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Reducing Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals


A consultation by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is considering unwanted fire alarm signals and the way that they respond to workplace automatic fire alarms.

Automatic fire alarms (AFAs) systems are designed to provide early warning of fire and save lives, but in the workplace 97% of the calls we receive from them end up as false alarms. These are referred to as unwanted fire alarm signals (UFAS).

UFAS make up 31% of all the incidents attended by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. This means:

  • Almost 30,000 UFAS call-outs are attended every year.

  • Almost 57,000 unnecessary blue light journeys are undertaken every year.

  • Over 64,000 productive hours are lost to UFAS every year.

  • Around £3.5million is lost to the Service every year.

Due to COVID-19, the response to AFAs highlighted several benefits, namely:

  • Reduction of blue light journeys by 10,409 (21%).

  • Significant reduction in road risk to firefighters and road users.

  • Eliminated over 40,000 potential firefighter and public exposures to the virus.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service says it is reviewing how it responds to false alarms from AFAs in the workplace:

  • Alarms activated from private homes will not be affected and will receive the full emergency response.

  • Any business/workplace that confirms there is a fire will receive the full emergency response.

This public consultation is about how to best respond to AFAs, to reduce the burden placed on the Service and partners by UFAS.

The consultation is open until 11 October 2021. More information can be found here.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service August 2021


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