North Yorkshire Fire Service consider options for ongoing service plans

2 July 2014

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has launched a consultation on Integrated Risk Management Plan Proposals.

At its meeting on the 25 June 2014, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority agreed two proposals for consultation, which will form the Service’s Integrated Risk Management Action Plan for 2014/15.

The consultation will run until 5 September 2014, and there are separate feedback surveys for the two proposals.

Proposal One- Changes to Our Response to Automatic Fire Alarms
Automatic fire alarms (AFAs) are systems of fire detection and fire alarms that are, mainly, installed in non-domestic buildings.

In 2013/14 North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service attended over 1900 calls to automatic fire alarm activations that turned out to be false alarms. These account for around 24% of all our incidents.

Attendance at these false alarms means that fire service staff and resources are not available to attend fires or other emergencies, or are taken away from essential training or prevention (community safety) work.

We are therefore, proposing to change their response to automatic fire alarms in the following way:

  1. Not to attend automatic fire alarms between 08:00 and 18:00 at premises where people do not sleep, unless a fire has been confirmed (currently one fire engine will attend).
  2. To reduce our attendance to automatic fire alarms at premises where people sleep and some other higher risk premises (e.g. significant heritages site and sites with high risk manufacturing processes or storage) to one fire engine at all times (currently one fire engine will attend during the day and two at night).
  3. Not to attend specific premises where there are repeated false alarms from automatic fire alarms and where the causes of these are not being addressed. (This would be an option of last resort after dialogue with the responsible person.)

fire in thirsk

Proposal Two- Proposed changes to charges for special service calls
Special service calls are incidents which do not involve fire or emergency medical assistance.

They are classified as:

  1. Emergency Special Service Calls – This would include calls which ‘involve the saving of a life or emergency rescue operations which release, or assist in the release of, persons from life threatening or dangerous situations, and all services of a humanitarian nature which promote human welfare or reduce suffering.” These include road traffic collisions, water rescues and dealing with chemical leaks.
  2. Non-Emergency Special Service Calls – This would include: pumping water from flooded buildings/vehicles where there is no question of danger to the public, removing chimney pots which have become a danger to the public, services which involve trapped animals or birds, providing safety cover at large public events etc.

The Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, makes provision for fire authorities to charge for attending certain kinds of special service calls, as set by the Fire Authority. Currently we charge for some calls in certain circumstances.

Currently North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service charge for the following services, in some circumstances:

  • Releasing people stuck in lifts, removing unsafe chimney pots where there is no immediate risk to life, pumping water from flooded premises, providing fire cover at large public events, small animal rescues, people locked out of their house, etc.

They do not currently charge for the following services in most circumstances:

  • Assisting the police to access people attempting suicide, large animal rescues, assisting householders with storm damaged property, transport of medical supplies during flooding, etc.

As there is often an expectation from other organisations and members of the public that we will assist at non-emergency calls and because we want to aid public safety and well-being we are now proposing; to cease charging for humanitarian special service calls of a non-emergency nature where the aim is to protect and support public safety and wellbeing.

Further details and the feedback surveys for these proposals are on our website under the ‘IRMP Proposals’ link on the homepage.

Harrogate District
2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014
Fires 369 286 348
Road Traffic Collisions 117 116 70
Other Special Services 164 276 194
False Alarms From Automatic Fire Alarms 523 521 534
Other False Alarms 259 226 268
1432 1425 1414

*Special Services includes: Flooding; Lift Releases; Rescues from Heights; Assisting Other Agencies

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