Fire service brings in charges for persistent false alarms from companies (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Fire service brings in charges for persistent false alarms from companies
7:00am Friday 18th April 2014 in News
Charges have been brought in for nuisance false alarm calls to the fire service.
As part of a new pilot scheme, premises which make more than four such calls a year will have to pay nearly £400.
Fire chiefs want to drive down the number of false alarms, which account for more than half of all call-outs to the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
A report to the fire authority says that in 2013, more than 11,000 such calls were made. More than 320 premises called out crews more than three times – equal to more than 3,128 mobilisations.
Next week's meeting will hear that the 18-month pilot came into effect on April 1.
It is hoped the scheme will cut unwanted fire signals by encouraging those responsible for fire alarms to manage them better.
The report says: “The authority sees the value of fire alarms, but adequate management systems must be in place.”
Initially, crews were to invoice premises for the charge but it was then thought this would not be achievable and the policy will be delivered by a fire protection unit.
It will identify premises with four chargeable incidents in a year and prepare an invoice.
Special arrangements have been made with hospitals and premises which generate more than ten false alarms a year.
The report says: “Charging is seen as an effective way to get people to take fire alarms seriously. The charge is designed to cover costs only, not to generate income but to reduce false alarms.”
A similar scheme for lift rescues led to a decline in such incidents and it is thought charging for false alarms will achieve the same result.
The report says fewer false alarms will yield more time for 999 calls, training and community safety work.
A charge of £350 plus VAT will be made for the fourth and subsequent calls in a 12-month period. Calls made before April 1 are not included.
Charges apply when: premises are not domestic; report is false; report is due to warning equipment malfunctioning or having been misinstalled; there is a persistent problem with false reports at certain premises.
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