Firefighters will no longer travel to investigate all automatic alarms in an effort to reduce unnecessary callouts.
It comes after a public consultation in 2021, during which the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said there were an average of 28,479 false alarms across the country each year.
From July 1, fire crews will stop attending automatic fire alarm (AFA) call outs to commercial business and workplace premises – unless a fire has been confirmed.
Hospitals, residential care homes and “sleeping risk” premises will remain exempt and appliances will continue to be mobilised automatically to any fire alarm activations within these facilities.
SFRS will treat any fire alarm as a sign of fire, other than from a single smoke detector. Other signs of fire include: visual flame/smoke, smell of burning, or any other fire alarm signal.
It anticipates that the change will reduce attendance rates by up to 57% and will free up 37,524 hours each year for firefighters to do training and carry out community safety work.
What are the benefits of reducing false alarms?
- Each false alarm can lead people to become complacent when they hear the fire alarm
- There is a cost to businesses from productive time lost
- Resources will not be diverted from other emergencies, training and other prevention and protection work
- Blue light responses lead to road accidents, so SFRS believes any reduction means less risk on roads