Reduce fire brigade call-outs in only 7 steps

Posted: 20.02.2020

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you or your colleagues have got to know your local fire brigade all too well. In this post, we’re going cover the main issues related to managing fire events in assisted living residents and how you can overcome the burden of unwanted brigade call-outs using some simple updates to your existing systems.

The fire safety challenges in assisted living

The challenging conditions of assisted living residents have the unfortunate side effect of an increase in the number of false fire alarms and, in turn, unwanted fire brigade call-outs.

Facility operators put resident safety first, so have very strict SLAs with regards to fire. If it can’t be proven that a fire event is false within seconds, they or their monitoring centre (Alarm Receiving Centre – ARC) will call the brigade.

Less than a minute to assess the situation

If an ARC receives a fire event message from an assisted living property, they have an agreed time-frame (usually <1-min) before they must call the fire brigade. If they can prove the fire event is false within this period, the event will be cleared and no further action taken.

To prove a fire event is false, the ARC must place a call to the address in question, for someone on-site to check the fire event on the fire alarm panel, and then to state whether the fire is true or false. As you can imagine, this often results in false brigade call-outs because there simply isn’t the time to find out if the event is real or not.

If you combine this issue with a residential block of apartments, with residents who are more prone to burning toast, and a telecare platform with a busy line and stacked events, the issue can grow by an order of magnitude.

Problem summary

  • An assisted living facility is a warden-managed property, usually housing the elderly. These facilities are often managed by social landlords, including councils. Some private schemes are also in place.
  • A telecare system is used in assisted living properties to provide a social and emergency contact channel between residents and their care providers. Telecare systems also have automated functions, like raising alerts from fire alarms with the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC).
  • An ARC is a specialist call-centre and is tasked with responding to alerts and calls within set time periods. They have set processes to follow depending on the type of event received. The ARC will have specialist telecare operators working within their call centres.
  • Due to restrictions with the telecare and the fire detection systems, reporting and monitoring of fire events are often crude. The fire alarm will send a general fire event to the telecare system, making it difficult to determine the location of the fire event, within the given time-frame, often resulting in false fire brigade call-outs

How do you resolve this problem?

Having been leaders in fire and critical alarm management software for 20+ years, at Drax 360, we know how to report fire events better than most.

By placing a software interface between the fire detection system and the telecare platform, we’ve been able to provide ARCs with heightened contextual information about the events. This includes; location, time-stamp (when the fire event was triggered by the fire alarm), communication issues, pre-alarms, testing reports and more. If a fire event is triggered on the telecare platform, the ARC operator will see a priority event on their screen, and can immediately call the residence to check to see if the fire event is real or not. We have calculated this is at least 10X faster than the existing method and false brigade call-outs are almost entirely cut out.

7-Step Solution

The implementation is very simple. Here, we’ve laid out the most common steps:

  1. We survey each location and specify the required hardware to communicate with your fire alarm panels (it’s usually a direct replacement of the existing auto-dialer).
  2. We’ll work with your IT department to set up a server within your premises. This ensures you have full control of your data.
  3. We’ll work with your ARC to ensure we have an integration with your/their telecare system.
  4.  We install the hardware (this usually takes <1-day per location). We are also happy to work with your incumbent fire alarm maintenance contractors; we’ll simply swoop in at the end to commission the system.
  5. Each site will begin to report data back to the ARC as soon as it is switched on.
  6. Your sites will immediately see a dramatic decrease in the number of false fire brigade visits.
  7. As a part of your annual contract, we provide continuous data quality monitoring of the hardware, and offer an evergreen warranty on all devices, giving you peace of mind that the system will always be operational.


We’d love to hear from you!

If your organisation is burdened with unwanted fire brigade call-outs, don’t worry, there is a simple and cost-effective solution available to you. If you’d like to learn more about how we’re helping others like you, we’d love to hear from you. Please fill out the form below, or call us on 0345 459 2300 to speak with one of our experts.

Thanks for reading!

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