Rise in false fire alarms at Leeds General Infirmary as demolition makes way for two new hospitals

Demolition and building work at Leeds General Infirmary has caused a rise in false fire alarms at the hospital, a fire safety report has revealed.

By Abbey Maclure
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 2:32 pm
Leeds General Infirmary has seen a significant rise in false fire alarms, caused by ongoing demolition and building work (Photo: Simon Hulme)

There were 7,800 false alarms across Leeds from April 1 to December 1 last year, according to a report from the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) community safety committee.

The prevalence of false alarms is 14.4 per cent above the WYFRS target for the Leeds district, with the number of malicious false fire alarms 11.4 per cent above target.

LGI saw a significant rise in false fire alarms during that period, caused by building work which is making way for two new state-of-the-art hospitals.

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A CGI image of the new state-of-the-art hospitals at Leeds General Infirmary

As part of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT)'s 'Hospitals of the Future' programme, demolition for the project began in 2020.

One of the hospitals will deliver a range of adult health services and the second will be the new home for Leeds Children’s Hospital, both on the site of the Old Nurses’ Home on Calverley Street.

Leeds firefighters are working with LGI to reduce the number of false fire alarms as the building work continues, the report said.

Firefighters also attended a significant number of false alarms in Bismarck Court, Hunslet.

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The report said: "We are working with the properties management team to resolve the associated on-site issues, which has had a positive outcome.

"Following our contact with the responsible people of the site we have seen no further false alarm mobilisations up to this date."

The fire service is working with Leeds City Council' s fire management team to reduce false alarms at its 10 most-hit sites and has rolled out a new reporting process which helps crews to identify issues relating to false alarms.

The report also highlighted a reduction in arson-related incidents in Leeds, falling to 12.4 per cent below the fire service target, and it praised a joint effort to tackle anti-social behaviour on Bonfire Night.

In November 2019, firefighters, police and members of the public came under attack in a five-hour incident in Harehills, which saw lawless crowds throw fireworks and set fire to bins.

This year, WYFRS, West Yorkshire Police and Leeds City Council worked together to increase community engagement in the run up to Bonfire Night, hosting stalls, attending community centres and providing updates on platforms such as Facebook.

There were no recorded attacks on firefighters during the Bonfire night period.

The report added: "It is felt that this approach provided a reduction of arson and anti-social behaviour across the district, but particularly in targeted areas that data shows have been problematic in previous years."

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