FIREFIGHTERS in Western Commnand, which includes Dungannon District, are responding to 88 false alarms a week, it has been revealed.
Local fire crews were mobilised to deal with 2244 bogus calls in the past year, out of a total of 4590 false alarms, according to latest figures from the Department of Health and Public Safety.
The false alarms are “draining” resources and increasing the risk of danger during real emergencies, fire brigades say.
“Mobilising Fire Crews and Fire Appliances to what turns out to be a false alarm or an unwanted Fire Signal is a waste of NIFRS resources”, said a spokesperson for Western Commmand.
“Managing these also puts additional pressure on our Regional Control Centre personnel who answer 999 calls and mobilise the Fire Appliances.
“They divert us away from our primary role of preventing fires and attending real emergencies and could lead to a Fire Appliance being unavailable to respond to other genuine emergency incidents.
“It’s encouraging that false alarms and unwanted fire signals have been gradually declining over the last 3 years across Western Area Command.
Unwanted fire signals, resulting in a mobilisation to premises specifically as a result of a false alarm from an Automatic Fire Detection System, have seen an increase of 5.3% in 2012/13 when compared to the previous year 2011/12.
The fire service say they have revised their False Alarms and Unwanted Fire Signal Policy to adopt best practice guidance from the Chief Fire Officers Association.
They have consulted on this policy with key stakeholders, users and the business community.