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Unwanted False Alarms (UFAs)

In a typical year, SFRS attend approximately 30,000 calls, of which only 2% of these are caused by an actual fire; moreover, in around two thirds of the latter incidents, no action by firefighters is necessary.
These calls represent approximately 30% of all incidents attended by the SFRS, representing approximately 57,000 unnecessary ‘blue light’ journeys each yea

SFRS Call Challenge Policy to Calls made to them after 1st July 2021

As a result of the high rate of false alarms from fire detection and alarm systems throughout Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) will now adopt a ‘call challenge’ policy in some non sleeping risk premises in relation to calls arising from a call due to the operation of an automatic fire alarm system to an alarm receiving centre, (ARC) or from someone 'on the premises' reporting actuation of their fire alarm system. e.g. where there has been a fire alarm activation by a single automatic smoke detector.

Fire & Rescue Service may not attend if a human has not called.

Depending on circumstances, there will be situations in which the SFRS may not dispatch fire appliances on receipt of a call arising from operation of a single smoke detector from a fire alarm system where no one sleeps unless it can be confirmed by the caller that there is a fire or signs indicative of a fire. In some circumstances where signs of fire cannot be confirmed, they may attend, but the number of appliances dispatched may also be reduced unless, or until, a fire is confirmed.

Sleeping Risk Premises and "Double Knock".

With this said, the SFRS will continue to attend, without call challenge, all calls resulting from actuation of a fire alarm system in premises in which people sleep (e.g. hotels, care homes, hospitals and domestic premises)

And also, the SFRS will continue to attend, without call challenge, all calls resulting from multi-sensor fire detectors or coincidence operation of more than one device (often wrongly described as "double knock").


Calls to SFRS Where There Are Obvious Signs of Fire

Obviously, it goes without saying that SFRS will always attend if there is any sign of fire (which may be a smell of burning, evidence of smoke, etc), under which circumstances investigation is not required before summoning SFRS

Review your Fire Risk Assessment, Policy and Procedures.

As a result of the new Scottish Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS) Call Challenge Policy it is advised that the Fire Risk Assessment (FRA), Fire Safety Policy and Fire Safety Procedures are reviewed to take into account any of these new changes that may affect your premises.

    Alex McPheators, founder and M.D. at Fire Scotland Ltd.


Fire & Rescue Service                  Fire Alarm Signal Call Challenge Policy from July 1st 2023

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