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Alarm call halves wasted journeys for St Helens firefighters
7:20am Tuesday 31st December 2013 in News
CHANGES in how firefighters respond to automatic fire alarms has slashed the number of wasted journeys by more than half.
Since a risk based approach was introduced just over a year ago St Helens-based crews attended 133 false alarms from AFAs. This compares to 378 false alarms call outs from AFAs over the previous 12 months.
That’s a 64.8% reduction in the number of false alarms attended by firefighters across the St Helens district following the introduction of a system on November 1 where all AFA activations were challenged by the Fire & Rescue Service control room 24 hours a day.
A spokeseman for Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service said: “In the event of an alarm activating, a fire appliance is not being sent unless a fire is confirmed or there are physical signs of a fire. If anyone sees, hears or smells a fire they should call 999.
“We have seen a 50% reduction across Merseyside so far in false alarms. Our risk-based approach is reducing the disruption caused to business as well as to us. The fewer false alarms our firefighters are attending, the more community safety work, training and risk identification visits they can do.
“At a time of reducing resources and budgets, this is about having the resources ready and available for actual emergencies.”
Full emergency response is being maintained to all domestic dwellings, sheltered accommodation and homes with multiple occupants. Hospitals, hotels and nursing and residential homes will receive an immediate overnight response between 7.30pm and 7.30am.
The phased approach saw calls from AFAs challenged by the Merseyside control room between 7.30am and 7.30pm from October 31, 2012, to October 31, 2013. Calls have been checked 24-hours a day since November 1 this year and for the first four weeks of November firefighters attended seven false alarms in St Helens.
False alarms, classed as Unwanted Fire Signals, had increased by 13.7% over the past five years and accounted for 26.7% of all calls to Merseyside’s 26 community fire stations.
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