Fire Alarm Response
Individual fire authorities are responsible for creating appropriate strategies for their own area. With limited resources and many calls on those resources fire authorities have to make difficult decisions about how they allocate those resources. Sometimes those decisions can be controversial and fire alarm response is sometimes a sensitive area.
Written by Paul Brown on 28th August 2019
The latest figures from the Home Office show that 40% of incidents attended by Fire and Rescue Services in England were false alarms. In the year to December 2018 out of 576,586 incidents attended 231,122 were false alarms, this is a significant drain on fire authority resources.
It is also reported that two thirds of those false alarms were due to apparatus, (approximately 3% were malicious and the rest were made with good intent for example people detecting a smell of burning that was not caused by an actual fire).
In order to try to manage the demands some brigades will now only attend an alert from a fire alarm if they receive a call from a legitimate source to confirm that there is a fire. The Manchester Evening News recently reported that Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue updated their response policy earlier this year and now will not respond to fire alarm activations, in low risk premises, where there is no sleeping accommodation, between 8:00am and 5:00pm unless the caller reasonably believes a fire to have broken out.
If you are having an alarm installed you need to make sure that it is suitable for the premises, is properly maintained and you have procedures in place for when it activates, including safe evacuation and means for a trained person to check the cause without putting themselves in danger.
If your alarm is linked to a monitoring centre then ensuring that in the event of an activation, during times when the premises are occupied and before the fire service is called, you receive a call back which may help reduce unnecessary attendances to false alarms and also ensure that if a fire has occurred the fire service sends the appropriate response.
If you do have a false alarm you will need to take action to prevent it happening again.
Your local fire service may have further advice about avoiding false alarms and the steps you can take to ensure you get a response, if, and when you need it.
If you would like to discuss this matter and how you can protect your business, please get in touch with your usual Franklands’ contact on 01332 545720.