Our fire crews do not automatically respond to calls generated by an automatic fire alarm (AFA) system at:
- Industrial premises
- Commercial premises
- Licensed premises with no sleeping risk
- Place of worships
- Public buildings
unless there is a confirmed report of a fire at the premises.
However, we will respond to premises where people sleep or are more vulnerable, unless a problem is highlighted with the fire alarm. These premises must make a confirmation call via 999 once a fire has been confirmed or is thought to be at the premises following activation of the AFA system. This arrangement applies at any time of day or day of the week.
We have worked with businesses to address the issue of false alarms over the last few years, seeing some reductions. The changes have ensured that emergency resources have been used efficiently to deliver an effective response to real emergencies; being based on the very high likelihood that these alarms are either false or caused by system or design problems.
The changes have reduced unnecessary risks to the public in two key areas:
- Appliances, equipment and crews have been available for real emergencies rather than attending false fire alarm calls.
- A significant reduction of unnecessary 'blue light' movements.
Premises with high levels of false fire alarms
Premises with high levels of false alarms from AFA systems are reviewed. This could result in the fire service suspending an automatic emergency response to an AFA signal, requiring a confirmation 999 call from the premises that fire, or perception of fire is at the premises before we will respond to your premises.
If we implement this arrangement at your premises, this could apply for any time of day, or day of the week; and would remain in place until we are satisfied that your fire alarm problems have been rectified.
We advise that if your premises has either 1) three or more confirmed false fire alarms in a five day rolling period; or 2) five or more confirmed false fire alarms in a 13 week rolling period; our response to automatic fire alarm activations at your premises will be reviewed.
The suspension criteria will not apply to hospitals, domestic dwellings, sheltered housing, schools or flats, however the service will still seek engagement with you to rectify the problem.
We want to make it absolutely clear that all reports of fire or perception of fire at any premises will always receive an immediate emergency response.
Premises with links to fire alarm monitoring organisations
All fire alarm monitoring organisations linked to Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service have been informed of the changes. Buildings, and in particular business premises in contract with Fire Alarm Monitoring Organisations (FAMOs) or Fire Alarm receiving Centres (ARCs) should check that their key holder arrangements and details are kept up to date.
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service reiterate the importance of keeping premises key holder details up to date with your FAMO / ARC as we will not do this for you.
By regularly reviewing your key holder details with your FAMO / ARC in conjunction with any out of hours response arrangements will support your business continuity arrangements.
We would reiterate the importance of having up to date key holder information with your FAMO or ARC to enable your designated key holder to be informed of any fire alarm activation during periods when the premises is likely to be unoccupied.