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BRE Service to help reduce false fire alarms

BRE was approached by Gatwick Airport Ltd with a request to review their false alarm data and identify means to further reduce the airport's false alarms.

Gatwick Airport Ltd have been investigating and addressing all their false alarms events and have significantly reduced their passenger evacuation occurrence (70% over a 5 year period).

BRE reviewed their data and it was clear that the remaining causes of false alarms were varied, local, and low in frequency. A number of specific and general recommendations were made to help reduce further false alarms. An operational process was also proposed that may help Gatwick Airport to address the remaining causes and implement solutions that may proactively reduce the chances of further false alarms.

Raman Chagger, Principal Consultant in Fire Detection at BRE said, “Gatwick Airport have done a superb job of reducing their false alarms and reducing disruption caused by unwanted evacuations. I really hope that the guidance provided by BRE will help Gatwick Airport to reduce these false alarms further.”

Roger Gentle, Gatwick Airport's Fire Safety Manager said, “We had identified that the downward trend of false alarms was saturating and wanted independent, reliable and technical guidance to see if further reductions were possible. The comments and recommendations made by BRE have been most helpful in that they confirm that our approach to further reducing unwanted fire alarm activations is sound. BRE has also provided recommendations for further reducing these events that we will most certainly pursue. Unwanted activations are disruptive to our customers, damaging for our reputation, time consuming and costly to all those involved. At Gatwick we are determined to eliminate as many of these events as possible.”

The findings from two research studies on false alarms performed by BRE are available for free from:

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