What are False Alarms?

A false alarm is the activation of an automatic fire alarm system that is caused by reasons other than fire. An alarm is only deemed as false after the Tasmania Fire Service has attended the scene and determined the nature of the alarm. Tasmania Fire Service works with the community to reduce the occurrence of false alarms.

For the 2022-2023 financial year, Tasmania Fire Service responded to more than 4,500 false alarms. On average, this is more than 12 false alarms each day of the year.

Under the Fire Service Act 1979 (View – Tasmanian Legislation Online), Tasmania Fire Service has a legal responsibility to respond to every notification of a fire, and this includes fire alarm activations.

There are three ways that Tasmania Fire Service may be notified of a fire alarm activation:

  1. Direct Brigade Alarms – Tasmania Fire Service monitors the detection and suppression systems installed within buildings and is automatically notified on alarm activation.
  2. Calls to attend to activated fire alarms through privately monitored alarm systems (such as through security companies).
  3. Calls to attend to activated fire alarms through public notification.

There are many causes of false alarms, with the following some of the more common:

  • Insufficient or poor building maintenance.
  • Smoke resulting from cooking activities or burning food (such as toasters).
  • Steam from showers, cleaning, and cooking.
  • Aerosols such as deodorant and insect spray.
  • Smoke and fumes from cigarettes, vaping, candles, and incense.
  • Maintenance works on buildings that create dust or fumes.
  • Malicious or accidental manual call point or break glass alarm activations.
  • Detectors in areas not suited for their purpose (i.e. smoke detectors in kitchens).
  • Poor ventilation.
  • Insect infestations (particularly in larger factory premises).

For more information, refer to our False Alarm FAQ page.