Last week, Notts Fire Service had new measures approved which will see them check whether a fire is real before sending out a fire crew. Colin Milligan, Sales Director at Tecserv UK, warns that businesses should take urgent action to protect their businesses.
Commenting he said, “Notts is not the first to make this decision and it won’t be the last, as the fire service takes further measures to try to reduce the cost of attending unwanted fire alarms. I urge those with responsibility for fire safety within their organisations to make certain their fire alarm systems have been checked and are regularly maintained.”
Most fire alarm systems are programmed to alert the fire service should the alarm be activated. Normally, the fire service would attend the scene, but under these new measures, they will now call the building to check if it is genuine.
Whilst some high risk buildings will be exempt from this scheme, such as residential properties, care homes and hospitals, there could be significant risk to businesses, particularly when unoccupied overnight, as the fire service will need to contact the key holder to confirm the fire, which could cause delays.
Colin added, “It has always been the case that where the fire service has repeatedly attended automatic fire alarm call outs, where the call out has turned out to be an unwanted fire alarm system (UwFS), that they can reduce their response.”
“However, more recently, like Notts, a number of Fire & Rescue Services have amended their Policy and Procedures for dealing with automatic fire alarm calls (AFA). It is likely that other Fire & Rescue Services across the UK already have, or will make similar changes, such that fire crews will not respond to any automatic fire alarm calls (AFAs) at the majority of business premises (including schools) unless a caller at the building reasonably believes that there is a fire.”
“The change means that a ‘999’ call will need to be made from someone at the premises, who reasonably believes that a fire has broken out. Only then will fire engines respond.”
He concluded, “There are a number of reasons for false fire alarm activations, such as insects and people accidently setting off an alarm, however call outs due to faulty equipment can be minimised by ensuring the fire alarm system is regularly checked and maintained by a BAFE or other third party approved fire alarm company.”