Safety update: Changes to fire service responses to automatic alarms in Scotland

What’s changing?

From 1 July 2023, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will stop attending automatic fire alarm (AFA) call-outs to commercial business and workplace premises, such as factories, offices, shops and leisure facilities, unless a fire has been confirmed.

This brings Scotland into line with the practices of the Welsh and English forces.

In line with the Fire Safety (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006, duty holders with responsibility for workplace premises will now need to investigate and verify whether an automatically activated alarm is genuine before calling 999, as from 1 July the Fire and Rescue Service in Scotland will ask for confirmation of an actual fire, or signs of fire, before sending the nearest resource out to the premises.

Signs of fire include:

  • Visual flames
  • Smell of smoke
  • Smell of burning
  • Any other fire alarm signal – other than a single smoke detector

PLEASE NOTE! This change applies to workplaces other than sleeping premises, so hospitals, care homes, hotels or domestic dwellings will continue to get an emergency response as before.

What we recommend you do:

Ensure that a competent person undertakes a review of your fire risk assessment and written emergency procedures to take into account these changes and consider whether you need to add any new control measures, like training or fire suppression measures.

If you need any help or have any questions, just give your 24/7 Health & Safety advice line a call on 0345 844 4848.

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