NEARLY half of the incidents reported to firefighters in the past three years were false alarms.

A report prepared for a North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner meeting says 48.8 per cent of callouts since 2016 were for false alarms.

North Yorkshire Fire Service crews were called to 258 false alarms from automatic fire alarms in July - 131 in York alone - far more than any other type of incident.

Earlier this month firefighters spoke out about the need to reduce the number of false alarms they are called to.

While fire crews 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.

The majority of false alarms happen at non-residential properties, according to the report.

And the main cause of automatic fire alarms going off is because the system is faulty or staff have accidentally set the alarms off.

Since 2014 there were just 272 malicious false alerts recorded.

Speaking to The Press earlier this month, 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.

The fire service offers guidance to businesses about reducing the number of false alarms. For information visit

The meeting on Tuesday will discuss the fire service’s performance and challenges facing the organisation.

A report says these challenges include the weather conditions causing firefighters to be increasingly called to flooding incidents, the cost of training and equipment and a lack of public awareness about the breadth of the service’s work.