they are not available to attend other, potentially life-threatening, emergencies.

Mark Earwicker, Head of Protection, said: “Last year our crews were called to over 2500 false alarms. Although these are accidental they still have an impact on both the business and our crews.

“Time spent at false alarms is time we’re unavailable to respond to other incidents.

“It’s estimated that the total cost of false alarms to UK businesses is over £1 billion a year, and as well as this there’s also disruption to workforce, customers, productivity and reputation.

“Simple behaviour changes is all that’s needed to reduce these false alarms, which is why we’re trying to get the message out that it’s well worth understanding what small changes can be taken.”

  • Alarm systems being tested without notifying the alarm company, resulting in an emergency call out
  • Fumes from steam and aerosols
  • Cooking – such as burnt toast
  • Sudden changes to humidity and temperature
  • People smoking near detectors
  • Contractors working beneath live or uncovered detectors


Site by Pingala Media