NEW RULES: Automatic Fire Service Dispatch
Fire services up and down the country are changing how they respond to automatic fire alarms. It’s important to understand if your venue is impacted, to ensure you’re not at risk should the worst happen, and a fire breaks out.
WHAT ARE THE NEW RULES?
Whilst this is not a uniform stance, many fire services are implementing new rules to stipulate that they will only despatch a fire crew when an automated alarm is accompanied by secondary confirmation of a fire. This secondary confirmation could include:
Multiple smoke detectors activating simultaneously
Manual call point activation
PUT SIMPLY, A SINGLE POINT SMOKE DETECTOR TRIGGERING AN ALARM WILL NOT BE ENOUGH TO INSTIGATE AN AUTOMATIC FIRE CREW DISPATCH.
These dual activations will all attract an attendance, but it should be remembered that there must be a means for whoever is making the 999 call to identify the source of the activation. This may be achieved by a technological solution such as an addressable panel linked to the ARC that will accurately identify the type of device activated or it may require a local investigation by someone on site.
WHEN DO THESE RULES APPLY?
These rules will operate 24 hours a day, whether your premises is open or closed. This is unlikely to be an issue when you’re open, as you will have staff on site who would likely see or smell a fire and be able to manually alert the fire service.
What you should be more conscious of, is how you can respond out of hours when your venue is closed. Whether this be through the installation of cameras giving you remote access to visual coverage of all areas of your venue, or a fire panel referenced above that can identify multiple detectors, or a keyholder who can quickly access the site to confirm or cancel an alarm.
WHICH FIRE SERVICES ARE AFFECTED?
Unfortunately, each fire service is different. There is no one unified approach across the country that will apply to all venues, but as good practice, we’d recommend putting two-stage verification in place as it’s good practice and will help to protect your venue.
WHAT ARE THE INSURANCE IMPLICATIONS?
Some insurers stipulate that you must have a working automatic fire alarm that will generate a fire service dispatch. This means if you’re affected by the new rules, you will need to review or upgrade your fire system to remain insured.
A hospitality specialist insurance broker will understand the intricacies of your policy and know whether you need to act. For more advice and to work with an industry specialist, talk to NDML on 0344 488 9205.