FALSE alarms continue to make up the majority of call outs for Wee County firefighters, it has been revealed.

Figures covering the six months between April and September last year highlighted alarms were triggered by accident or, very rarely, maliciously on 22 more occasions than the same period in 2016.

The details were presented to Clackmannanshire Council's Scrutiny Committee at Kilncraigs last Thursday, February 16, by Roddie Keith, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's local senior officer for Clacks and Stirling.

Reducing the number of unwanted alarms, mainly by working in close partnership with those who maintain and run detection systems, remains a priority for the service.

The increase is in line with a national trend – due to the fact that there are more and more automated alarms in place.

While the systems are an essential tool that can detect a fire early, they can also react unnecessarily to steam, cigarette smoke, cooking and much more.

Mr Keith explained liaison officers are now in place to work closely with businesses and make sure the right kind of detection devices are in the right places.

Unwanted alarms can lose businesses revenue and can also place crews at unnecessary risk – the fire chief highlighted how watch manager John Noble died in a road accident when an appliance attended a false alarm 10 years ago.

Firefighters sent to a false alarm will also not be available for other, potentially genuine, incidents.

Regular false alarms can breed complacency among staff and the senior officer highlighted the number of appliances is sometimes reduced when attending a call out to a business where unwanted alarms are common.

When asked by Conservative Councillor Bill Mason, Mr Keith reassured accidental call outs “almost exclusively” happen when an automated system triggers and deliberate false alarms remain rare.