'False alarm' calls to fire stations increasing

Barbara Boyd


Barbara Boyd



LAST year witnessed an overall rise in both calls and false alarm calls to local fire stations across the district.

Figures revealed recently by the Minister of Health, showed the number of calls, mobilised and non-mobilised, received by Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) Regional Control Centre.

The number of calls for financial years 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 were then broken down by station across Northern Ireland.

This same analysis was also used to record the number of false alarm calls that were recorded for the same period.

From 2016 until last year alone there were 1,163 calls made that were responded to by Banbridge station.

Last year saw the highest number of calls with 432, compared to 338 for 2016/17.

The total false alarm calls for Banbridge for this same period stood at 709, with 2019’s ranked the highest at 266 deemed false for a single year.

Dromore station also recorded a new high for calls last year with 157 - a rise of 129 from the previous year.

False calls to Dromore also witnessed a growing trend with 93 made last year, a record high, and 223 for the three-year period.

Newry’s numbers ranked among some of the highest for the local area, with 3,595 calls made over the three-year period - 1,590 of those were made last year alone.

False alarm calls made to Newry were also highest in the district with a total of 918 for just last year alone, ranking the largest number over the three-year period.

Meanwhile, Rathfriland station also noticed an increase of calls last year with 239 compared to 191 made in the previous year.

Rathfriland station responded to 558 calls over the three-year period and last year also recorded the highest number of false alarm calls to the local station with 109 compared to just 63 in 2016.

The number of calls to Warrenpoint station stayed exactly the same at 164 for 2016/17 and 2017/18 and jumped to 214 calls last year.

Warrenpoint’s false calls also noticed an increase last year - but just by seven from the previous year to 109.

Kilkeel station noticed a big jump in calls last year of 591, compared to 354 for the previous year.

The local station responded to 1,281 calls over the three-year period and also noticed an increase in false calls.

Last year recorded 293 false calls compared to 181 calls the year before and also 161 calls the year before that.

Stations across the whole of Northern Ireland witnessed an overall rise in calls for last year with 38,511 compared to 36,462 for the year before and 35,414 for 2016/17.

Calls that were deemed to be false have also risen during this period and 2019 accounted for 23,970 of false calls across the whole of Northern Ireland compared to 22,627 false calls for the year before.

Meanwhile 2016/17 recorded a total of 21,602 false calls across all of Northern Ireland.

The increase of year-on-year fire calls across the district comes as NIFRS reported nearly a 50 per cent increase in dwelling fires last month, compared to the same period last year.

There were 101 accidental fires in the home from 2 March until 5 April however, during the same period in 2019 there were 68 accidental fires in the home, meaning there has been a 49 per cent increase this year.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the community has spent the majority of the month of March in their homes and cooking, electrical incidents and candles or matches have been the main causes of fire during this time.

There has been an increase of 33 per cent in the number of cooking appliance related fires in March 2020, compared to March 2019, and electricity supply related and smoking related fires have also more than doubled during this time period.

The number of casualties at accidental fires in the home has also increased by 48 per cent during this time.

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