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“90% of false alarms realised by faulty apparatus” states Home Office

13 September 2022

ACCORDING TO the latest Home Office report issued last month, false alarms made up 98% of all confirmed automatic fire alarm incidents in 2020-2021. 90% of those occurrences were due to faulty apparatus.

The research involved collating statistics from Fire and Rescue Services across the country, with the results highlighting the fact that just 2% of the incidents arising from automatic fire alarms were the result of an actual fire.

Most of the false alarms could easily have been avoided through proper system maintenance and ensuring that the correct type of life safety product is installed for the environment in which it’s deployed.

Shinsuke Kubo, commercial director for Hochiki Europe in the Middle East, Africa and India, explained: “False alarms are a major problem across multiple industries. They exert a significant impact on production and, ultimately, the economy. Building owners choosing to work with those installers and manufacturers who understand that no two environments are the same will reap the benefits because the products recommended will be both fit for purpose and properly maintained.”

Correct installation

The London Fire Brigade advises that ‘Responsible Persons’ should make sure the fire alarm system installed in their building is carefully considered for the type of premises and, of course, the occupancy levels.

That said, technology alone cannot eliminate false alarms. Other key factors must be considered to increase the overall ‘alarm reliability’ of fire detection and fire alarm systems. These factors are design, commissioning and maintenance. If they’re overlooked, the reliability of a device will tail off.

It’s also important to remember that, over time, the use of a building may change or the structure could be adapted. Any changes must be reflected in the design and maintenance of the fire detection apparatus installed.


“Multi-sensors could be the answer to this issue,” continued Kubo, “For complex life safety installation projects harbouring multiple usage scenarios, or that are adapted over time, using intelligent devices can really help to reduce false alarms. Modern devices which detect heat, smoke and, in some cases, carbon monoxide, can ‘learn’ from their environments from the moment of installation.”
The ACD multi-sensor from Hochiki, which uses the S.M.A.R.T. algorithm to continuously monitor its surroundings, is used by customers across multiple sectors – among them higher education, public housing and leisure and entertainment – in order to reduce false alarms.”

*Further information is available on the Hochiki website