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Cambridgeshire Call-out Cut Means Greater Responsibility

Posted on 28 of May 2013


In a move targeting quicker action in the case of legitimate emergencies, Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service has decided to end automatic responses to alarm calls at 21,000 premises in the county. The change, to come into effect on 1st June, means that if an alarm sounds at premises other than those with a "threat to life or of historical importance", the service will not respond. That is, not unless a 999 call confirms the threat of fire at the site of the alarm.

Rick Hylton, area commander for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, explained the news: "The reason we have made the change is because these types of call place an additional burden on our resources and can delay us from attending genuine emergencies". He added, "Data over the last five years shows that 98 per cent of all calls to automatic fire alarms prove to be false alarms."

Buildings including hospitals, schools, care facilities and flats of more than four stories are not among the sites included in the list of properties where the service will no longer automatically respond. However, the reduction in responses to alarms does means extra responsibility for businesses and other property owners. In such settings the cut in automatic call-outs means it is essential owners ensure both they and those who work or live in their properties are well educated and properly equipped.

In both being able to identify and relay a legitimate fire threat, and being able to act quickly and responsibly while the Fire & Rescue Service responds, ensuring a high-level of protection for people and property is essential. Traditionally, correctly installed and frequently tested alarm systems have been a key part of protection against the threat of fire. This remains, but with an alarm no longer enough to ensure an emergency response, while alarms should always be maintained premises owners within Cambridgeshire can ensure extra precautions and renewed fire safety plans are in place.

Conducting a review and ensuring the validity of all fire safety equipment and signage is one way to improve protection. Alongside up-to-date information for tenants and employees – specifically on the actions which they and others should take in the event of fire – the best possible protection and awareness can be achieved. This may be particularly relevant for those in Cambridgeshire come June 1st, but are also approaches to protection all owners can take.

More information on the changes affecting call-outs to Cambridgeshire properties can be found here.

photo credit: kenjonbro photographer cc

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