Fire service policy cuts false alarm callouts

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A policy aimed at reducing the number of unnecessary fire crew callouts has been hailed a success.

Last January, Northamptonshire fire service introduced the policy where staff assess whether there is a real emergency before attending the scene.

The service said that in 2010, 260 unnecessary callouts were avoided as a result.

The policy will now be extended to 999 calls from buildings such as a shop, office, factory, warehouse or school.

Unwanted fire signals occur when an automatic fire detection system is activated but found to be a false alarm.

'Waste of money'

The service said the false alarms diverted resources from genuine emergencies and disrupted businesses.

Certain premises are exempt from the new measures, including domestic and residential buildings, care homes, hospitals, high-rise and unoccupied buildings.

Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage, county council cabinet member for customers and communities, said: "False alarms caused by automatic detection systems make up around 30% of incidents attended by our fire and rescue service.

"As well as the potential risk to life, responding to false alarms also disrupts our fire crews working in the community and undertaking essential training, not to mention being a waste of time and money."

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