Fire rescue see 61% drop in calls to false alarms

Thursday August 17th 2023

Midlothian View Fire Engine

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Firefighters across Scotland have seen the number of emergency call outs to false alarms fall by over 60 per cent after ending automatic responses to workplace alerts.

The drop in the number of calls to Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals (UFAS) equates to 1600 fewer blue light journeys by crews.

A report due to go before Midlothian Police and Fire Rescue Board later this month says this means road users are safer and cuts the emergency service’s carbon footprint.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service introduces a new policy at the start of July when they said they would no longer attend UFAS at commercial business and workplace premises, such as factories, offices, shops and leisure facilities – unless a fire has been confirmed.

Businesses are expected to have a duty holder with responsibility for workplace premises who should be first responder to an alarm and check before calling 999.

Last year Midlothian fire crews reported attending 422 incidents caused by UFAS – the highest number in five years.

While the biggest cause was a faulty alarm accounting for nearly a quarter of calls, it was revealed that one in 20 of the false alarms were caused by companies forgetting to disconnect from the central alert system before testing their alarm, sparking an immediate response.

From July 1st fire crews across Scotland stopped automatic responses to work places as part of a new UFAS policy.

The report to the Midlothian Board revealed: “Since the introduction, we have seen a 61% decrease in UFAS calls attended.

“This amounts to around 1600 less blue light journeys undertaken across Scotland and therefore improving road safety for communities and decreasing our carbon footprint as a direct result.

“We will continue to identify non sleeping accommodation premises and work with duty holders to ensure businesses are given our support.”

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