Norfolk plans to reduce automatic fire alarm call-outs

Plans to axe some immediate responses to automatic fire alarms in shops and factories are to be put to Norfolk County Council on Monday.

The fire and rescue scrutiny panel will hear the move could save the service an estimated £30,000 a year.

Under the plan, if an alarm went off at certain premises, such as factories and shops, confirmation of a fire would be needed before crews were sent.

The changes would not apply to people's homes and other defined premises.

These would include places used for sleeping accommodation, vulnerable people's dwellings, schools and some special industrial sites.

Fewer fires

A report to be considered contains results of a consultation over the summer and the proposals bring Norfolk into line with many other fire and rescue services, a council spokesperson said.

"Currently some 95% of all automatic fire alarms attended by Norfolk's fire and rescue service are false with a significant number caused by faulty or poorly-designed and maintained systems," he said.

Nigel Dixon, cabinet member for community protection, said: "Our fire and rescue service has been working hard to drive down the number of false alarms firefighters attend and the service achieved a total reduction of over 600 calls since April 2011.

"However officers believe they can go further and become even more efficient without, crucially, compromising safety.

"I am sure members will want to hear about and assess these proposals for themselves."

Members will also hear from Chief Fire Officer Nigel Williams that there have been fewer fires in Norfolk this quarter.

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