South Yorkshire firms urged to check fire systems following rise in call-outs

Phil Shillito
Phil Shillito
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Businesses in South Yorkshire are being urged to check their fire systems following a rise in false alarms.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue blamed a rise in false alarms on businesses failing to check their systems.

False alarms account for more than 4,000 call outs every year, making up a third of all incidents fire crews in South Yorkshire deal with.

The county’s fire service has halved call-outs for false alarms in non-domestic buildings in recent years, but false alarm incidents rose by 40 per cent in August compared to the monthly average for the last three years, with 142 reported that month.

Most false alarms are caused by faulty fire detection equipment, people setting alarms off by accident, not following correct fire alarm test procedures or building managers dialling 999 to report a fire without checking why their alarm is sounding.

The fire service’s Head of Prevention & Protection, Phil Shillito, said: “The public deserve and expect firefighters to be available to attend genuine emergencies rather than attending thousands of false alarms. The vast bulk of automatic fire alarm calls turn out not to be fires- these are often caused by poor management or maintenance of alarm systems.

“Building managers can do some simple things to help us, like checking their alarm systems regularly and training staff properly on what to do if an alarm sounds.”

Some fire services charge firms for repeated false alarms.