False Fire Alarm Call Outs to Result in Charges
The London Fire Brigade has announced it will start charging businesses if they call out the fire brigade to false alarms more than 10 times.
The fire brigade was called to 403 businesses more than 10 times during the past financial year, and these false alarm calls have cost the brigade approximately £800,000. It is said that had charges been in place last year, hospitals would have been billed with over half a million pounds of fines. The false alarm call-out figures were even more shocking for non-residential and other buildings, with the fire brigade visiting over 25,000 false alarm calls over the last financial year, costing them over £37 million.
London Fire Brigade
The fines, implemented by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) will be set at £290 for over 10 false alarm call-outs and will not apply to domestic properties or care homes. The false alarms often trigger automatic call-outs to the fire brigade, so it is not always the result of human error, but these false alarms can be caused by poor fire alarm maintenance, with people failing to test and check their fire alarms regularly.
Along with detailing the amount of call-outs over the past financial year, the London Fire Brigade have also publicised the names of the worst offenders. St Georges Hospital in Tooting is top of the list with 136 unnecessary call-outs, with Kings College Hospital in Denmark Hill and the Royal Free Hospital in Belsize Park calling out the fire brigade 129 and 128 times respectively.
Detrimental to the Community
As well as the financial cost to the LFB for travelling to these false alarms, it also has a detrimental effect on the rest of the community too. When the fire brigade are rushing to a false alarm, they are wasting time that could be spent either attending real emergencies or increasing community safety, and it also reduces the amount of money the fire brigade can spend on training for their staff.
Owners of properties that could be affected by the charges are advised to check their fire alarm systems regularly, or request the services of a fire safety professional to thoroughly examine their systems and repair any faults or offer advice on better fire alarm management. ‘Any false alarms should be correctly logged and remedial action should be taken to avoid a repeat occurrence’. The charges will hopefully act as motivation for business and non-residential building owners to ensure their fire alarms are regularly checked and tested, reducing the amount of call outs that are results of malfunctioning fire alarms.
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