John Hall, NFPA's division director of Fire Analysis and Research, discussed NFPA's response to the growing concern of unwanted alarms at the Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference (SUPDET) in Orlando, Florida. NFPA's report, "Unwanted Fire Alarms," identifies this concern--in 2009, fire departments responded to 16 false alarms for every 10 fires, and 45 false alarms for every 10 structure fires.
During his presentation, Dr. Hall discussed specific outcomes of a 2011 summit that discussed potential solutions to the unwanted alarms issue. One of them was NFPA's Fire Service Guide to Reducing Unwanted Alarms. Hall gives an overview of the guide in the following video:
Another outcome from the summit was a project by the Fire Protection Research Foundation to develop a tool for the fire service that would calculate response strategies for unwanted alarms. Here's Dr. Hall's take on this project:
Dr. Hall ended his presentation by listing a series of potential next steps, which may include asking fire departments to beta test the new tool. When asked by a SUPDET attendee if the tool would be highly utilized by the fire service, Hall responded, "If all you have is data that gives you a percentage of calls that are not fires, the tool will do everything else."