Cambs Fire Service set to reduce responses to automatic alarms - because 98% are false

CAMBRIDGESHIRE Fire Service looks set to reduce its responses to automatic fire alarms because 98 per cent of them turn out to be false.

Proposals which will go before the Fire Authority next Thursday suggest firefighters should adopt a “non-attendance policy during weekdays to any single alarm activation of commercial premises during opening hours”.

Figures show that the county’s fire service responds to about 1,900 automatic alarms every year.

These make up almost a quarter of their total calls - but 98 per cent of them turn out to be false and “of the remaining 2 per cent only a very small proportion require action by the fire service”.

Members at next Thursday’s meeting will be asked to approve changes to the “mobilisation criteria” reducing the number of responses.


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But the plans would still see the fire service attend confirmed blazes and all weekend calls, when premises are closed.

The report says: “Premises where a non attendance may impose an unnecessary risk on the occupants such as hospitals and care homes will be excluded.”

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It continues: “By adopting this change to policy, Cambs Fire and Rescue Service will reduce the number of attendances at AFAs (automatic fire alarms) by around 700 calls per annum - a reduction in demand from AFAs of around 37 per cent, and a reduction in overall demand of 15 per cent.

“This reduction will allow the service to maximise its resource availability to ensure that it is better able to respond to the most serious of incidents.”

The non-attendance policy has been adopted by other fire services across the country - including in Suffolk last year where there was “no significant issues”.

In 2006 Cambridgeshire’s fire service attended an average of 4,500 automatic alarms every year - but there has been a steady reduction in attendance due to Fire Authority strategy.

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