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Fire Brigade call out for False Alarms
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17/11/2012 - 2:55 pm
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Our building recently carried out a Fire Safety Upgrade and has had smoke detectors installed throughout.  Our problem is that they regularly alarm falsely and this often results in the Fire Brigade attending and subsequent hefty fines imposed.  The company which installed the alarms says they are not faulty and yet they are subject to being triggered by the tiniest of insects.  Do other buildings experience this problem and what steps do you suggest to overcome such sensitive detectors.  Are other buildings subject to the Fire Brigade fines for false alarm call-outs?

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18/11/2012 - 8:16 pm
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I am not sure how many times the alarms have falsely activated but once would be enough I would think if you are being fined. The other problem of course is that if the alarms are not operating correctly then there may be an actual fire and the residents will ignore the warning as “it is probably just another false alarm”. So the matter needs to be resolved.


I would start by asking the local fire brigade if they would carry out an inspection and determine if the alarms are suitable for your particular environment and if so whether the sensitivity can be adjusted. You will then hopefully have some ammunition to approach the company which installed the system and insist that they remedy the defects. The installation and products should be under warranty anyway.

11/09/2018 - 10:05 am
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Our block has a sign saying tenant responsible for false alarm pays the fire brigade fine.

We have disconnected our two smoke alarms as they even went off when we opened the oven!!

My neighbour directly opposite cooks with their door open and pongs the entire hallway!!

Hopefully, we will now die in a fire and no longer have to put up with this crap.

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11/09/2018 - 11:57 am
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MarkP said
We have disconnected our two smoke alarms as they even went off when we opened the oven!!

Regarding the smoke alarms, it strikes me that yours are too sensitive and may actually have some dust or other foreign material in the device that makes them go off when they shouldn’t.

Perhaps the developer installed the wrong kind of smoke alarm  – commercial rather than residential, because they are cheaper – but in any case, disconnecting them is not only dangerous, it is an offence.

If the smoke alarms are common property, ask to have them tested and if necessary replaced as they are clearly not fit for purpose.

If they are yours, change them for something more suitable.

Oh, and if your oven is setting off the smoke alarms it either needs a good, regular clean or it is past its use-by date and needs replaced 

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11/09/2018 - 9:32 pm
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There is a Pertronic 2151 BPI photoelectric smoke detector that might solve your problem It’s advertised as having a custom integrated circuit incorporating signal processing to reduce false alarms. The sensing chamber is sealed against back pressure air flow and the chamber is also protected by a fine mesh screen to limit access by dust and insects. The alternative is to limit smoke and vapours in your unit or trying to disperse them with a fan. 

The cost of a weatherproof detector is $125 (GST excl.) before fitting. The weatherproof detectors are wired directly into the fire detection system connecting to the fire indicator panel. The non-weatherproof detectors rotate and click into a base with metal contacts. As far as I know, all detectors wired into the fire emergency system need to be programmed before fitting so that the fire panel identifies their location if they are triggered by smoke/heat.

Our 6-year old non-weatherproof detectors in the car park and common areas of the building have been triggered an average of almost 3 times per year which puts them on the limit for a nuisance fine from the Fire & Emergency Services on top of their call-out fees. Which is why we’re installing weatherproof detectors in the car parks.

Our smoke and heat detectors have been triggered by a bug, a ‘baby’ spider’s web (almost invisible to the naked eye) and cigarette smoke (in a fire stairwell). The most common causes of ‘false alarms’ has been humidity, dust and corrosion of contact points (in the base the old detector clicks into). 

On a positive note, in six years, we haven’t had to schedule an annual practice fire/emergency evacuation. Unfortunately, the boy-who-cried-wolf syndrome now applies in our building.

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