Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
146 Bolton Road
Tel: 0161 736 5866
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Automatic fire alarms help to keep premises and their occupant's safe by providing an early warning of a possible fire and enabling people inside the building to evacuate.
However, did you know that there were over 13,500 signals from automatic fire alarms in Greater Manchester in 2006 and less than 1% were actual fires and only 60 required firefighters to use equipment? As a result, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service has made an important change to their policy which every business should be aware of.
Fire alarm and detection systems react as a result of either an increase in heat or the presence of smoke. Unfortunately, they also react to things such as steam, cigarette smoke, aerosol sprays, light smoke from cooking and many other things. When a fire alarm goes off, as a result of anything other than a real fire, this is considered to be an Unwanted Fire Signal.
What are the consequences of Unwanted Fire Signals?
When the fire alarm system in a building operates, a call is normally made to the Fire and Rescue Service, either directly or by staff in your building or indirectly via an Alarm Receiving Centre. From December 2007, if the call is made directly by staff in your building, our Control operators will try to determine whether or not there is actually a fire, or whether the call is a false alarm. If there are no immediately apparent signs of fire they will ask the caller to hang up and to check the building for signs of a fire.
If you spot signs of fire, make a back up 999
Signs of fire includes things like, obvious flames, smell of smoke, lights flickering or increased heat. If you spot a sign of fire call 999. We are not asking you to put yourself in danger, we are just asking that you look for signs of a fire, not a fire itself!
From the common causes of unwanted false fire alarms to learning what to do when your fire alarm is activated, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service has produced a leaflet on how to Investigate your fire alarm (PDF 1,869 KB).