A false alarm can be more than just a nuisance – it can also turn into a serious risk, especially if everyone starts to scramble and panic.

A report published by the Department for Communities and Local Government states that 44% of the call outs that were attended by local authority fire and rescue services between 2014 and 2015 were false alarms.

Common Causes of False Alarms

In simple terms, a false alarm occurs when the fire rescue authorities respond to a fire signal that is not actually caused by fire:

  • Incorrect placement of fire detectors (i.e. fire detectors placed in the kitchen, which might get activated by fumes emitted from cooking or burnt food)
  • Damage to the fire detection system
  • Lack of fire detector maintenance and testing
  • Poor fire system design
  • Malicious human action (i.e. setting off the fire alarm as a practical joke)

Negative Impact of False Alarms

In the UK, false alarms cost businesses and fire rescue services an estimated £1 billion annually. Furthermore, they can actually have serious repercussions:


A false alarm might promote the “boy who cried wolf” syndrome. People might mistake the real deal for just another false alarm if it happens frequently.

Disruption of business activities

It can affect your business’ customer service and your employees’ work productivity, resulting in loss of time and profits.

Delayed response times

If a real emergency occurs at the same time as a false alarm, the rescue team will be distracted from a real emergency – delaying response times and endangering lives and property.

Fire service charges

Appropriate fees will be charged to homeowners or business owners for frequent false alarms without reasonable excuse.

Reduce the Number of False Fire Alarms

Proper Installation

The installation of fire protection systems must be conducted by competent personnel – it must also comply with the appropriate codes and British standards.

Regular Fire Alarm Maintenance

It is crucial that fire protection systems are regularly serviced and maintained – to ensure that they are fully functional and that all faults are rectified.


As fire alarm installation and servicing specialists, Fire Services Central Ltd. has an experienced fire alarm team in Northampton, Bristol and other areas throughout the UK.

For more information about our fire alarm services, you can contact us on 0121 525 1976 or email us at info@fire.uk.net.