From 3 April 2017, during office hours, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) will no longer automatically respond to Automatic Fire Alarms (AFAs) from premises that do not provide sleeping accommodation (i.e. offices, shops, factories, schools, local authority buildings).
During 2015 98% of the 2,000 AFAs that BFRS responded to proved to be false alarms where no fire service intervention was required, so in all but forty incidents fire appliances were needlessly sent to premises. In many cases AFAs caused repeated false alarms to the same premises.
During normal office hours, when a property is expected to be occupied by members of staff, should a fire alarm activate it must be followed up with a 999 call to confirm that there is an actual fire situation. It is highly likely that if a real fire situation has occurred then further calls via the 999 system will also be made from a passer-by or other emergency service.
Under the new policy BFRS will continue to respond to all AFAs outside normal office hours (1700 - 0900 hours).
The new policy will not affect AFAs from domestic dwellings such as houses or flats, or those premises where people sleep, such as residential care homes, hospitals, hotels or boarding schools, or heritage sites such as churches.
BFRS will continue to support our communities by providing professional advice, however repeated false alarms could leave businesses facing charges for wasting the Fire Service’s time and resources.