Over 30% of fire and security alarm call-outs due to poor maintenance, research reveals

After research from facilities management provider Samsic revealed that poorly maintained alarm systems are responsible for over 30% of call-outs in the UK, business owners are being urged to check and maintain their fire and security alarms.

The research, based on 968 call outs in 2021 where the trigger of the alarm could be confirmed, reveals that a significant portion of alarm call-outs that the Samsic team responded to last year came down to faulty detectors, panels, lines and wiring. A further 18% were triggered by cobwebs, highlighting the importance of keeping areas around sensors clean.

32.5% of alarms were set off as a result of poorly maintained systems, including broken parts, whilst a further 11% of alarm activations were due to staff error – where alarms hadn’t been set correctly, for example. Rodents, spiders and other insects, which can set off sensitive intruder alarms, account for 13% of the call-out cases that were examined.
Overall, only around 19% of the call outs were for genuine reasons – from water leaks, vandalism and confirmed fires, to attempted and actual burglary, insecure premises and trespassers.

A spokesperson for Samsic.uk said: “These stats highlight the importance of checking your alarm system regularly, making sure staff are properly trained in how to set them, and keeping the surrounding areas clean, tidy and secure.

“The amount of wasted time that business owners will spend attending alarms which turn out to have simply been set off by a spider scurrying across the sensor or because of a system fault is astonishing. Sometimes situations like this are unavoidable, but properly maintaining your alarm systems and the areas around the sensors should help prevent at least some of the unnecessary call outs.

“Fortunately, just under 20% of the call outs we examined were due to actual emergency situations, from water leaks, vandalism and confirmed fires, to attempted and actual burglary, insecure premises and trespassers.