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16 January 2017
Businesses in West Yorkshire have shelled out almost £500,000 in false alarm charges to the local fire service, reports the Huddersfield Examiner.
Since April 2014, the fire service has charged £375 to firms guilty of persistent false alarms, where crews have been called out more than three times in 12 months.
Between 2014 and September 30 last year the fines brought in £444,590, excluding VAT, from 1,262 charges.
The number of false alarms in business premises firefighters responded to during the period totalled 18,375.
The Huddersfield Examiner cites a report to the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Safety Committee, which 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 the service has gained means it has recruited a False Alarm Reduction Officer to work closely with companies to reduce the number of false alarms.