Every year Fire and Rescue NSW respond to over 40,000 false fire alarms.  Almost 40% of these are triggered by Automatic Fire Alarm (AFA) Systems.

Unwanted alarms take unnecessary time and money away from our fire services, they also cause people to be complacent toward real fire alarms which can then lead to serious injury and even death.

While AFA systems are an essential part of a building’s fire safety, and are legally required under building legislation, false alarms could end up costing you thousands of dollars.  In fact, Fire and Rescue NSW can charge you $1,600 for repeat false alarm callouts if they were a result of poorly maintained systems.

Causes and Prevention

But what causes a false alarm? There are many reasons why a false fire alarm might be triggered, this includes poor ventilation, poor building maintenance, cooking fumes, and system malfunction, just to name a few.

So, what can be done to prevent a false fire alarm?  It’s important that building owners and managers properly and regularly maintain their AFA systems to ensure they are operating correctly.

Building managers can also set up rules that will reduce the chances of a false alarm in the workplace, such as properly handling activities that involve cutting wires, spraying, steam cleaning and creating large amounts of dust, heat or smoke.

It’s important that all workers and visitors on-site register with the building owner or manager and be inducted into the workplace processes and understand the AFA systems and responsible work-site activities.

Landlords can also inform tenants of the ways they can avoid causing false fire alarms in residential buildings such as apartment blocks. This includes:

  • Not leaving cooking and toasters unattended
  • Not using aerosols, candles or incense around smoke alarms
  • Not smoking or vaping around smoke alarms
  • Ventilating steam and fumes away from smoke detectors, especially from bathrooms and kitchens
  • Educating tenants and visitors to understand that the building is protected by an AFA system.

Get the right advice

If you need any further information or advice on ways to minimise unwanted alarms Fire and Rescue NSW has a dedicated Alarms Assessment team who can provide you with additional strategies.

At Global Fire we provide you with advance notice via email or SMS so that testing and inspection of your AFA system can be carried out on time, leaving you less vulnerable to false fire alarms. To find out more about our tailored safety solutions contact us on 1300 88 70 18 or email inquiries@globalfire.com.au