Fire crews were called out to 16 false alarms in 24 hours and are pleading with owners to help reduce the number of unnecessary call-outs.
A key concern is that crews turning out for a false alarm may lose vital minutes reaching the scene of a genuine emergency.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said: “There were 16 calls which turned out to be false alarms between 7am on (Sunday) 2 October and 7am on (Monday) 3 October.
“The majority were linked to system faults with alarms or accidental activation.”
The fire service, which serves Brighton and Hove, said its advice included
• Fire alarm systems are there to alert occupants to the fact that there may be a fire and, depending on your fire risk assessment and emergency plans, it is normally appropriate to investigate first and only to call the fire service if or when there are any signs to indicate that there is actually a fire.
• If you have an automatic alarm system, make sure it is installed properly, that you know how it works and it is serviced regularly by a competent person. The British Standards Institute’s BS 5839 has recommendations for the planning, design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of these systems. If these are followed, a false alarm issue is unlikely to occur.
• Best practice requires that false alarms are logged and investigated so that any patterns and trends are identified and dealt with.
• Be aware that steam and dust can trigger alarms and take precautions when possible.
• Ensure staff and/or residents know what to do when the alarm goes off.
The fire service added: “If you do have a fire, please call 999 immediately. Please do not put yourself at risk and only attempt to use any extinguisher if trained and it is safe to do so.”