Reducing fire alarm false alarms

An Unwanted Fire Signal (UwFS) is defined as:

  • a signal transmitted by Automatic Fire Detection (AFD) equipment
  • reporting a fire
  • when the fire and rescue service arrives they find no fire has occurred.


Unwanted Fire Signals can be completely avoided through good system design, management practice and procedure, maintenance and the appropriate use of space within buildings.

The number of AFD systems installed in Norfolk is not known and, as we have no direct control of these systems, we need your help to change how you manage your systems and in turn help reduce unnecessary call outs.

In Norfolk such calls have the following effects on our service:

  • Diverting fire engines and staff from away from real incidents
  • Disrupting our other work, including fire prevention activities such as home fire safety checks and operational training.
  • High financial costs
  • Increasing the risk of accidents and collisions as a result of our crews responding under emergency conditions

The effects of Unwanted Fire Signals on you and your business include:

  • Disruption to business – building evacuation leading to downtime and time wasted,
  • loss of revenue
  • Loss of faith in the alarm system which may result in slow response in the event of a real fire – or even no response at all
  • Cost to businesses who employ retained firefighters when they are released to go to an emergency
  • Impact on the environment caused by unnecessary turnouts
  • High costs

Further Information

We welcome your feedback.

Further guidance can be obtained by e-mailing jonathan.wilby@fire.norfolk.gov.uk, phoning 0300 123 1669 or using our Contact us.