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Changes to our Automatic Fire Alarm Policy

From 1st August 2015, Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) will change its policy for responding to fire calls generated from activations of Automatic Fire Alarm (AFA) systems.

The key change to the policy is that GFRS will no longer respond to AFA activations at ANYTIME unless a 999 call is received confirming that there is a fire or physical signs of fire.

Some premises will not be affected by this change and will still receive an emergency response. These include:

  • Domestic dwellings (with smoke alarms or an automatic fire alarm);
  • Residential care and nursing homes;
  • Houses of multiple occupation;
  • Hotels and B&Bs (from 20:00 to 08:00);
  • Hospitals;
  • Recognised Heritage buildings (with prior agreement from GFRS);
  • Local and National infrastructure sites;
  • Schools (during periods of closure);
  • Boarding Schools (sleep risk);
  • Properties with double knock systems fitted (with agreement from GFRS);

Why are we making these changes?

Last year, GFRS attended more than 1,700 emergency calls to fire alarm activations, 98% of these were false alarms. This diverts vital emergency resources from attending real emergencies and each blue light, vehicle movement increases the risk to pedestrians, road users and firefighters. It also effects the valuable time our crews are available to complete important Community Safety work within Gloucestershire.

For more information on false alarms visit the Fire Industry Association (FIA) website

Exemptions from our Policy

GFRS will consider requests for a temporary exemption from the new policy. The premises requesting this exemption will need to put their case forward in writing explaining their need for exemption. The decision will be made by our Fire Safety Enforcement Team, following a stringent and robust review of the premises.

Any premises abusing their exempted status may have their exemption revoked.

Advice and Guidance

The person who is responsible for the fire safety management of the premises must:

  • Review the fire risk assessment to account for the changes outlined above;
  • Train staff to safely investigate the activations of the fire alarm system;
  • Ensure that 999 is dialled immediately in the event of a fire or any physical signs of a fire being discovered.

Please read our FAQ pages on the left for further information.

Alternatively visit the Fire Industry Association (FIA) website for relevant information.

If you are the responsible person and wish to apply for an exemption, or have risk concerns for your premises as a result of our protocol, then please email: afaenquiries@glosfire.gov.uk

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