7 Steps to Take to Prevent False Fire Alarms

two firefighters hold a water hose to put out a fire

False alarms are a nuisance and a safety risk for firefighters rushing to the site.

After all, continuing to have false alarms can be expensive.

Your monitoring company and Fire Department will charge you after so many false alarms.

Also, false alarms can cause people to not take real fire alarms seriously.

Here are our top 7 tips for preventing false fire alarms and making your fire prevention system more effective.

1. Clean Smoke Detectors Regularly

Dirt or dust in smoke detectors can obscure their sensors, making them overly sensitive and false alarm.

Photoelectric smoke detectors are generally more responsive to fires that begin with a long period of smoldering (called “smoldering fires”).

Ionization smoke alarms are generally more responsive to flaming fires.

Smoke detectors should be cleaned annually.

2. Hire a Maintenance Company

NFPA requires that smoke detectors have regular testing and inspections.

This verifies that your detector will alert you in case of a fire.

If you don’t have expert staff on hand, it is best to hire a professional maintenance company.

The regular maintenance and testing of your fire system will reduce false alarms to ensure the reliability of the system.

3. Position Detectors Away from Vents

Keep detectors away from an air conditioning vent.

Too close, can create excessive moisture for the smoke detector.

Air vents can trigger false alarms in the most common types of smoke detectors.

For that reason, the sensors are always positioned at least 3 feet away from any vents or fans.

Your fire alarm installation company will have the best placement suggestions.

4. Take Care with Kitchen and Bathroom Detectors

Kitchens can have smoke detectors, but they should not be placed closer than 10 feet nor further than 20 feet from the nearest cooking device.

This area should not be affected by normal steam from hot water or smoke and heat from cooking.

Bathroom detectors require that a smoke detector is installed greater than 36 inches from the bathroom door.

Increasing the distance from the bathroom door can reduce the number of false alarms from any steam.

Using a photoelectric instead of ionization detector outside of the bathrooms and in kitchens can help to reduce false alarms.

5. Select Quality Alarm Systems

Use a quality fire detection devices.

They will have the benefits of having a more advanced detection and less false alarms.

With advancing technology, fire alarms are becoming more versatile.

Dual sensor detectors can have heat and or CO detection.

This can add important levels of safety over single-sensor smoke detectors.

6. Use a De-Humidifier

In environments such as Florida, the air is incredibly moist.

Detectors sometimes have a difficult job telling if the dense air particles are simply moist air or smoke.

Using a dehumidifier can help prevent false alarms.

7. Use Bug Control

Moist and damp areas are also breeding grounds for bugs.

It pays to have an insect control service.

This will ensure that your smoke detectors are not getting clogged with insects.

Insects can set off false alarms.

They do this by blocking the beam of the sensor in photoelectric devices.

False Alarm Prevention Strategies

Start by excluding the presence of excessive moisture or bugs in your detectors location.

The primary prevention of most false alarms is installing a quality system and ensuring regular maintenance.

Your system should be installed correctly, using quality detectors and well maintained.

If so, then false alarms will be at a minimum and safety will be at a maximum.