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Unwanted Fire Signals


Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service (DFRS) will launch a new Unwanted Fire Alarm Signal procedure on 5 March 2019. This will change how DFRS respond to some calls from Automatic Fire Alarms.

The new procedure has been developed in conjunction with our Tri-Service partners, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Services, who have already adopted this approach.

In 2017/18 DFRS attended over 1300 calls to Automatic Fire Alarms which turned out to be false alarms. Each false alarm is a cost to the Service but it also diverts emergency vehicles away from real emergencies. False alarms also impact on the prevention and protection work that we undertake, vital training and increase the risk to road users from unnecessary blue-light journeys.

Since 2010, DFRS have call challenged some premises. This will remain unchanged. Read more about call challenging in the FAQs.

We will always mobilise immediately when there is a risk to life, significant hazard or risk to the wider community. The following premises will receive an immediate response without delay:

  • Domestic premises including Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO), Residential flats, & Sheltered housing
  • Residential care and nursing homes
  • Local Primary Care Trust Hospitals and private Hospitals which have sleeping on site 
  • Hotels during night-time hours only 21:00 - 08:00. During the day, hotels will be call challenged
  • High Rise Premises with sleeping risk
  • Any other sleeping risks
  • Sites that are subject to Site Specific Risk Information (SSRI) National PORIS Level 4 and 5 or sites classed as a COMAH site.
  • Heritage sites listed as Grade 1 or Grade II* by Historic England
  • A premises not conforming to the above criteria but is locally determined to be unsuitable for call challenging

Other premises types will be call challenged to determine if a response is required.

The main change for Derbyshire is that if an automatic call is received from an Alarm Receiving Company (ARC) and the premises is showing to be unoccupied, then a response will not be automatically made.  Instead an attendance will only be made if a key holder can confirm that there is an actual fire.

DFRS are keen to help businesses and organisations adapt to this new procedure and to help premises in reducing false alarms. If you would like to discuss these changes then please contact us

Reducing False Alarms and Unwanted Fire Signals

For more information about the impact of, common causes of, and what can be done to reduce False Alarms and Unwanted Fire Signals please visit our Reducing Fire Alarms section.

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