New move to cut false alarm calls

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THE FIRE brigade’s 999 communications centre staff will be challenging fire system emergency calls in a bid to slash false alarms.

The new East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service ‘Call Questioning’ is designed to reduce the number of false alarms and prevent firefighters being sent on unnecessary blue-light journeys.

All 999 callers who report fire alarms going off will be questioned about the fire alarm actuation.

If the caller confirms that the triggered alarm is not due to a fire, but may have been caused by fumes from cooking, steam, cigarette smoke, aerosol use, dust or some other non-fire situation, then Fire and Rescue Service will not attend the incident.

ESFRS will ensure that it is a responsible person reporting the cause of the alarm - but if there is any doubt at all, an emergency response will be made.

In 2010, the service provided attended some 12,607 emergencies, where approximately half turned out to be false alarms.

More than 68 per cent of these false alarms originated from Fire Alarm Systems.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service employee Bob Trotter, who is working to reduce false alarms, said, “The Fire and Rescue Service is committed to many initiatives to prevent fires and providing a first-class emergency response to a wide range of incidents, including fire.

“With public safety as our number one priority we want to ensure that we utilise our resources as effectively as possible and do not let the operational teams be distracted by false alarms.

“However, it must be emphasised that we still need to be called at the earliest opportunity for any real (or suspected) fire.”