FIREFIGHTERS in Helensburgh are set to stop responding automatically to “unwanted fire alarm” signals at local workplaces.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has announced changes to their rules around unwanted fire alarms (UFAs) because of a high number of unnecessary callouts.

The new rules require workplaces to have nominated 'duty holders' to investigate the cause of an alarm - and who should only call 999 if a fire is confirmed at the premises.

The changewill affect all premises and businesses who do not provide sleeping accommodation.

Hospitals, care homes, hotels, student accommodation and domestic dwellings will continue to receive the current level of emergency response.  

David Farries, SFRS assistant chief officer and director of service delivery, said: “As we approach July, we need our business community and dutyholders to ensure they are fully aware of the imminent changes to the way we will respond to unwanted fire alarm signals.

“We will continue to work with dutyholders to help them better understand their obligations, but I must stress the importance of having adequate training in place for staff and ensuring appropriate fire safety provisions are in place within business premises.

“We have a wealth of supportive information on our website, and I would strongly recommend dutyholders familiarise themselves with this guidance, if they have not already done so.”

The SFRS says its crews attended an average of 80 UFAs every day last year.

They say they hope the new system will free up more time for firefighters to undertake training and fire safety prevention work.

Mr Farries added: “By changing our response to these types of incidents, we can potentially free up 64,000 hours every year giving firefighters more time for other activities, such as training and fire safety prevention work.

"However, there are benefits to businesses too by preventing these incidents from happening in the first place.

“On average, every unwanted fire alarm signal interrupts business for around 27 minutes each time.”

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service decided to change their policy on UFAs after a public consultation in 2021.

Online advice is available for employers and dutyholders here: