Firefighters change response to automatic alarms

Northwich Guardian: Firefighters change response to automatic alarms Firefighters change response to automatic alarms

FIREFIGHTERS are cutting their call-outs after a rise in false alarms.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is looking to reduce the number or Automatic Fire Alarms (AFAs) it attends as crews are not needed for almost 99 per cent.

In 2012 and 2013 crews attended 2,547 AFAs as a result of systems either being activated accidentally, because of a fault or for example, where alarms were set off by cooking fumes.

Only 29 of these calls involved a fire and all but a few required any firefighting action.

Keith Brooks, head of community fire protection said: “AFAs cost business time, money and divert firefighters from genuine emergencies and other duties.

“They also put road users and pedestrians at risk as fire engines respond at speed on blue lights.

“Although emergency attendance to places where people sleep will not change nor will calls be challenged, the new procedure will help bring down false emergency calls in commercial premises.”

The system will work so that when a call comes in from a building between 9am to 5pm, a fire engine will not automatically be sent.

A 999 call will need to be made from someone at the premises, who can confirm there is a fire in the building.

Outside these hours control operators will expect confirmation of a fire from the Alarm Receiving Centre who should have contacted the premises in before calling 999.

If there is no answer at the premises, a fire engine will still be sent.

Keith added: “Fire safety managers need to be aware of this change and include it in their fire procedures and risk assessment.

“They also need to make their staff aware, that in the event of a fire, they should call 999 immediately.”

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