Kent Fire and Rescue Service have issued a guide for responsible persons in charge of automatic fire alarms, in a bid to ensure they are aware of their legal responsibilities.

Since April this year it has been Kent FRS’ policy to not respond to automatic fire alarms in the day (6am to 6pm) unless the incident is confirmed by signs of fire.

However, while responsible persons are getting used to the new policy fire services will still respond to night time calls where a procedure to confirm a fire has not yet been established. This is to give additional time for organisations to make any required changes to their procedures.

False alarms account for a third of all calls that Kent FRS attend, and around 98% of these are triggered by dust or poorly maintained systems.

The guide, titled ‘Your responsibilities if you have an automatic fire alarm’, goes into detail about what constitutes a ‘responsible person’, what an automatic fire alarm system is, and some of the more common causes of false alarms.

It even features case studies from a pub, shopping centre and bakery where various problems to do with vandals setting off manual call points, automatic fire alarm procedures and heat detectors are explored.

The document also poses the question ‘Does your [fire alarm] system need updating?’ This means the document could be a valuable asset for fire alarm manufacturers and installers to distribute, in order to ensure that people are aware of the importance of installing a resilient and reliable system that is less prone to false alarms.

The fire service is encouraging responsible persons to consider what they will do is their alarm goes off by asking:

How you will check to see if there is a fire?

If your alarm goes off because of a fire, tell the fire service when you call 999

  • Have you revised your fire risk assessment to take account of the changes?
  • Is your alarm system properly designed, installed, maintained and tested?
  • If your system makes false alarms do you investigate the cause and take steps to make sure they are not repeated?

Download the guide here>>Kent Fire – Your Responsibilities