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Unwanted Fire Signals (UwFS)

Every year Humberside Fire & Rescue Service sends its fire engines to premises after receiving an automatic signal directly from a fire alarm within a premises. The Service received more than 1000 of these calls during 2010/11 or an average of three every day.

Automatic Fire Alarms (AFAs) provide an effective means of giving early warning of a potential fire within a premises and are especially effective and useful when the premises is unoccupied.

However, these systems are not foolproof and the vast majority (up to 98%) of actuations from these systems require no action by the fire service.

Automatic fire detection can be actuated by many common airborne materials, such as dust, insects, steam, aerosol products and also by faults with the system.

When an actuation of a fire alarm is automatically sent to the fire service and they mobilise their resources to the premises when they aren’t needed, this is deemed to be an Unwanted Fire Signal.

With the proliferation of these automatic fire alarm systems, the number of Unwanted Fire Signals received has risen to such a level that the Service can no longer justify mobilising the same resources it would compared to a confirmed fire.

Humberside Fire & Rescue Service is therefore reviewing attendance levels to calls from AFAs and is actively working with the premises who generate these calls to reduce the number of false alarm activations and their subsequent transmission to the fire service, which makes them UwFSs.

Humberside Fire & Rescue Service has adopted elements of the Chief Fire Officers Association policy and guidance for dealing with Unwanted Fire Signals. Full details of which can be found by following the link below:

Unwanted Fire Signals – The Chief Fire Officers Association

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