Fire Brigade response to Automatic Fire Alarms

29/04/2013

Fire Brigade response to Automatic Fire Alarms

Like many other Fire Brigades, from June 2013 the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service will be introducing changes to the way they respond to Automatic Fire Alarms.

The premises mainly effected by these changes will be those used for commercial purposes and some public buildings.  In essence, from June 2013 Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service will not automatically respond to Automatic Fire Alarms  occurring between 7am - 7pm during the working week unless there is a confirmed report of fire from the premises. Other higher risk premises will not be effected by the changes and will retain an automatic response.

Nigel Williams, the Chief Fire Officer of Norfolk states that 'One of the greatest drains on our resources continues to be calls generated by the actuation of AFAs when there is no fire. Well designed, effectively maintained and properly used AFAs cause very few problems to either occupiers or us. Unfortunately systems that do not meet these criteria are responsible for numerous unwanted calls due to system faults or failures in the occupier's management of the system; with 95 per cent of all calls to automatic fire alarms turning out to be false alarms. This wastes our time, your time and taxpayers' money. It can also have a detrimental effect on your productivity.

We are making every effort to reduce the number of false alarms we attend and it is only right that employers accept their responsibility for having effective measures in place to maintain and manage fire alarm equipment. To reduce the number of unwanted fire calls from Automatic Fire Detection Systems we have decided to take action to ensure our operational resources are used effectively and to ensure that these can be available to respond to real emergencies.

Under new procedures being introduced on the 1st June 2013, we will no longer be responding to certain calls originating from automatic fire alarms in offices, shops, factories and other lower life risk premises unless there is a confirmed emergency (fire, smell of burning or smoke). However, the risk to life in premises such as schools and where people sleep, such as hospitals and residential homes, is considerably higher as children or the elderly and infirm are often involved and reaction may be slower. For this reason, we will still mobilise to alarm calls at these types of premises.'

'BBC Fire Protection supports the Fire Brigades and are doing everything we can to inform our Clients of the need for proper design, the use of new multi criteria technologies and the implementation of rigorous maintenance regime and staff training that dramatically reduces false fire alarm activations' says Simon Cavill, General Sales Manager of BBC Fire Protection' he also says that by 'chosing a LPCB Approved Company to the LPS1014 scheme, the Client is selecting a Company that is independently vetted in all aspects of the Fire Alarm cycle from System Design right the way through to Planned Maintenance regime'.

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