Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire & Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Services (Tri-Service partners), have adopted a new procedure to reduce responses to Automatic Fire Alarms (AFA). 


fire engine responding to potential emergency

fire engine responding to potential emergency


Cost of AFA

Attending false alarm calls is a resource-intensive drain an example of this can be seen in 2017, Fire & Rescue Services (in the Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire & Leicestershire) attended over 3000 calls to Automatic Fire Alarms (AFA) which turned out to be false alarms, this costs the taxpayer approximately £900,000.

To reduce the impact of automated-activations on Fire & Rescue Services, since 3rd December 2018 they will be challenging calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This call challenging will place emphasis on the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) or Fire Alarm Monitoring Organisation (FAMO) to gather additional information from the occupier through further investigation of the premises.

A distinction needs to be made between a confirmed emergency call, where the caller is certain that our assistance is required. This will determine if attendance will be made by a Fire & Rescue Services or not.


What can business owners do about the new AFA procedure?

The new process would mean that if a business had a fire alarm at night the local fire authorities would not automatically respond, it would need to be verified by an employee. Using an employee is problematic as business owners would have to consider response times, the employee’s experience in that type of situation, and general lone worker welfare.

Other options could be to use an Alarm Receiving Centre such as VRC who could visually verify through CCTV and then contact the emergency services who would respond. Heat detection cameras and other technology is readily available in the evolving technology market.

ARK professional key holding services could also be used instead of your own key holders to check your property, visually verify, and then give access to the appropriate members of emergency services without any disruption to your staff members and minimising risk.


Call challenging exemptions new procedure (AFA Alarms)

Fire & Rescue Services recognise that some premises present a greater risk to life and to the wider economic community of Nottinghamshire, as such, they have determined that the following premises types will be exempt from call challenging as part of this procedure:

  • Domestic premises including Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO);
  • Residential flats;
  • Sheltered housing;
  • Residential care and nursing homes;
  • Local Primary Care Trust Hospitals and Private Hospitals which have sleeping on site;
  • Hotels during night-time hours only (21:00 – 08:00)
  • However, during the day, hotels will be call challenged.



About VRC

For over 10 years VRC has been offering bespoke monitoring solutions because we want to protect people, property and peace of mind across the UK and Ireland. As a result of our state of the art, Remote Video Response Centre (RVRC) in Yate. VRC’s highly experienced team work night and day to ensure your people and property are protected. Our facility is an NSI Gold, Category II Remote Video Response Centre offering a range of services. SIA training is provided for all VRC staff as well as completing a vetting process to ensure the highest standard. By focusing on outstanding customer care and technical support we strive to build long-lasting relationships with our clients. We work closely in partnership with high-quality security installers, account management, false alarm management, the flexibility to tailor bespoke solutions.  VRC is part of the Asset Protection Group.


About ARK

Alarm Response and Key holding is part of the Asset Protection Group and we specialise in providing professional key holding and alarm response services across the UK. Securing your home or business to ensure the safety of your family and staff. We have been providing key holding and guarding services since 1982. Because we take the responsibility for responding to out of hours of alarm activations.  As well as securing sites on behalf of owners with fully licensed SIA security officers.

About APG

The Asset Protection Group comprises a group of Fire & Security companies with shared ownership and one common goal, protecting your most important assets. As a collective group, we look to offer protection to your assets to assist you with your ongoing success within your own business.