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2 – Managing attendance to Automatic Fire Alarms

Reduce response to low-risk Automatic Fire Alarms (AFAs) which are often unwanted fire signals (an alarm activated by a something other than a fire)


  • Continue to always respond to Automatic Fire Alarms at premises where people sleep.
  • Increase the timespan when we would not respond to Automatic Fire Alarms at premises where people do not sleep by two hours (from 08:00-18:00 to 07:00-19:00).
  • Continue to respond to Automatic Fire Alarms at premises which present a high risk to firefighter safety but remove the requirement to automatically respond to premises that present a low risk to firefighter safety.
  • Introduce the ability to charge for attendance at repeat Automatic Fire Alarms.
  • Remove the need to always use blue lights and sirens when responding to Automatic Fire Alarms at premises where people do not sleep, and keep the fire engine available for redirection to more critical incidents if required.
  • Review the type of response we provide to Automatic Fire Alarms. For example, we might send a single officer in a car to determine whether we need to attend rather than 4 firefighters on a fire engine.

Why are we proposing this?

  • We attend around 2,550 Automatic Fire Alarms every year – 38%of all incidents. 9 in 10 prove to be false alarms which we call unwanted fire signals (UwFS).
  • Unwanted fire signals attendance uses valuable time and resource, diverting our operational crews from prevention and risk reduction activities and other more critical incident types.
  • We currently do not attend Automatic Fire Alarms at premises where people do not sleep between 08:00 and 18:00. Increasing this timeframe by two hours would reduce our Automatic Fire Alarmsdemand each year by about 3,5% (90 fewer attendances).
  • We hold risk information about a range of premises. Non-automatic attendance to premises with lower risk to firefighter safety during the day would result in a reduction in Automatic Fire Alarm attendances of around 12% (310 fewer attendances) each year.
  • There is no legal duty on Fire and Rescue Authorities to respond to calls originating from AFA systems to establish if there is a fire.