False alarms

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service are under continuing pressure to reduce the demand on our service.  One area where we experience unnecessary and excessive demand is responding to false alarms. As a result of this we have changed our policy for responding to fire calls generated from actuations of automatic fire alarm systems.

What we have done

We will no longer send an emergency response to calls from alarm receiving centres unless it is confirmed that there is a fire in progress. Premises exempt from the new policy  that will continue to receive an emergency response include; domestic premises; sheltered housing; residential care premises and hospitals. Premises where a coincidence alarm is fitted or a sprinkler alarm activates will still receive an emergency response.

What you should do

As well as ensuring that your fire alarm system is maintained, you should put procedures in place to investigate all activations. 

If your automatic fire warning system operates, you should initiate an evacuation of your premises and begin to investigate the reason for activation. If you identify any symptoms of fire call ‘999’ immediately. If you discover that there is no fire, there is no need to inform us and you can bring your premises back to normal operation as quickly as possible.

With procedures in place to investigate alarm activations, there is no need for a signal to be passed to an alarm receiving centre when premises are occupied. Therefore premises management are encouraged to take their alarm system “off line” during the hours that the premises are occupied. For when the premises are unoccupied, call centres should be provided with the contact numbers of responsible persons to carry out any preliminary investigation prior to calling SFRS.