Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Hampshire crews stop automatic fire alarm call-outs

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is to stop sending crews to automatic fire alarms (AFA) in a bid to cut costs.

A safety officer will be sent alone to an AFA as part of the trial in order to counter the "significant drain on resources" caused by false alarms.

Previously a fire engine and crew would be sent to every AFA, with 3,500 false alarms being experienced across the county each year.

If a fire was reported then a fire engine would be scrambled as normal.

Fire engines will still be sent to schools and buildings where people sleep, such as care homes, hotels and hospitals.

Advice offered

The trial started this week in the Southsea and Cosham areas of Portsmouth.

The safety officer will attend the AFAs in non-domestic premises during weekdays between 0900 BST and 1700 BST.

A service spokeswoman said that as well as saving money, the move would free up fire appliances for real emergencies.

"We will still send someone to check what the cause of the alarm is but this won't be in a fire engine and we won't class it as an emergency," she said.

"Instead we will send a fire safety officer, who can offer advice on how best to manage the fire alarm system and, if necessary, carry out a fire safety audit of the entire building to help ensure compliance with current fire regulations.

"If we are informed that a fire alarm has activated because there is a fire, we will of course treat this as an emergency and send a fire engine to deal with it."

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