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Posted 15/07/2015

GLOUCESTERSHIRE FIRE & RESCUE SERVICE - CHANGES TO THE WAY WE RESPOND TO AUTOMATIC FIRE ALARM ACTIVATIONS

It is estimated that false alarms cost the UK in excess of £1 billion a year. Businesses suffer lost
production and disruption for staff. This can be eradicated with effective management of fire detection
and alarm systems. Last year, Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service attended more than 1,700
emergency calls to fire alarm activations where there was no fire. This diverts vital emergency
resources from attending real emergencies, wasting our time and taxpayers’ money.
For a number of years, 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 to alter this
unsustainable position.
From 1st August 2015, they will not respond to calls generated by an automatic fire alarm at anytime
unless: -
• Your premises are automatically exempted (see 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. They 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 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.
For further clarification or if you wish to apply for an exemption, please email

AFAenquiries@glosfire.gov.uk. A ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ document is also available for viewing
or download at www.glosfire.gov.uk

Click Here to Download PDF

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