FIREFIGHTERS would like to reduce the number of false callouts from automatic fire alarm systems.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is alerted to thousands of false alarms every year.

And while firefighters always respond to calls at places where there are people - such as hotels and care homes - or where a fire is confirmed, the service wants to reduce false alarms at businesses.

Andy Blades, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s group manager for York and Selby said: “As a fire service we are always looking to reduce the amount of automatic fire alarms we respond to along with all types of emergency incidents.

“There is a high number of automatic alarms across York and Selby, in comparison to other types of incident, and it’s the same across North Yorkshire and nationally.”

He added that a prearranged number of fire engines respond depending on the type of incident and that until crews can confirm it’s a false alarm, they would still attend.

He said: “It may look unnecessary, but it’s really important that we do that. That’s why we want to reduce the number of false alarms – so we won’t be deploying fire engines if it’s not necessary.

“We work with businesses and premises to get to the root cause of false alarms – very often in workplaces or accommodation people can accidentally activate the fire alarm system, for example using toasters near detectors. Also, It might be that the fire detection system is not right for the environment or is poorly positioned. Other causes include dust, shower systems or even people using deodorant.”

Traders in Shambles say a new automatic alarm system installed in the street has led to a number of false alerts - including four in the past week - as reported in The Press yesterday.

Mr Blades was unable to comment on the incidents in Shambles but said the prevention of false alerts and all emergencies is a key part of firefighters’ work.

The fire service works to help businesses to resolve problems and offer advice.

For support contact the York Business Fire Safety Office on Kent Street or visit