Firefighters to ignore automatic alarms

PUBLISHED: 14:37 27 March 2014 | UPDATED: 14:45 27 March 2014

Chief fire officer Roy Wilsher

Chief fire officer Roy Wilsher

Archant

Firefighters in Hertfordshire will stop responding to daytime automatic alarms in offices and factories from next month.

To cut the time wasted on false alarms, Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service will no longer respond when an alarm goes off between 9am and 5pm, unless an emergency is confirmed by a 999 call.

Chief fire officer Roy Wilsher said: “Attending false alarm calls not only increases the risk to the public, with fire engines driving on blue lights for no good reason, but also means that equipment and crews aren’t available for genuine emergency calls.

“Obviously we will still respond to genuine emergencies and 999 calls. However this change of policy will mean that we spend less time responding to false alarms and more time available to deal with fires when they do break out.”

The service will continue to respond to automatic alarms overnight and at weekends, when business premises are empty, and to premises housing vulnerable people, such as hospitals, hostels, care homes and schools.

County councillor Richard Thake said: “We’re hopeful that this new policy will substantially cut the number of false alarms we attend, but if we still find we’re getting a lot of false alarms from a particular building we might have to look at charging that business for our time.”

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