Businesses told to eliminate false alarms ahead of strike

8th November 2013

The Fire service will only respond to automatic fire alarm calls in business premises during next week's strike if the alarm is backed up by a 999 call to confirm there's definitely a fire.

The policy is designed to keep fire engines available for genuine emergencies, during the strike period on Wednesday 13 November, 10am to 2pm. In 2012/13, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue responded to more than 800 so-called 'automatic fire alarms' which turned out to be a false alarms - 20 times the number of hoax calls it received. The best way for businesses to stop false alarms from happening is to test their alarms systems regularly and maintain them properly to eliminate faults. Chief Fire Officer James Courtney, said: -During the strike, we'll be prioritising incidents that are genuinely life threatening and, in keeping with previous strike periods, we'll only be responding to automated fire alarms if there is a confirmed fire. But businesses can still help reduce the number of unnecessary false alarms in the first place by testing their systems are working properly. The fire service also gets called to businesses to help release people from stuck or broken down lifts, but building owners should take steps now to make sure lifts are working properly and that people know what to do if they do get stuck.  -In the event of a lift becoming stuck, calls to the fire service should only be made if people in the lift are at immediate risk or in such distress as to need medical attention. People responsible for premises with lifts must provide details of how to contact the responsible maintenance company, both in the lift and where alarm calls from the lift are received in the building,  said James. The advice for businesses during the industrial action includes: · Lock up properly- make sure business premises are secure when no one is on site · Check alarm systems- test alarm systems for faults to eliminate unnecessary false alarms · Store rubbish safely- make sure bin stores are secure and rubbish is stored safely For more fire safety advice call 0114 253 2314 or visit www.syfire.gov.uk

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