St George’s Hospital vows to combat false fire alarm call outs to brigade with £4million alarm upgrade

St George’s Hospital have announced they will spend £4million to update their fire sensors after causing the most false calls to the London Fire Brigade in 2014.

Figures released today revealed that the hospital topped a list of buildings in London that triggered the most false calls with their automatic systems, with 168 in total.

The false alarms triggered by buildings in London covered more than a third of the brigade’s call outs, resulting in a call out to a false alarm every 15 minutes.

In a statement the hospital claimed it uses the automatic system due to its size but pledged to resolve the issue.

“Due to the size of our site (one of the largest single-site hospitals in the UK), we have chosen to operate under an automatic system where the fire brigade is alerted immediately when an alarm is activated,” the statement read.

“This is a decision based on the safety of patients, staff and visitors to our site.

”However, we acknowledge that false fire alarms cost money and waste time so we are currently embarking on a £4million pound, three-year programme to update all 5,500 fire sensors across the site.

”We continue to work with the London Fire Brigade and Fire Industry Association to reduce the incidence of false alarms on our site.”

While automatic systems are used to ensure safety, faulty or badly maintained systems can lead to false alarms.

Last year the bill for the cost of these false alarms reached £499,446, however the brigade are still owed £265,740.

With hospitals the worst offenders, Neil Orbell, Head of Fire Safety at London Fire Brigade stressed the need to work with them on improvements.

“This is not a money making scheme and the last organisations we want to charge are hospitals,” he said.

“However, we are called to over 30,000 false alarms every year and some hospitals we go to nearly every week.

“We want to work with hospitals on this issue which is why we will wait until the tenth call before we start to recover our costs.

“We also work with them to see how they can improve the maintenance and management of their automatic fire alarm systems.”

Picture courtesy of Google Maps, with thanks

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