False fire alarms cost the retail industry tens of thousands of pounds every year, which is why Call-Systems Technology (CST) has developed AlarmAlert, a system that, in trials, reduced false alarms by 90%.

AlarmAlert uses a combination of communications technology and common sense. The first step is to train selected members of staff as two-man fire investigation teams. When the alarm sounds, CST’s pager system intercepts the data and instantly alerts the team, telling them the precise location of the alarm.

One of the team goes to the source of the warning alarm (indicated via the pager) while the other stands by at the alarm’s main control panel. They have three minutes to determine whether the alarm is false or not – after that, the alarm automatically alerts the fire service. But if the fire investigation team member reaches the alarm and recognises it as a false alarm or fault, that person instantly contacts the other half of the team, who can stand down the alarm, cancelling the call to the fire service.

AlarmAlert is the initiative of Alan Beecham, a senior officer with the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and the service’s fire alarm coordinator. He says: “The beauty of this system is that it adds to public safety because it delivers an instant response to a fire alarm.”

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