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Fire Alarm Response Change – Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service

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Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) are changing the way that they respond to Automatic Fire Alarm (AFA) activations.

FirefighterAs of June 1st 2015, TWFRS will no longer respond to AFAs received from non-residential premises between the hours of 8:00 – 18:00, unless manual confirmation is received (ie a 999 call confirming the fire), or  the premises has been granted special exemption. This change will come into play in an effort to reduce the number of false calls attended, so that our Fire & Rescue teams can focus more of their time on attending real emergencies and carrying out vital training and community work.

Automatic Fire Alarm Systems play a crucial role in keeping buildings, contents and occupants safe by providing early warning in the event of a possible fire. This allows for occupants to evacuate the building at the earliest opportunity and contact emergency services. However, false activation can also occur occasionally, which can cause disruption to the business  premises as well as to the Fire & Rescue Services.

Common Causes of False Fire Alarm Activation Include:

  • Fumes from cooking (eg. Burnt food or fumes from built up deposits in ovens)
  • Cigarette smoke (including that which may have drifted into the building through open doors/windows).
  • Increased temperatures due to hot work such as welding or cutting (though premises that are set up for this should ideally be fitted with special high temperature heat detectors).
  • Accidental or deliberate damage to break-glass call points.
  • Testing or maintenance work done without informing the alarm receiving centre, or that’s carried out by a non-professional/using incorrect testing procedures.
All of these instances can be avoided by practicing good Fire Safety awareness and by ensuring that your business is using the most appropriate fire detection solutions for your premises & line of work.
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What This Means To You 
If you’re a business owner in Tyne & Wear, you should consider how the changes being made by the TWFRS will affect your premises and update your Fire Risk Assessment & Evacuation Plans Accordingly. You may need to consider giving additional training or briefings to any staff who are designated as Fire Wardens/Marshalls/Keyholders so that they are aware of what to do in the event of a fire during these times.
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It is also a good idea to have a professional fire alarm maintenance company performing regular visits to carry out preventative maintenance.  This will minimize the possibility of technical issues with your system, as well as ensure that the correct testing procedure is being used.
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For more advice, please feel free to contact a member of our office team -we’re always happy to help! You can call us on 0191 270 0808 or email to info@tynesidesecurity.co.uk.
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Source:  www.twfire.gov.uk.
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Remember: in an emergency or where you know there is a fire in a building, dial 999 immediately!