How do I avoid false alarms on my fire alarm?
The four most common reasons for a fire false alarm are:
- Accidentally operated manual call point
- general dust from building/maintenance work
- Old detectors
- Burnt toast!
When dealing with false alarms, there are a few points to bear in mind:
Firstly, it is important that you have on site at all times of occupation, persons who understand the fire alarm control panel and are able to operate it correctly in view of locating the cause of alarm. ‘Murphy’s Law’ would have it that a false alarm will occur at the least expected time, and at the most inconvenient time, so if you plan for this type of scenario you have a good chance of minimising the impact and disruption.
Secondly, having identified the source of the false alarm, make sure that you take advice on how best to ensure that the false alarm does not happen again. Get to the source of the problem. Sometimes the alarm system will reset happily, but this does not necessarily mean that the problem has gone away for good – if it is an old detector causing the alarm, for example, it will continue to issue false alarms without warning until it is replaced.
Thirdly, as mentioned above, ensure that planned, preventative maintenance is being carried out. Smoke detectors only have a life expectancy of around 10 years, and we recommend that clients carry out planned replacement of detectors in order to avoid false alarms which tend to occur when detectors become more sensitive in old age.