Half of calls to the fire service are false alarms

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is beginning fresh efforts at reducing the number of false alarms, and non-emergency lift calls, to ensure they are not distracted from real emergencies.

Crowborough Fire Station Beacon Road in Crowborough appliance blue lights

In 2016-17 the service responded to 9,144 incidents.  False alarms accounted for 49%.  3,177 of out 4,514 (70%) were from automatic fire alarm systems.

Letters are now being sent to properties where there have been repeated call outs advising them of their responsibilities.  The fire service have said automatic fire alarms should be regularly maintained.  They recommend the cause of the alarm is investigated first and the fire service called only when there are signs of an actually fire.

There were 338 lift releases in the same period.  East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said a lift stopping between floors was a “foreseeable event”.  They expect organisations with lifts on their premises to make arrangements for a 24/7 release service.  A building’s owner or occupants should have a way to deal with these non-emergency events when they happen and not rely on calling 999.

Mark Matthews, Assistant Director of Safer Communities at the Service said:

It’s important that we are not distracted from real emergencies by call outs which could have been prevented.

The good news is that businesses, landlords and property owners can take some simple steps to reduce these types of calls.  We are asking them to follow our advice and take responsibility for their premises and by doing so ensure our crews remain available for life saving incidents.

More advice can be found on their website: www.esfrs.org.

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