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False Fire Alarms Cost the UK Economy Almost £7m a Year

False Fire Alarms Cost the UK Economy Almost £7m a Year
28 July 2023

False fire alarms are costing SMEs in the UK almost £7 million every single year.

The figure comes from research conducted by Red Fox, commissioned by Hochiki Europe, to understand the impact of false fire alarms on UK businesses. 300 SMEs estimated that interruptions caused by evacuation caused by an alarm not caused by an actual fire cost their organisation around £1,000 or more.


Lost Productivity Figures


Factors included interrupted meetings (33 per cent), staff settling back down to work i.e., chatting and getting drinks etc (32 per cent). For the manufacturing and IT sector over a quarter said the time it takes to get production processes started up again and security systems checks completed as the biggest interruption, whilst in the food and drink sector 10 per cent said preparation processes needing to be restarted with anecdotal evidence also citing the resulting food wastage as an impact that goes beyond financial ramifications.  

64 per cent of respondents believe that most alarms experienced in the past 12 months are false alarms. Aside from the drills, and kitchen incidents, dust and smoke caused from building works and maintenance caused 20 per cent of false alarms followed by equipment failures at 18 per cent, with 12 per cent sited as other causes or not known.


Do False Alarms Cause Alarm Fatigue?


Whilst half of the respondents said seeing the alarm in action reassured them that the system works, 56 per cent of business owners or managers said that excessive false alarms mean that staff don’t take the alarms seriously enough, leading to alarm fatigue. Alarm fatigue can cause delayed or missed responses to genuine alarms, with profound ramifications for health and safety.

Picture: a photograph of people heading towards a fire exit in a building. Image Credit: Hochiki Europe

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 28 July 2023


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