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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Businesses warned of changes to firefighters attending automatic fire alarms

22/05/2015

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Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is warning businesses that from next month automatic fire alarms, where there is no confirmation of a fire, will not be attended by firefighters.

"At the moment we send a fire engine to every automatic fire alarm between 8pm and 8am. We will now extend these hours to follow the same policy as we do during daytime hours which is we will only send a fire engine if we have confirmation of a fire from the caller, or a number of alarms operate or if a sprinkler system operates. Put simply we will always attend a fire but not an automatic fire alarm system."

Technical Fire Safety Lead Paul Shaw

The move is an extension to the current policy which sees automatic fire alarms only attended during the 12 hour period from 8pm to 8am. This new policy, to be implemented from June 1, will see this extended to 24 hours a day.

The policy will exclude domestic properties, sheltered housing, residential care premises and hospitals, which will receive an attendance based on the information received at the time of the emergency call.

Technical Fire Safety Lead Paul Shaw said: "This is an extension to the current policy that has successfully been in place for the past four years. At the moment we send a fire engine to every automatic fire alarm between 8pm and 8am. We will now extend these hours to follow the same policy as we do during daytime hours which is we will only send a fire engine if we have confirmation of a fire from the caller, or a number of alarms operate or if a sprinkler system operates. Put simply we will always attend a fire but not an automatic fire alarm system.

"Last year alone crews unnecessarily went out to over 1,500 automatic fire alarms between the hours of 8pm and 8am. Whilst crews are attending these incidents it means they are unavailable to attend other, potentially life threatening incidents.

"Businesses will now be used to the policy we operate during the day; it’s now just a case of them being aware that this now extends to overnight. We’re urging businesses to use this move as a reminder for them to ensure that their current automatic fire alarms systems are up to date and maintained.

"As part of the Fire Safety Order (2005) businesses have a legal responsibility to have suitable fire detection equipment that is regularly tested and maintained. Unfortunately many aren’t correctly maintained and this is the cause of them unnecessarily activating. We offer a business support service that can provide guidance and also training on the fire warning and detection systems."

For more information about the new policy visit the business section of the Service’s website: www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk from June 1 or email firesafety@staffordshirefire.gov.uk