South Yorkshire fire service changes call-out policy

South Yorkshire fire chiefs have changed the call-out policy for crews in a bid to reduce deployments to false alarms.

By Claire Lewis
Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 1:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th December 2019, 2:21 pm

The fire service will no longer send crews to automatic fire alarms triggered at business premises until a blaze is confirmed.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue automatically sends engines to business premises when alarms linked to the 999 control room start sounding.

But 97 per cent of the 3,457 automatic alarms the service responded to over the last three years turned out to be false alarms.

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Firefighters in action on Bailey Street, Sheffield city centre (archive pic)

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue said the deployments wasted more than 1,000 hours of firefighter time, which could have been better spent on training, working in the community or being available to attend other, genuine incidents.

The change, which bosses claims brings South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue in line with other services around the country, does not apply to premises where high numbers of people are based – such as universities, hotels, hospitals or high rise flats.

Area Manager Andy Strelczenie, said: “False alarms make up a massive proportion of the incidents firefighters are mobilised too.

“Whilst we will always attend incidents when our services are definitely required, our frequent attendance at false alarms disrupts training and increases road risk to firefighters rushing on blue lights to incidents which later turn out to be false alarms.

“It’s long been the responsibility of businesses to ensure their alarm systems are regularly checked and maintained properly and it’s important they do this before the change we’ve outlined comes into force.”

The change will come into force from January 6.