Date Published : January 2nd, 2014 Published By : adminLondon Fire Brigade is to be the first fire authority in the UK to charge firms for call-outs to false alarms. Since yesterday, January 1st London Fire Brigade (LFB) will be claiming back call out costs to false alarms from firms and buildings from those responsible for the fire alarm systems where crews respond to false alarms 10 times or more in a 12 month period.
The £290-plus-VAT penalty, which will not hit domestic properties or care homes, will apply to buildings across London. LFB were re-called to 403 locations more than ten times due to false alarms in the last financial year. If the fees were in place, the fire authority would have recovered about £800,000, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) confirmed.
Charges to hospitals, which are by far the biggest culprits in unnecessary call-outs, would have added up to nearly £500,000 being paid back to the LFB and it would also have given fire crews more time to spend on training and community safety.
LFEPA Chairman James Cleverly said “The public deserve and expect fire-fighters to be available to attend genuine emergencies rather than attending thousands of false alarms. The vast bulk of automatic fire alarm calls turn out not to be fires, these are often caused by poor management or maintenance of alarm systems.”
The LFB, which was called out more than 70 times to false alarms last year by London hospitals, have revealed some of the worst offenders in 2012-2013.
St. Georges Hospital in Tooting tops the list with 136 false alarms followed by Kings College Hospital in Denmark Hill with 129 and Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield with 128.
The Royal London Hospital in the East End made 98 false alarms, while the Hillingdon Hospital and Ealing Hospital, each made 94.
There were 87 false alarms from the Homerton Hospital in Hackney and 79 from the Royal Free Hospital in Belsize Park, according to LFB.
London Fire Brigade hopes the charges will lead to better maintained fire alarms so they do not go off so often and so unnecessarily.
Colleges and university, with 98 penalties, would have faced £28,420 payout along with the £26,100 charge that would have been levied upon nurses and doctors accommodation who would have had 90 penalties.
Source: London Fire Brigade