False alarms outnumber real fire call outs in Wiltshire

False alarms outnumber real fire call outs in Wiltshire

Published by Jack Deery at 6:25am 25th February 2020. (Updated at 10:38am 25th February 2020)

3 minute read

Firefighters were called to 1,657 incidents in our area last year.

More than HALF of the incidents crews from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to in South Wiltshire during 2019 were false alarms.

  • False alarms - 624
  • Actual fires- 543
  • Special service - 490

Special service call outs include incidents like road collisions, where there is no fire to be dealt with. 

This high number of false alarms may have cost the authority around £275,450.

Fire Engine side 1 (Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue)
The false alarms out weight actual fire call outs in South Wiltshire

David Graham, Group Manager for DWFRS, said: 

"Not all false alarms are malicious and that's quite often the perception from the public is that when we say false alarm people think it's a malicious intent.

We have lots of good intent false alarms where people were genuinely concerned there was a fire or there was a problem, but we've turned up and investigated and we've been able to reassure them and say thank you."


Unsurprisingly, due its population, Salisbury topped South Wiltshire's charts with 926 call outs in total: 

  • False alarms - 376
  • Actual fires- 247
  • Special service - 303
DWFRS Stats breakdown

However, of the seven fire stations in our part of the county, only Salisbury and Pewsey had more false alarms than actual fires. 


The service say that a lot of false call outs are because of smoke alarms, but they're perfectly happy with that. 

David added: 

"Even 10 false alarms is better than one actual property fire. 

There is so much prevention and benefit to be gained from that which far outweighs any risk or any perception that people might have about the negative consequences of a false alarm."

They are now encouraging us to let them know if you're planning on holding a bonfire or controlled burn.

We are being asked to report our planned bonfires

You can tell them by going to the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service website

You can also report a fire by calling 999.

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