Automatic fire alarms blamed for wasting time

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FIREFIGHTERS are urging business owners to try and stop automatic false alarms at their premises.

On average, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service receives eight unwanted fire signals every day from a range of domestic and commercial buildings.

The service said as well as costing it money, these interrupt firefighter training and community safety activities, and cause a loss of time for the businesses themselves.

This year Hampshire fire crews have responded to 2,789 false alarms from automatic fire alarms in commercial premises, and they are concerned that this figure is on the rise.

Chief officer John Bonney said: 'Too many false alarms can endanger the safety of occupants as they gradually lose confidence in the system and start to ignore its warnings - this could lead to injury if a real fire were to occur.

'The economic cost of false alarms is difficult to quantify, but the cost to the fire and rescue service and to businesses is high and there is always the potential loss of life in the event of the fire service not being able to reach a real fire because they have attended a false alarm.'

He said businesses can reduce these false alarms by improving the management and maintenance of fire alarms, and only calling the fire service if there is a real fire or emergency.