False alarm repeat offenders should be slapped with call-out bills, fire chiefs told

Calls have been made to charge repeat offenders of automatic fire alarms when they go off with no fires present.

Monday, 7th October 2019, 4:11 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th October 2019, 12:36 pm
Cleveland Fire Brigade

Cleveland Fire Authority bosses had previously launched a programme looking to clamp down on the number of automatic fire alarms set off when no fire had occurred.

Figures which went before Cleveland Fire Executive Committee stated automatic fire alarms across 24 hours reduced by 24% compared to 2017/18 and 39% compared to 2016/17.

Between the hours of 8am and 5.30pm there was a 52% reduction compared to the previous year, and a 61% reduction on the 2016/17 figures.

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Chief fire officer Ian Hayton said they are putting more onus on incidents where fires are occurring compared to the automatic fire alarms.

He said: “What that strategy has done is there has been a 52% reduction in the number of calls that we get that are armed, that are not fires.

“It’s a significant reduction on a wasted resource going to what are known false alarms, where our services are not required, and therefore a complete waste of public money.”

Coun Luke Frost, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council representative, said he was pleased to see the drop, but would like to see repeat offenders charged for unwanted automatic fire alarms.

He said: “In relation to the reduction of the number of automatic fire alarms, obviously that is very welcome.

“A personal view would be to charge repeat offenders, it comes to a point where it just becomes that regular, that its eating away at the funds this authority has.”

Mr Hayton said the authority does have the statutory power to charge for unwanted automatic fire alarms, but the current policy is to not charge businesses and work together with them.

However he added the fire authority may wish to review that policy in the future.