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Changes being made to automatic fire alarm attendance

Date: 18th March, 2024

When Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service will attend automatic fire alarms is changing.

From 1 April, alarms sounding at low-risk commercial premises will only receive an emergency response if there is a 999 call or other confirmation that a fire is suspected.

The change is being introduced to reduce the number of false alarms attended by fire crews. Such mobilisations can cause unnecessary risks to the public and responding firefighters, cause disruption to the business, and may delay a response to a genuine emergency.

Automatic fire alarm activations at domestic and residential buildings; at any premises where people sleep; and identified higher-risk properties will still be attended by a fire crew.

Protection (Improvement) Manager Emma Turner said: “During 2022/23, the Service attended 1,946 automatic fire alarms in commercial premises that didn’t need an emergency response. Fire safety legislation puts the responsibility onto the premises to investigate the cause of these alarms, whether there is a fire or not. There is also responsibility to ensure that alarm systems are maintained.”

She added: “We need business owners and managers to understand the importance of keeping their alarm systems in good working order, and having the right processes in place to keep their staff and premises safe.”

More information on the changes, including a useful downloadable leaflet and an explanatory video, can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/automatic-fire-alarms

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