Hospitals top Fire Brigade’s list of false alarm calls from automatic systems

Hospitals top Fire Brigade’s list of false alarm calls from automatic systems

ITV REPORT

London Fire Brigade has named the buildings in the capital that most frequently call firefighters out to deal with false alarm calls from automatic systems.

Over a third of call outs attended by London Fire Brigade are to false alarms – with hospitals topping the list. According to new figures released today by the Brigade, this equates to a false alarm every 15 minutes in London.

Starting in January last year, the Brigade began recovering £295 for the tenth false alarm attended at the same site within a twelve-month period – and for all false alarm call outs after that.

It says this has contributed in a yearly reduction of 7.3 per cent but they would like to see a greater improvement.

London Fire Brigade has today named the top ten buildings that most frequently call firefighters out to deal with false alarms.

The top ten locations for the most false calls in 2014 are:

  • St Georges Hospital, Tooting, 168
  • University College Hospital, Euston Rd, 75
  • Chase Farm Hospital, Enfield, 66
  • University Hospital Lewisham, 62
  • St Mungo’s Broadway Camden, 60
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, 60
  • Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead, 56
  • Homerton University Hospital, 49
  • St Helier Hospital, Carshalton, 49
  • Hillingdon Hospital, 44

Neil Orbell, Head of Fire Safety at London Fire Brigade said: “This is not a money making scheme and the last organisations we want to charge are hospitals. However, we are called to over 30,000 false alarms every year and some hospitals we go to nearly every week.

“We want to work with hospitals on this issue which is why we will wait until the tenth call before we start to recover our costs. We also work with them to see how they can improve the maintenance and management of their automatic fire alarm systems.

“False alarms are a public safety issue as they can cause complacency. When they go off all the time, there can be a tendency for people to ignore them. In the case of a real fire, this could be disastrous. Moreover, they could delay attendances at real emergencies.”

St George’s Hospital in Tooting, which experienced the highest number of false alarm call outs last year, told ITV News:

“Many trusts rely on a ‘double-knock’ fire alarm system where a central security office is alerted to the location of an activated fire alarm and assesses the severity before deciding whether to call the fire brigade.

Due to the size of our site (one of the largest single-site hospitals in the UK), we have chosen to operate under an automatic system where the fire brigade is alerted immediately when an alarm is activated. This is a decision based on the safety of patients, staff and visitors to our site.

However, we acknowledge that false fire alarms cost money and waste time so we are currently embarking on a £4m, three-year programme to update all 5,500 fire sensors across the site.

We continue to work with the London Fire Brigade and Fire Industry Association to reduce the incidence of false alarms on our site.

– STATEMENT FROM ST GEORGE’S HOSPITAL

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