As of 1 April 2020, the Service no longer attends Automatic Fire Alarms (AFAs) at commercial premises between the hours of 8am and 6pm, Monday to Sunday.
This policy was introduced to reduce the number of unwanted fire signals attended by fire crews. Such mobilisations can cause unnecessary risk to firefighters and the public, take up crucial time, and may delay a response to a genuine emergency.
We will still always attend for AFA activations:
- In domestic and residential buildings;
- At all other places where people sleep, and identified higher risk premises;
- At commercial buildings, other workplaces and places of assembly between 6pm and 8am Monday to Sunday; and
- At any premises where a fire is suspected, on receipt of a 999 call, or by confirmation by other means.
Unwanted fire signals have many different causes, most of which can be dealt with by careful planning. Investigating the causes of false alarms will provide you with important information to help you manage your system. More information is available from the National Fire Chiefs Council.
The correct positioning of detection devices and call points is essential. False alarms can be caused by activation of the system for reasons other than a fire, including:
- Pollutants in the air setting off detectors (such as cooking fumes, aerosols, steam etc);
- Incorrect detector type;
- Vandalism or malicious acts;
- Incorrect use of the system;
- Equipment being faulty or not maintained properly;
- Fire detectors or manual call points in the wrong place;
- Fire detection system not appropriate for the building;
- Testing the system without informing your alarm receiving centre;
- Contractors working on site or other aggravating work processes.
If your business has a problem with false alarms, contact your alarm installer or maintenance contractor. Any changes to your fire alarm system should be risk assessed prior to implementation.
We have collated some frequently asked questions about automatic fire alarms.