Jump to content

Automatic Fire Alarms


Recommended Posts

On the BBC today it was noted that 1/3 of all calls received in the LFB were triggered by automatic systems. Nearly every service in the country now  has a robust call challenging procedure in place primarily to save money & not waste resources. I wonder if things will change in LFB? 

Link to comment

I dread to think what would happen to LFB if they stopped mobilising us to most AFAs. My station runs about 2/3 shouts a shift and at least 2 of them will be AFAs. Soho would go from 6500 shouts to probably around 2000.

Smells like cuts😦 I’m not saying we shouldn’t welcome call challenging, but some bad things might happen if we do.

Link to comment

I was under the impression LFB call challenged as thoroughly as everyone else, so that came as a surprise. 

It feels like we go to alot of AFAs due to having a height vehicle and will turn out to High Rise AFAs regardless. But even that isn't a hugely high proportion of total shouts. 

Link to comment

I know the LFB did call challenging when they suspected a malicious false alarm years back (not sure if they do now), so if its ok to do that, why not AFAs?

In my part-time (and un declared) job as a NHS Fire Officer, I investigated a fire in a mental health group home where the LFB really messed up big time

These buildings are he last part of a rehabilitation for people recovering from significant mental health issues. The homes have part time wardens, but the residents pretty much look after themselves en route to going back to fully independent living.

A kitchen fire one lunchtime led to a traumatised resident calling 999. His telephone was routed via the hospital a few miles away, and his odd demeanour was misinterpreted by the con off (IMHO) as him being drunk. She questioned the validity of the call and as she did so, he go more agitated and angry (wouldn't you?). Eventually smoke was seem by a passer by and a second 999 call made.

Thank God it was a lunchtime call when the streets were busy and nobody was sleeping in the home or this would have been a disaster in the making 


However, I strongly believe in an AFA attendance policy that filters the crap calls from the more genuine. Lets be clear, the overwhelming majority of fire detection systems are in place to warn occupants of a fire and thereby a risk to life. If this occupants are able to check there is no risk, why attend? How many calls have I attended where it was a known 'non fire' (toast etc) before the 999 call goes in. Madness

How can we as a fire safety community be angry with idiots that put malicious calls in - thereby risking harm to the community as the appliances are tied up else where and risking the 999 crews and public en route - when we encourage false alarms from AFAs???? I lost a friend many years back after the appliance he was in rolled on the way to an AFA shut - so the risk is real.

There's a balance here that needs to be met, so any policy at reducing unwanted fire signals must be mindful of the more vulnerable in society . Hospitals and residents homes may need special treatment, but allowing 1000s of false alarms to prevent cuts is plainly not an option

Fire safety (or false alarm reduction) teams can help. In the 10 years since I retired and took on my current role looking after around 50 buildings, we have not had one unwanted fire signal that has led to fire service intervention. We've had a few smell of burning during an AFAs that have led to a call for help - but we deal with all calls internally. One building has almost 4,000 detector heads - comparable with a large hospital. So if we can do it, why can't they???? 

Link to comment

@Lumie I guess lfb will maybe come to the same position of call challenge , as many other brigades. If I look at our no attendance shouts from afas after the call challenge , its quite a large number, especially if they are premises that just need a better investigation proceedure,or alarm upgrade, (as messys post )multiple calls to repeat offenders should atract a reasonable  charge everytime imo, theyd soon do something.

A simple "how have you checked its not a false alarm its up to you to do that, you may be charged if we find its a simple false alarm "may suffice in certain scenarios

Also attending on blues and twos ..question risk versus benefit?

Im not saying this is the total answer, and decision led mobilising by control helps, rather than computer says go.

Link to comment

We’ve call challenged for years and it’s massively dropped station turnouts.  Why wouldn’t anyone do it for the reasons Becile says? I’ve been there doing 6 runs a shift to the same campus and it’s a complete waste of time. 

It must be done properly though! 

  • Kudos 2
Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...