FIREFIGHTERS dealt with 454 false alarms in Renfrewshire in just three months. 

Just under half of the incidents – between October and December – were unwanted fire alarm signals (UFAS), which came at a cost of £443,250.

False alarms contributed significantly to all 735 of incidents responded to by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in the area during that three-month period. 

Around 30 per cent of all the incidents were UFAS, while 11 per cent were false alarms with good intent and two per cent were malicious in nature. 

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The total number of false alarms represents a two per cent increase on the amount which were responded to during the same period in 2017.

The majority happened in the Paisley area, with 96 incidents in the town. 

Paisley Northwest had most of those incidents at 49. 

The biggest chunk of UFAS took place in schools and other educational premises, while the problem was also prevalent in warehouses, retail premises, offices, call centres and hospitals. 

Unwanted signals typically happened on a weekday during working hours. An average of more than two a day were recorded at the end of 2018. 

A performance report – which will be presented at today’s Police and Fire and Rescue Scrutiny sub-committee – showed that actual fires in the three-month period are down from the previous year. 

The 176 fires represented a 25 per cent decrease from the corresponding period in 2017.

During the period of October and December 2018, 54 casualties were recorded – a decrease of 14 per cent from the same period in 2017.

At the last scrutiny sub-committee in January, Renfrewshire’s fire chiefs focused on the issue of deliberate fire setting in the area. 

A spotlight report for October to December revealed a 35 per cent downturn in the issue, with just 96 incidents taking place. 

That figure was compared against 152 in 2017 and 165 in 2016. 

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However, Mark Gallacher, group commander and Renfrewshire’s head of prevention and protection, said at a previous meeting: “It’s an encouraging picture that deliberate fires are down but they are costing a lot of money to our taxpayers. 

“We are down to 96 but that’s 96 too many.

“We are never going to be able to eradicate it but what we are trying to do is build a strategy with our partners at Police Scotland and in the local authority to look at ways we can target that and identify any trends that are causing us concern." 

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