London Fire Brigade

Reducing Automatic Fire Alarms

Under the existing rules, we are entitled to recover £326 (+VAT) for attending persistent false alarm calls generated by automatic fire alarm systems and fire detection systems.

We are not required to attend calls made solely because a fire alarm system has actuated.

When taking 999 calls about a fire alarm actuating, control officers may ask callers if they can confirm the reason for the alarm to find out whether or not there is a real emergency.

We will continue to attend where the cause of the alarm is unknown.

Why we charge

The scheme was introduced in 2014 to reduce unnecessary calls and encourage better management and maintenance of automatic fire alarm systems.

A charge will apply when:

  • We attend the tenth false alarm at the same site within 12 months
  • All subsequent false alarm call outs thereafter

This will not apply to domestic properties or care homes.

Temporary suspension of charge

We have temporarily suspended the £326 (+VAT) charge. The London Safety Plan is out for consultation until 30th January 2017 and includes proposals for changes to the charging process.

We will review the feedback we receive from the consultation and expect to introduce a revised charging process later in the year.

How you can help

The person(s) responsible for the fire alarm system should have arrangements in place that include:

  • Where the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order applies, carry out the required fire safety risk assessment
  • An appropriate maintenance contract should be in place, including action to identify the cause of false alarms and reduce such incidents as necessary
  • Review false alarm incidents to identify and resolve issues, particularly where they have a common cause or a single event is triggering repeated false alarms over a particular period of time
  • Ensure the fire alarm is designed and installed appropriately for the use of the premises. Make appropriate changes as necessary
  • Staff training should ensure all staff follow the agreed process when responding to an alarm incident
  • Consider an on-site filtering process that prevents false alarms from being transmitted to emergency services unnecessarily
  • Where an alarm monitoring company is employed, co-operate to make use of call-back facilities if appropriate; share information on incident data, ensure key holders can attend an incident in good time
  • If you have good reason to suspect a fire and you cannot readily identify the cause, call 999. If it was a false alarm, consider action that could prevent unnecessary calls to the fire brigade in the future
  • In the event of a fire, always make a call confirming the fire to 999

Let us help you

We can provide advice on reducing calls to false alarm incidents. Contact your borough team for further information. 

How to appeal if you are charged

To appeal a charge you must be able to demonstrate why the incident does not comply with the chargeable criteria detailed in Section 18C of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 as amended by the Localism Act 2011.

Appeals must be received within 28 days of receipt of the invoice and clearly indicate why you believe the incident does not comply with the chargeable criteria outlined in the act.