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A false alarm occurs when the MFB attends an incident to find there is no emergency and there is no need for their fire fighting skills or other expertise.

Most automatic fire alarm systems are a legal requirement, or have been installed to provide fire safety, and it is essential they operate efficiently at all times.

It is important to reduce false alarms as they have a number of impacts on emergency service delivery and business resources.

  • Unwanted and unnecessary calls increase the risk of accident and injury to firefighters and the general public as firefighters will attend under sirens and lights.
  • Response times to real emergencies can be delayed through attendance at false alarms.
  • Congestion to the 000 emergency call system.
  • Complacency to alarms when there is a real emergency.
  • Businesses can be charged for false alarms when there is no reasonable excuse.
  • Inefficient alarms can result in additional maintenance costs.
  • Disruption to business activities can lead to a loss of productivity which has a dollar value.

Monitored automatic alarms; a guide for owners and managers has been produced to assist building owners and managers to understand their automatic fire alarm system and provides information on disconnections, isolations and modifications.

Living with a fire alarm system is a brochure designed for people who work or live in buildings that have an automatic fire alarm system or direct brigade alarm. It is also a useful tool for building managers to educate their staff or occupants.

Prevention of false alarms

In order to avoid being charged for false alarms businesses need to be vigilant with the assessment, maintenance, and management of alarm systems. There are a range of activities that can be undertaken to reduce the incidents of false alarms.  These include:

MFB has also produced a range of fact sheets and containing practical tips and solutions to assist in preventing false alarms.  Topics include:

Updating your details

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade is required to keep records of all buildings/properties with automated fire alarm systems. This ensures that the Brigade has up to date information if there is a need to contact the owner/occupier of a building, such instances are usually to disseminate pro-active information or to investigate incidents of false alarms of fire.

To assist in maintaining accurate records, please ensure details are kept up to date.  Please download and fill in ASE Client Details Form 2015, then return it the MFB, details on the form.

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Safety Tip

The Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authority Council (AFAC) recommends monthly testing of smoke alarms to ensure they are working correctly.

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