False Fire Alarms


what causes a False Fire Alarm ?

The recent fire in Bolton at the Cube student accommodation has brought the issue of false fire alarms to the forefront. Many of the student’s lives were put at risk due to them believing it was yet another false alarm. 

A recent BBC article has highlighted the issue, “Residents of The Cube were confused as to whether there was actually a fire in the building on Friday because, as one said, fire alarms go off “almost every day” 

One resident, Afnan Gohar said she thought it was a “false alarm” and told the BBC “We didn’t take notice of it until a girl came running and screamed, telling us to get out and we didn’t believe it at first,” she said.

Melissa McGarrigle said: “The fire alarms in the corridor went off but they aren’t particularly loud, especially if you’re asleep, it just doesn’t feel real, everyone thought it was just the fire alarms acting up as usual until we heard people screaming.”

Eva Crossan Jory, vice president of welfare for the National Union of Students (NUS), said it had been “calling for a number of improvements in fire-safety measures in student accommodation” across the UK.

“It shouldn’t take another fire to put the issue of building safety back on the agenda,” she said.

“Student safety must always be the first priority for accommodation providers and the government.”

You can read the entire article here https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-50445311

Cooking related false fire alarms are mainly caused by airborne fat and grease particulates being allowed to escape from kitchens / cooking areas rather being arrested or extracted via adequate ventilation.

Generally rate of rise heat detectors are used in kitchens to mitigate false fire alarms, however in means of escape corridors best means possible needs to be employed to ensure the safety of the occupants. These detectors are very sensitive to fat and grease particulates to ensure they recognise smoke and particulates from real fires.

The down side of these detectors is that if fat and grease particulates are not removed at source they will inevitably activate the fire alarm system when cooking.

Precise automatic ventilation control when linked to a suitably sized extract fan can prevent such false fire alarms. False fire alarms are a huge problem in the UK with more than 500,000 call outs to the emergency services being recorded each year. 293,000 turn out to be false alarms which when totalled up cost the UK Government nearly 1 Billion pounds.

Our product Cookermiser was invented to stop or reduce false fire alarms. When Ventmiser and Cookermiser are installed correctly in student accommodation and social housing it’s been proven that false fire alarms are greatly reduced and some cases totally eradicated.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Services and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services both advocate the use of our controls. Whilst the fire service cannot officially endorse products we are featured  in their documents on how to reduce false fire alarms. We are referred to as a Cookmiser System. These documents can be found by visiting the links below.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue False Fire Alarms Strategy

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue False Fire Alarms Strategy

One of the biggest causes of false fire alarm is classed as apparatus misuse which can be anything from carelessly setting off the alarm to cooking issues. Burnt toast is one of the biggest culprits with a whopping 35,000 false alarms alone last year. Inadequate ventilation and a lack of controls often go hand in hand with false fire alarms particularly in student and nurses accommodation. Installing a Cookermiser unit in every kitchen in these types of residencies could save the government and the tax payer well over 10 million pounds never mind the reduction in CO2 and the potential to save more lives. 

There are various products on the market which can turn off the cooker/hob should a fire occur but these do not help with the huge issue of false fire alarms. Cookermiser/Ventmiser  is the only patented automatic control device for ventilation systems that has been proven to work  to reduce false fire alarms over the last 20 years. With over 35,000 units installed in over 75 universities Cookermiser has saved universities thousands of pounds in reducing cooking related false fire alarms to in some instances 0 as shown in the testimonial below.

“In common with other Universities, students accommodation at the University of Birmingham has a significant incidence of fire alarm activations due to cooking fumes in single bedsitting type rooms with integral cooking facilities. Following a refurbishment of two multi-occupancy accommodation units, Ventmiser automatic controls were fitted to the cooker extract hoods and the local kitchen socket outlets. In twelve months of operation since the Ventmiser systems were fitted, the incidence of false alarms has been reduced to zero – not one false alarm. The Ventmiser system will be specified as standard equipment for all future new build or refurbishment projects of this nature.”

Adrian Lisseman

Electrical Design Engineer

University of Birmingham

BRE Commissioned a study back in 2014 and the results showed just how effective our controls are in helping reduce false fire alarms. We started supplying KCL in 2012 and as you can see in the table below the number of false activations dropped by over 50% from 84 to 38.

Request A Quote Today


Reach Us

Location :

76 Cow Lane Bramcote Nottingham NG93BB

Email :


Phone :