Change to Automatic Fire Alarm response will ‘help keep communities in West Yorkshire safer’

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is bringing in changes to reduce hours being wasted on false alarms.

 Automatic Fire Alarm (AFA)

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will no longer attend automatic fire alarm (AFA) call outs to commercial premises unless there has been a 999 call to confirm there is a fire or signs of fire. The changes have been announced to come into force from March 18th, 2024, and will cover spaces such as leisure facilities and businesses (including shops and factories).

WYFRS wishes to reassure the public that spaces where people sleep, such as hospitals and care homes will still receive an automatic response – where fire crews will be triggered as soon as the alarm goes off – alongside other key sites such as educational facilities, heritage buildings and chemical factories.

Over the last five years, AFA’s which were false alarms accounted for around 30% of all WYFRS operational activity. Only a small proportion (less than 2%) of these fire alarms result in a fire being found on attendance. The thousands of hours saved will be invested into community prevention work and operational training. We hope these changes will lead to improvements in fire cover as fire engines will be available for other incident types when not responding to fire alarms.

Project manager for the change, District Commander Benjy Bush said: “This update to our response will be a wholly positive thing for our communities in West Yorkshire – we are spending thousands of hours, and thousands of pounds attending these incidents where many times poorly maintained alarms or accidental triggers are the cause and tying up our resources for significant periods of time. These hours and this money could be far better spent protecting West Yorkshire’s communities so we’re bringing ourselves in line with other Fire and Rescue Services across the country and stopping attending AFA’s in certain buildings, without secondary confirmation of a fire.

“That basically means that our control room operators will ask for confirmation of an actual fire, or signs of fire such as the smell of smoke or sight of flames before they will deploy a crew.

To assist people who are responsible for buildings, we have plenty of advice on our website about how to best maintain and manage your alarms. – this guidance should greatly minimise the likelihood of a false alarm.

“Finally, we’d like to reassure the public that we will still be responding to AFAs where there is a risk to life, such as places where people sleep, high risk chemical sites and educational sites such as schools and colleges. We must balance all our operational resources with getting the taxpayer value for money, while keeping the public completely safe – and these changes to AFA response will improve the efficiency of the service”.

For more information on AFA’s you can visit our website HERE – or if you have an enquiry about how the changes may affect you then email