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Industry joins fire false-alarm battle

Industry joins fire false-alarm battle Efforts in Kentucky will be taken nationwide

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—A new campaign here to combat false fire alarms involves not only local fire departments, but the alarm industry, with officials saying installers can play a role in reducing unintentional alarms.

“I'm really excited about it,” said Bill Cooper, an ADT industry liaison manager who is chairman of the Coordinated Alarm Reduction Effort for the Security Industry Alarm Coalition, regarding the initiative announced Oct. 28.

SIAC is a participant in the new campaign, called ALARMS—Accidental Alarm Reduction Makes Sense. Others involved include the fire departments in Louisville and its suburbs and the Kentucky Electronic Security Association, according to a Louisville Currier-Journal story.

“Partnership, that's really the key word,” Cooper told Security Systems News. “When we get the industry and the fire officials and the citizens working together to affect reduction it just makes for a whole better relationship.”

He said that while the campaign effort now is local, the plan is to take it nationwide, creating a model fire-alarm ordinance communities can adopt.

A new National Fire Protection Association report found the number of false alarms decreased by 2.9 percent nationwide in 2009.

However, fire departments in the U.S. still responded to nearly 2.2 million false alarms last year, the October 2010 NFPA report said.

In Louisville and its suburbs, false alarms account for 25 percent of all fire runs and cost $3 million annually, according to the newspaper story.

Also, Cooper said, “When fire departments are out responding to a false alarm, there's the remote chance they may miss a real one.”

While unattended cooking is a common cause of false alarms, Cooper said installation problems can also be a factor.

“From an industry standpoint, what we'll do with technicians and service guys is to be very aware of placement of devices,” he said.

For example, he said, instead of installing smoke detectors near a cooking area or in a garage where exhaust fumes can trigger a false alarm, installers might put in a heat detector or a dual detector that detects smoke and heat.


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