How best to contact the Fire Service after an alarm activation?
Fire Services advice to building occupiers for processing fire alarm activations
Automatic fire detection systems that are competently designed, installed, commissioned and maintained will ensure an early alert of fire, particularly in unoccupied buildings or areas of a premise, where detection by persons may be unlikely or delayed. An effective detection system will reduce direct and consequential property losses, impact on the environment and ensure the maintenance of business continuity in the event of a fire.
When the premises are occupied and the fire alarm actuates, the emergency action plan for the premises must be implemented immediately in order to safeguard those persons resorting to the premises.
Whilst the building evacuation is in progress, a number of key staff with specific roles in the fire procedure will undertake their designated duties. One of the specific duties that will be designated is the emergency call to the fire service. Before the emergency call is made a check to ascertain the cause of the alarm should be made by a competent person e.g. a fire marshal.
Calling the Fire Service
o Real fire
Where a fire or signs of a fire are discovered, a 999 emergency call should be made to the Fire and Rescue Service giving as much detail about the fire as is possible. In the event that the alarm has actuated and the cause has been positively identified as a false alarm, the occupier can reset the system and allow people to return to their normal activities without calling the Fire and Rescue Service.
o False alarm
Where the cause of the fire alarm activation has positively been identified as a false alarm and the evacuation is already in progress, the full evacuation should be completed. This will help ensure that complacency is avoided in respect of future activations and will help ensure an appropriate response to fire alarm activations every occasion.
False alarm activations initiated by detection equipment should be fully investigated by the responsible person and where appropriate be the subject of an inspection by a qualified engineer.
o Alarm Receiving Centres
Connections to Alarm Receiving Centres (ARC’s) via auto-dialling equipment are of value. However, arrangements for taking automatic connections to ARC’s off-line during normal working hours should be considered. This will provide the premises with the ability to effectively manage events during the periods when the premises are occupied, but provide much needed protection whilst they are unoccupied, thus maximising the benefits of automatic fire detection systems that may be installed.
Further information can be obtained from your local Community Fire Safety Officer; by visiting the Government website www.communities.gov.uk