False alarms are not just annoying for those onsite, they can also end up wasting a lot of time, resource, and money! But what causes them? Read on to find out SIX common reasons as to why false alarms occur and what you can do to stop them.
- Faulty or poorly maintained equipment – Just over half of false activations are caused by equipment that is either faulty or not maintained properly. By introducing a robust and regular service plan you can stay on top of issues as and when they arise. A professional organisation will pro-actively attend site, testing all areas of the building throughout your service contract. In between visits, it is always best practice to conduct weekly testing of the fire alarm call points, to make sure that all is working as it should.
- Equipment at the end of its lifecycle – Sometimes even the most looked after equipment needs replacement. Ensuring your fire alarm systems are updated as regularly as manufacturer guidelines dictate is important to ensure you have the best protection possible. A reliable provider can provide you with a plan for replacement, to ensure that overtime you do not end up spending more money part-replacing a system that is slowly failing. A professional installer can quote you for a system that comes within budget and meets all the needs of your building, with so many brands to choose from, there will be something for you.
- Accidental and Intended Activation – If your building is subject to accidental (or indeed, purposeful) fire alarm activations, it would be beneficial to install plastic covers for the call points and implement relevant signage. Some high-traffic areas can be subject to accidental call point activation (think busy hallways and narrow areas). So, making sure equipment is protected, may prevent any accidental triggering. In extreme cases, intended activation may be a constant issue, so consider installing CCTV to deter people from touching equipment when it is not an emergency. Do not forget, clear plastic call point covers are now recommended by BS5839-1, so speak to your provider on fitting some for your premises.
- Installing the right equipment for the job – Ensure that you have the correct detection in the correct areas. For example, kitchens should be fitted with heat detection instead of smoke, to reduce the false alarms that come with cooking. A service contract with a trained professional will help you to pinpoint any areas with incorrect detection and will give you the opportunity to replace with the correct device.
- Prepare for building works – Have a refurbishment planned? Make sure that the areas you are working on are isolated at the fire alarm panel. This is something your provider can see to for you, as well as fitting smoke detector covers. Keep in mind, that each day these will need to be reinstated to protect the building whilst people are not there. Taking the correct precautions to protect your equipment from dust and debris will not only reduce activations, but improve its lifetime overall.
- Train staff in the event of an activation – It is always a good idea to ensure that appropriate building operatives know what to do in an activation, whether it is real or not. Despite planning, proper servicing and protection it is not always possible to completely irradicate the possibility of false alarms. For this reason, we recommend that the relevant personnel are trained in how to use the panel in the event of an activation. Training can be delivered by your service provider and will take no time at all to complete.
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