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Automatic Fire Alarms

Automatic Fire Alarms

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is introducing a change in the way it will respond to automatic fire alarms (AFAs).

From 1st April 2015, we will no longer send an emergency response to AFA actuations unless a backup 999 call is received confirming there is a fire.

In December 2014, North Wales Fire Authority members voted to introduce these arrangements to avoid having to make any reduction in core services.

The Chair of North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor Meirick Davies, said: "It is undoubtedly a challenging time for all public services as we are faced by diminishing budgets - and it is important for the public to view recent decisions made by the Fire Authority in the context of these challenges.

"We are faced with a potential shortfall in the budget for the next five years in the region of up to £3.3 million, which could very well threaten our core fire and rescue services.

"At the Authority's December meeting, it was decided by members that we should aim to maintain the current level of service in the 2015-16 budget, with the help of a minimum increase in the contribution provided by local councils and by taking the decision to change the way we respond to AFAs as part of a strategy to avoid reducing core services."

Officers at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service are liaising with partner organisations to introduce these changes in April and to raise awareness amongst the public to minimise any confusion and risk.

Chief Fire Officer Simon Smith said: "This change reflects the challenges we as a public service must face as we try to make the best case possible for our financial future. Changing the way we respond to AFAs will help us maintain the current level of service and fulfil our duty to protect the public of North Wales, prevent against risk, and to respond as required to fires and road traffic incidents.

"In many respects the public will not notice a change - as we will still respond to some AFA actuations. What will change is that we will only mobilise where we have confirmation  or a genuine suspicion of a fire, which will avoid tying up our resources and preventing them from being available for real emergencies."

"We would advise the public that from 1st April, if you hold responsibility for the fire safety management of any premises in North Wales you should review your fire risk assessment to take account of the changes outlined, inform and train staff and ensure everyone knows to call 999 immediately to report a fire.

"But of course, the best course of action is always prevention - and we would encourage people to try to ensure they continue to take every precaution possible to prevent a fire from happening in the first place, and to maintain their fire alarms in accordance with the appropriate British Standard."

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is reminding the public that it is the legal responsibility of the Responsible Personas detailed in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 for the property to have in place a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment that details among other measures what actions are to be taken upon actuation of the AFA system. One such action is to investigate the reason for the actuation of the AFA system and notify the fire and rescue service via 999 if a fire is confirmed.

There will be some exemptions to the new arrangements involving residential property.

If you, as the Responsible Person, have concerns that this new arrangement will put lives at risk in your premises please e-mail

To download an information leaflet about the changes click here.

Further information, including answers to frequently asked questions, more details of How to Investigate an Automatic Fire Alarm Actuation, and Causes and Potential Solutions to Avoid False Alarms from Automatic Fire Alarm Systems can be found by clicking on the links.

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