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Changing how we respond to automatic fire alarms (AFA)s


  • From 2 April 2013, any premises reporting an automatic fire alarm sounding will be required to confirm to 999 staff that there is a fire, or signs of fire, before any fire fighting response is sent.
  • This policy will apply during the day and at night, and whether a call is received directly from the affected building, through a call handling organisation or some other method.
  • This is an extension of the policy KFRS introduced in April 2012, which affected daytime calls (6am to 6pm).
  • For callers from sheltered accommodation KFRS will be asking for confirmation if the call is a known false alarm, if they are unable to do this then we will send an emergency response. However we will expect these organisations to investigate false alarms and take any actions necessary to reduce them in future.


Your alarm, and the safety of those who use your premises, is your responsibility.

A third of the total number of calls the service received were previously from automatic systems and over 98% of these were false alarms triggered by things like dust or poorly maintained systems. This disrupts your building or business and diverts firefighters from genuine emergencies.

Since January 2011 we have been supporting building occupiers and 'responsible persons' to make sure they are aware of their legal responsibilities, the actions they can take to reduce unwanted calls from their AFA systems and how to confirm if there is a fire or signs of fire in the building before calling the fire service.

The service has seen a significant reduction in the number of false alarms attended since it introduced the first phase of the change.

From April 2013, premises with AFA systems will need to ensure their fire risk assessment reflects the full implementation of the change to the policy and that all staff and occupants affected by the changes are aware of what to do when the alarm sounds.

Premises need to consider the following:

  • Make sure you have arrangements in place so that if your alarm does go off everyone in the building knows what to do. This includes how you will check to see if there is a fire or signs of fire and who will call the fire service. These arrangements must work 24 hours a day.
  • Have you amended your fire risk assessment to take account of the changes?
  • Is your alarm system properly designed, installed, maintained and tested?
  • Do you investigate the cause of false alarms and take action to make sure they are not repeated?

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Objective: We are committed to reducing the number of fires, deaths and injuries