London Fire Brigade to CHARGE firms for false alarm call-outs from 2014

Source: The Mirror

London Fire Brigade to CHARGE firms for false alarm call-outs from 2014

The service is the first to roll out the initiative and will charge businesses if they attend more than 10 false alarms in a year

First: The service will charge firms if they have more than 10 false alarms in a year

London Fire Brigade will be the first to charge firms for call-outs to false alarms, starting in the New Year.

Firefighters were called to 403 locations more than ten times because of false alarms in the last financial year, costing the service a whopping £800,000.

Hospitals alone, which are the biggest culprits in unnecessary call-outs, would have paid nearly £500,000 back to the LFB if the new charges had been in place, according to the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA).

Airports, large businesses and student digs will also have to pay from January 1 if firefighters are called to more than 10 false alarms in less than a year.

The £290-plus-VAT penalty will apparently not hit domestic properties or care homes.

LFEPA chairman James Cleverly said: “The public deserve and expect firefighters to be available to attend genuine emergencies rather than attending thousands of false alarms.”

He added: “The vast bulk of automatic fire alarm calls turn out not to be fires, these are often caused by poor management or maintenance of alarm systems.”

There were 25,550 call-outs to non residential or other building AFAs in the last financial year.

Now the LFB, which was called out more than 70 times to false alarms at London hospitals last year, have named and shamed some of the worst offenders.

St. Georges Hospital in Tooting tops the list with 136 false alarms followed by Kings College Hospital in Denmark Hill with 129 and Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield with 128.

Things like burnt toast, steam or dust are also to blame for the false alarms.

Mr Cleverly claimed: “This is not a money making exercise but we are leading the way in recovering our spend on unwanted call-outs and educating building managers to properly maintain their fire alarm systems.”

It is estimated that false alarms cost the Brigade around £37 million each year.

The LFB said it was “concerned” that regular false fire alarms can lead to complacency, which a spokesman said would be “disastrous” in the case of a real fire.