By John Robertson, Area Manager Technical Fire Safety, Kent Fire and Rescue Service.
There is only a couple of weeks to go until Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) completes the full implementation of changes to its policy for attending calls automatic fire alarms (AFAs) sounding.
From 2 April 2013, premises in Kent or Medway reporting an AFA sounding will be required to confirm to 999 staff that there is a fire, or signs of fire, before any fire fighting response is sent.
This policy will apply during the day and at night, and whether a call is received directly from the affected building, through a call handling organisation or some other method. This is an extension of the policy KFRS introduced in April 2012, which affected daytime calls.
All premises with AFA systems will need to ensure their fire risk assessment reflects the change to the policy, that procedures are in place to confirm a fire and that all staff and occupants affected by the changes are aware of what to do when the alarm sounds.
Premises need to consider the following:
- Make sure you have arrangements in place so that if your alarm does go off everyone in the building knows what to do. This includes how you will check to see if there is a fire or signs of fire and who will call the fire service. These arrangements must work 24 hours a day.
- Have you amended your fire risk assessment to take account of the changes?
- Is your alarm system properly designed, installed, maintained and tested?
Do you investigate the cause of false alarms and take action to make sure they are not repeated?
For callers from sheltered accommodation KFRS will be asking for confirmation if the call is a known false alarm, if they are unable to do this then we will send an emergency response.
For further information and to find your local fire safety office visit www.kfrsbusiness.info or telephone 01622 692121.