Six false fire alerts every day in Norfolk

Firefighters are called out an average of six times a day to badly positioned or faulty fire alarms putting lives at risk.

Firefighters are called out an average of six times a day to badly positioned or faulty fire alarms putting lives at risk.

Norfolk fire and rescue service today revealed it received 4,664 false alarms in the past 12 months costing the service up to £1.6m.

While just over 1,200 calls were from genuinely concerned people, 1,451 call-outs resulted from avoidable faults in fire alarm systems and nearly 800 from badly positioned alarms.

An additional 864 calls were caused by rainwater getting into alarm systems and 179 by dust or thrips interfering with electronic alarms.

Martin Barsby, communications officer for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We would like people to maintain their alarms. There is an issue around working with companies and those who have alarms to reduce the number of faults and their going off.

“There's an awful lot of other work we do like community work and fire safety and we'd much rather be getting on with that and going to genuine incidents.”

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A further 165 false alarms were caused by hoax calls, which are causing fire-fighters extra concern in the run up to bonfire night.

Norfolk Fire Brigade area manager, Andy Lyle, said: “There are lots of things people can do to help. They can maintain their systems and be aware of the situation around them and be aware of what their children are doing in the evening.

“They can practise good housekeeping in their community and inform the council if there is fly tipping going on and if there is an abandoned car as they can remove it before people are tempted to set fire to it. A lot of it is common sense.

“We've had a fairly quiet summer this year because it's not been so hot. Last year though it really stretched our resources. When we're attending false alarms it causes real problems.”

Many stations across Norfolk are manned by retained fire-fighters who have full time jobs and are on call day or night. “Every time we get a call they're breaking away from their work,” Mr Lyle added. “That puts extra pressure on their work and their employers. We're very grateful for all these businesses and we'd obviously like them to be going to real fires”.

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