Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

January 18, 2012 17:42 ET

Merseyside Fire Crews Warn Delaying Response to Automatic Fire Alarms Will Leave 290 Fires a Year to Spread

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Jan. 18, 2012) - Merseyside fire crews say plans to delay sending fire crews to attend automatic fire alarms in business and commercial premises will leave 290 fires to spread every year. The Fire Brigades Union say the plans are a cut too far and threaten businesses and jobs.

Merseyside fire authority meet tomorrow (19 January) to consider a new policy of not sending fire engines to automatic fire alarms at business and commercial premises. Instead they will wait for someone confirm there is a fire before sending any fire engines.

The authority says fire crews were sent to over 5,800 automatic alarms on business and commercial premises last year, but 95% were false alarms. But the FBU point out that if the plan is adopted, the fire service will be delaying a response to 290 actual fires at business and commercial premises.

Les Skarratts, FBU Merseyside Brigade secretary said: "Most of these are false alarms, but last year alone 290 of them were real fires. Businesses pay rates precisely for this sort of service and they deserve to have it delivered. The old firefighters adage remains true, we don't go to false alarms, we only come back from them.

"No one ever knowingly attends a false alarm but automatic alarms do need checking out by fire crews trained to do it. Not all fires are obvious, which is why we have specialist heat-detecting equipment to help identify hard to detect fires.

"The whole point of persuading businesses to fit automatic alarms is so we are alerted early and can start tackling a fire at its early stages. Any delay means committing fire crews into much more developed fires and that is more dangerous.

"This policy will mean that every year there will be 290 fires where an automatic alarm goes off - nearly six a week - which will not get a response until the fire is reported by someone who spots it. That will mean greater risk to the building and far greater fire damage.

"Many small and medium size businesses never recover from fires. If we don't lose lives we will certainly lose livelihoods and see businesses, workplaces and jobs going up in smoke. This policy would be a cut too far."

Contact Information

  • Les Skarratts

    Mark Rowe