Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals (UFAS)

On average, every Unwanted Fire Alarm (UFA) costs UK businesses £848 in lost revenue and production, resulting in continual disruptions.

Automatic fire alarm systems provide an early warning of fire but many detection systems can also react unnecessarily to steam, cigarette smoke or cooking, signaling an Unwanted Fire Alarm to the occupants and often the Fire and Rescue Service.

UFAS cost our communities in many ways:
  • Firefighters and emergency crews are placed at risk through unnecessary blue light journeys.
  • Fire appliances are not available for genuine emergency responses and journey times become increased if an appliance form the local fire station is attending a UFAS incident.
  • The public and other road users are placed at risk of harm from responding fire appliances travelling under blue light conditions, with associated noise and traffic disruption.
  • Regular unwanted fire alarms are disruptive, lead to loss of organisational revenue and can breed staff complacency.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service aims to engage with and educate Duty Holders to reduce the high number of alarm actuations in a wide range of commercial and business premises.  Our aim is to allow companies and other organisations to understand and manage their fire alarm systems to reduce business disruption and increase business continuity and customer confidence.

We are actively working to reduce UFAS:
  • We educate and inform businesses with the aim of reducing unnecessary blue light journeys.
  • We call challenge all fire alarm activations; check records, investigate and record all incidents and issue guidance leaflets containing best practice at every attendance.
  • We will communicate, engage and educate by contacting the Duty Holder or appointed persons.
  • Engage with business to identify reasons for continual actuations and agree action plans and monitor future UFAS activity.
  • Following continued dialogue with Dutyholders, we may adopt a unique risk based approach and determine whether a reduction in SFRS attendance to UFAS at particular premises is appropriate.
  • We will consider enforcement action when meaningful engagement has proved to be unsuccessful.

Information on reducing false alarms can be obtained from the Fire Industry Association publication - Guidance for Responsible Persons on False Alarm Management of Fire Detection and Alarm Systems.