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February 15, 2022


State of Physical Access Trend Report 2024

Fire alarms

“44% of businesses are concerned that false fire alarms in the workplace will encourage complacency”, according to study

With employees being encouraged to return to workplaces following the pandemic, new research by fire safety specialist, JLA, has revealed that business leaders are most concerned about employee complacency relating to fire safety following false fire alarms in the workplace.

According to the nationally representative survey of 250 business owners, the biggest fear for a false fire alarm across all of the sectors surveyed, was the risk that staff would become complacent and not react to a real fire alarm safely. This was the highest concern for 44% of respondents, suggesting that attitudes to fire safety worryingly decline in organisations once false fire alarms have occurred.

The research, carried out by JLA as part of its “False fire alarms” campaign, revealed several concerns from business leaders, such as worries that the site would have to close to deal with the aftermath of a false alarm sounding. This was the highest concern for 30% of respondents, with loss of productivity amongst employees being another considerable concern for 38% of businesses.

This figure rose to 41% for hospitality businesses and 46% of office workers, suggesting that if false fire alarms sound, productivity is compromised, which can lead to businesses being forced to shut their doors, losing out on money and consequent damage to reputation in the process.

To best prepare for the risk of a false alarm damaging productivity, businesses should:

  • Ensure effective, regular maintenance of all fire alarm equipment
  • Provide training to employees on how to prevent false alarms
  • Ensure employees know how to respond to a false fire alarm to minimise disruption to the business

Commenting on this research, Peter Martin, Operations Director, Fire & Security at JLA, said: “False fire alarms present a real problem for employee productivity and efficiency and can have detrimental impacts to how a business operates.

“Whilst these false fire alarms are viewed as a minor inconvenience for many, we know that this is often a big concern for business owners. Knowing how to respond to fire risks can be difficult but finding the right fire services and training can ensure that concerns regarding false fire alarms will become a thing of the past.

“HR teams can communicate as best as possible to workers that fire safety training is absolutely crucial to all workers and is a legal requirement for all organisations. If employees do not have a thorough understanding of fire safety and the evacuation procedures, this can pose a significant risk to their safety, and business continuity, if a fire does occur.

“Frequent training can also be given to avoid this complacency and will ensure that all employees and businesses are as best prepared as possible to deal effectively with a fire, should an alarm sound.

“False fire alarms, whilst frustrating, are often a necessary reminder to employees of the right steps to take to safely evacuate and get to an area of safety.

“This, with an emphasis on checking fire equipment and alarms, will ensure that minimal disruption is made and that the business can continue to operate as usual.”

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