Estimates show that false alarms cost the UK in excess of £1 billion a year. Businesses also suffer lost production and disruption for staff. As a business, you can eradicate this utilising effective management of fire detection and alarm systems.
During 2014, Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service attended more than 1,700 emergency calls to fire alarm activations where there was no fire. As you can imagine, this diverts vital emergency resources from attending real emergencies, wastes valuable time and also taxpayers’ money.
For years now, the Fire & Rescue Service has made every effort to work with persons responsible for fire alarms on their premises and Alarm Receiving Centres.
However, there is still too much reliance on them to investigate alarm activations on your behalf. Gloucestershire, along with several other Fire & Rescue Services across the UK have reached a point where policy change is the only way forward to alter this unsustainable position.
So be informed that as from 1st August 2015, they will not respond to calls generated by an automatic fire alarm at anytime unless the following applies:
Your premises are automatically exempt (to check you can go to guidance at www.glosfire.gov.uk);
A temporary exemption has been granted for your premises (under exceptional circumstances);
You have investigated and confirmed that there is a fire OR physical signs of a fire. (A 999 call must be made in both cases).
This is a risk-based approach which will be applied to commercial (non-sleeping risk) premises such as industrial, commercial, office, shops and public premises. The Fire & Rescue Services will continue to immediately respond to alarm activations in premises such as private dwellings, sheltered housing, residential care homes, where people sleep or there are vulnerable occupants.
The person who is responsible for the fire safety management of the premises must review their fire risk assessment to ensure that suitable arrangements are in place to investigate alarm activations
when the premises are occupied and also for when the premises are unoccupied. They advise the following: –
Train your staff and key holders to safely investigate the activations of the fire alarm system.
Ensure that a procedure is in place to dial 999 immediately in the event of a fire or any physicals signs of a fire being discovered.