Adam Bannister

Editor, IFSEC Global

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Adam Bannister is editor of IFSEC Global. A former managing editor at Dynamis Online Media Group, he has been at the helm of the UK's leading fire and security publication since 2014.
November 23, 2016

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Gatwick Airport slashes false fire alarms by 70%

Gatwick Airport says it has slashed false fire alarms by 70% in five years.

The sharp reduction in the costly, disruptive incidents is a stunning vindication of measures taken by the UK’s second busiest airport to identify and address the most common causes of false alarms.

Reviewing the data BRE found that false alarms that persisted beyond these changes were varied, local and low in frequency. The respected testing and research body issued a number of specific and general recommendations for how the airport could build on its success and further reduce false alarms as well as proposing an operational process.

The BRE conducted an extensive study into the causes behind false alarms across Gatwick as a whole. Instrumental in that project’s success was Raman Chagger, principal consultant in fire detection at BRE, who is impressed by the success of the city’s airport.

“Gatwick Airport has done a superb job of reducing false alarms and the disruption caused by unwanted evacuations,” he said. “I really hope that the guidance provided by BRE will help the airport to reduce these false alarms further.”

Said Roger Gentle, Gatwick Airport’s fire safety manager: “We had identified that the downward trend of false alarms was saturating and wanted independent, reliable and technical guidance to see if further reductions were possible.

“The comments and recommendations made by BRE have been most helpful in that they confirm that our approach to further reducing unwanted fire alarm activations is sound. BRE has also provided recommendations for further reducing these events that we will most certainly pursue.

“Unwanted activations are disruptive to our customers, damaging for our reputation, time-consuming and costly to all those involved. At Gatwick we are determined to eliminate as many of these events as possible.”

The findings from two research studies on false alarms performed by BRE are available for free from the BRE website.

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