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Another brigade require human confirmation of automatic fire alarm systems

12 February 2008

In 2006, Greater Manchester fire crews spend over 97,000 hours dealing with the 13,500 false alarms from automatic fire alarms. In an attempt to slash the £2m cost of false callouts to business premises, crews will no longer respond to automatic fire alarms if there is no sign of a blaze.

In future, any alarm generated by an automatic detection system will be ignored unless it is confirmed as a real fire after human investigation. The move is primarily aimed at commercial premises; hospitals, hotels, prisons and other high-risk buildings will be excluded from the new policy.

False alarm management at protected premises is an increasingly important issue; the Fire Service are working closely with facility managers to improve procedures when an alarm is triggered. System Sensor, the world's largest detector manufacturer, is approaching the issue through technology development by stopping false alarm generation in the first place. The latest detector, COPTIR, uses cutting edge technology to produce the most stable fire detector in existence, preventing a false alarm from being initiated by the detector while simultaneously being ultra sensitive to the many different fire threats in any building.

In exhaustive testing under both laboratory and simulated real-life conditions, the COPTIR multi-sensor, multi-criteria detector outperformed all alternative detection technologies in 21 different false alarm tests and 29 different fire alarm tests. System Sensor Europe marketing manager, Stuart Ball, said, "COPTIR combines four independent sensors: a carbon monoxide sensor, a photoelectric smoke sensor, a temperature sensor and an infra-red light sensor. By using the highly sophisticated embedded intelligence in the detector continually to monitor for four elements that will be present in a real fire, we are able to ensure that conditions that might give rise to a false alarm will not be passed to the control panel. In an automatic fire system that exclusively uses COPTIR detectors, the only realistic reason for a false alarm would be malicious activation of a manual call point."


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