London Fire Brigade saves £9m as false alarm call-outs drop

London Fire engine
Image caption London firefighters went to more than 40,000 false automatic alarm calls in 2011

A total of £9m has been saved by London Fire Brigade (LFB) after the number of false call-outs crews attended dropped over the past four years.

LFB said it went to 40,734 false calls in 2011, triggered by automatic alarm systems, compared to 48,771 in 2008.

But it said crews are still being called out to a false or hoax call every 10 minutes, costing £37m a year.

Automated systems are quite often set off by faulty alarms or by burnt toast or cigarette smoke, LFB said.

The brigade said the other types of false calls include those made with "good intent" and "malicious hoax calls".

'Maintain alarms'

Crews attended 12,769 "good intent" calls, which later turned out to be false alarms, and 2,149 "malicious hoax calls" in 2011.

These are separate from the 15% drop in false alarms from automatic systems, mostly found installed in offices, hospitals, universities, hotels, airports or stations.

The biggest drop was seen in King's College London where call-outs fell by 44% since 2007, the biggest improvement have been in student accommodations, the college said.

Councillor Brian Coleman, chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, said: "Businesses need to make sure their alarms are properly maintained so our firefighters can focus on attending real emergencies."

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