Fire crews ignore automatic alarms

27 Mar 2014

A local fire service has said it will no longer respond to automatic fire alarms (AFAs) in certain buildings unless they are given confirmation of a fire.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) will not attend AFAs at locations such as offices, factories, warehouses, schools, museums, cinemas, public buildings and places of worship unless the fire is verified on the premises or by someone nearby, according to the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.

However, it reports that crews will still respond to AFAs at domestic buildings such as flats, houses, hospitals, nursing homes and boarding schools between the hours of 08:00 and 20:00 GMT.

NFRS responded to nearly 800 AFAs between 2011 and 2014 but it turned out there was no fire in 98% of cases, statistics showed.

"False alarms caused by automatic detection systems divert our resources from the people and emergencies which need them the most," said Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage, cabinet member for public protection, strategic infrastructure and economic growth.

The council said it is taking action as part of a wider strategy among many fire and rescue services nationwide to combat the problem of unwanted fire signals.

It is the duty of the Responsible Person in a building to determine whether there is actually a fire and take the appropriate action when an automatic alarm is activated, while there is no legal requirement for fire and rescue services to attend in such circumstances.

Copyright Press Association 2014

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