Collectively, businesses in West Yorkshire have been fined nearly £500,000 in false alarm charges. The fire service charges £375 to businesses guilty of persistent false alarms – where crews have been called out over three times in a year.
Between 2014 and September 2016 1,262 charges were made amounting to £444,590 excluding VAT. The number of false alarms fire crews responded to in this period amounted to 18,375. A report to the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Safety Committee states: “The purpose of cost recovery is to drive down the number of false alarms by encouraging those responsible for fire alarms to manage them in an appropriate manner. The introduction of the charging process was always to focus on achieving a reduction in false alarms and not income generation. During the 30 months preceding the implementation of the pilot there were 20,175 false alarm incidents due to apparatus in non-domestic premises. Since the launch of the charging policy on April 1, 2014 there has been a reduction of 1,800 attendances to false alarms which equates to a reduction of 9%.”
The money from the false alarm fines has gone towards recruiting a False Alarm Reduction Officer for the fire service. The job will involve working closely with businesses to reduce the number of false alarms occurring.