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Burnt toast and cooking spark 35,000 false fire alarms in just one year

Burnt toast and cooking sparked nearly 35,000 false fire alarms in England in the year ending March 2019.

(PA)
(PA)

By Katie Harris, PA

Burnt toast and cooking sparked nearly 35,000 false fire alarms in England in just one year, Home Office figures show.

There were more than 150,000 fire service call-outs in the year ending March 2019 listed as “due to apparatus”, such as automatic alarms.

And 34,582 of these were set off by “cooking/burned toast”.

It was second in the list of causes of false fire alarms over the year after faulty systems, which triggered 40,813 of the call-outs.

Responding to the figures, the National Fire Chiefs Council warned attending false alarms “takes firefighters away from other work”.

They added that it puts the public in danger as they could start ignoring alarms.

A spokesperson said: “Fire services respond to more false alarms than any other type of incident.

“Every year, around 40% of all 999 calls received by fire services are false alarms.

“It is estimated that false fire alarms cost the UK economy in the region of £1 billion each year.

“When fire services are attending false alarms, it takes firefighters away from other work, such as community safety work and real emergencies.

“It can also create panic with the public if alarms are going off unnecessarily, or people start to ignore them, which could have devastating results.

“In addition, fire can have a devastating impact on small and medium businesses; therefore, we encourage people to keep them in good, working order.”

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