Put a flea collar on your smoke alarm

PUBLISHED: 11:57 13 June 2007 | UPDATED: 22:51 28 May 2010

Paul Clarke demonstrates how to attach the flea collar to the smoke alarm.

Paul Clarke demonstrates how to attach the flea collar to the smoke alarm.

A TRIAL using dog flea collars to prevent insects from setting off fire alarms has been so successful that Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) is now urging others to take note. Last year, firefighters in Cambridgeshire were called out more tha

A TRIAL using dog flea collars to prevent insects from setting off fire alarms has been so successful that Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) is now urging others to take note.

Last year, firefighters in Cambridgeshire were called out more than 4,600 times to businesses and other non-domestic premises to deal with false automatic fire alarms (AFAs) otherwise known as Unwanted Fire Signals (UFS).

While some UFSs were down to faulty equipment, dust and bonfires, a significant percentage during the summer months are caused by thunder flies entering the smoke detectors, triggering them off. July 2006 saw a 50-per-cent increase in this type of call, placing a huge strain on the service during the busy summer months

However, help has arrived in the form of an unlikely secret weapon which keeps thunder flies at bay - dog flea collars.

The discovery was made by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, which completed a trial at stately homes and found the flea collars to have a success rate of up to 100-per-cent. The collars contain chemicals to ward off the flies for up to three months.

Paul Clarke, Fire Signal Manager for Cambridgeshire, said: "Unwanted Fire Signals place an incredible burden on both the fire service and the business or organisation involved.

"This was particularly the case last summer, when our resources were already stretched trying to extinguish the high level of field and stack fires.

"Any actions that can be taken to try and reduce the number of false alarms - including really bizarre suggestions like the use of flea collars - is welcomed by CFRS.

"Although quirky, I would urge businesses and organisations to take this advice seriously and try the flea collars out on their own alarms, particularly those known to have been affected by insects in the past."

Other top tips for keeping UFS at bay, include:

* Ensure that the fire alarm is installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturers instructions by an accredited company

* Ensure that cooking and smoking takes place in specifically designated areas away from the fire alarm.

* If any contractors visit your building, make sure they are aware of any fire alarms in the area where they are working.

* Try to keep windows and doors closed during harvest time.

* Ensure all staff are aware of the impact of UFS's on both the Fire Service and business

* Ensure every actuation is properly investigated and an recorded in the fire log book.


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