London Fire Brigade’s Updated Response Policy to Automatic Fire Alarms from 1st October

16 July 2024

London Fire Brigade’s Updated Response Policy to Automatic Fire Alarms from 1st October

a picture of fire trucks on a london street

Starting October 1st, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) will no longer automatically respond to automatic fire alarms (AFAs) in most non-residential buildings, such as offices and industrial estates, during daytime hours unless a fire is confirmed by a direct call from an individual.

Responsibilities for Building Managers:

  • Check Exemptions: Managers should determine if their building is exempt from this new policy by consulting the LFB’s automatic fire alarm exemptions page.
  • Implement Best Practices: Conduct regular fire risk assessments, establish an emergency plan, and ensure all employees are familiar with fire safety protocols.
  • Emergency Protocol: In the event of a confirmed fire, evacuate immediately and call 999 to report the fire.

For detailed guidance, visit the LFB’s workplace resources pages.

Adjustments for Alarm Receiving Centres and Responsible Persons:

  • Distinguish Alarms: It’s crucial for Alarm Receiving Centre teams and Responsible Persons to differentiate between false alarms and actual fires.
  • Communicate Exemptions: The designated Responsible Person must inform the LFB of any exemptions during an emergency call.

The LFB will respond to confirmed fires in commercial buildings during daytime hours if the fire is reported or if the building is exempt from the policy.

Training and Compliance:

  • Staff Training: The LFB does not provide fire safety training. Businesses are responsible for complying with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which requires adequate fire safety training for employees in England and Wales.

Exemptions and Policy Reviews:

  • Current Policy: Currently, there are no plans to review the exemptions. However, future policies might include periodic reviews to identify and exempt high-risk buildings.
  • No Exemption Applications: The LFB is not accepting new exemption applications at this time. For buildings believed to present specific risks, contact the local Borough or Prevention and Protection team.

Handling Multi-Use Buildings:

  • Multi-Use Considerations: If an alarm affects areas such as sleeping accommodations or other exempt premises, the LFB will respond. Ensure the specific nature of multi-use buildings is communicated to the nominated Alarm Receiving Centres.
  • Special Cases: Schools will receive responses during the day even if unoccupied. Premises housing animals are not automatically exempt unless specific risks are identified locally.

Reporting and Notifications:

  • Signs of Fire: Report any indications of fire during an alarm activation. For commercial properties without visible fire signs, the LFB will not attend.
  • Inform Insurers: Ensure that your insurer is aware of the LFB’s updated policy. The LFB will continue to respond to confirmed fires.

The LFB’s statutory duties do not include attending automatic fire alarms unless there is suspicion or confirmation of a fire.

For further information, refer to the LFB’s emergency plans and fire safety training guidelines to ensure compliance and safety in your premises.

Please get in touch with us directly if you have any questions or queries.