Drax360 backs student fire safety campaign to reduce false alarms

Posted: 09.10.2023

While thousands of teenagers across the UK settled into their first term at university, Drax360 lent its support to an annual campaign aimed at helping keep students safe while in their halls of residence.

The National Fire Chiefs Council, organiser of Student Fire Safety Week which took place this autumn, chooses a different focus each year – with the 2023 event concentrating on reducing the number of false alarms at student accommodation.

Last year saw London Fire Brigade alone waste a staggering 23,500 hours of firefighters’ time responding to false alarms, albeit at non-residential premises – time which could otherwise be used in tackling blazes or raising community awareness about fire prevention.

Drax 360 works with many of the UK’s largest student accommodation providers and numerous universities, as do Obsequio group sister companies CDS and APS, assessing, designing, installing and maintaining fire safety systems which have been protecting millions of students, staff and visitors over the past 35 years and ensuring the premises remain compliant.

Using the latest technology, including the highly technical software systems developed by Drax Technology, we enable facilities managers to pinpoint the precise location of a fire event and the ability to determine whether an activated sensor is triggered by a fire or is a false alarm.

Drax Technology’s graphics packages AMX and AMX Connect and add-on dashboard Safevue make identifying the source of a fire straightforward.

The tool offers very clear reactive capabilities, with the security operator’s PC showing precisely where in the building an alarm has occurred, on an easy-to-understand floor plan, along with clear instructions on how to react to the alert.

Drax director Glenn Grant says: “As well as helping avoid costly and unnecessary callouts, this year’s Student Fire Safety Week campaign focused on staying safe in the kitchen. The National Fire Chiefs Council says 60 per cent of fires at halls of residence were started by a cooking mishap.

“London Fire Brigade says only one per cent of fire alarms are caused by an actual fire, with the rest caused by factors such as fumes from cooking or burned food, shower steam, cigarettes or aerosols used near sensors.

“A sad knock-on from the fact that so many fire alarms are false means that a real blaze could be ignored by someone believing it is just a nuisance – the so-called ‘cry wolf ‘effect – with potentially disastrous consequences.

“It is the responsibility of the accommodation providers to ensure their fire safety systems are regularly maintained and compliant. And by helping the students understand how to avoid starting a fire and creating a situation which will trigger a false alarm they will save valuable firefighting resources.”

This year’s campaign used social media to urge students not to leave cooking unattended, nor to cover smoke alarms. It also aimed to explain the function of smoke alarms to overseas students, some of whom are reportedly unfamiliar with the devices.

Last year’s Student Fire Safety Week focused on the dangers of e-bikes and e-cigarettes, with sister Obsequio company CDS teaming up with the National Union of Students to create posters warning of their dangers for display in the communal areas of student accommodation blocks across the UK.

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