The fire service has announced they will no longer respond to calls from automatic fire alarms in business premises during the week, after concerns with the large number of false alarms.

From April 1 Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service will not respond to calls from alarm systems in business premises between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday, unless a fire is confirmed by a 999 call.

Chief fire officer and director of community protection Roy Wilsher said "Attending false alarm calls not only increases the risk to the public, with fire engines driving on blue lights for no good reason, but also means that equipment and crews aren’t available for genuine emergency calls.

"Obviously we will still respond to genuine emergencies and 999 calls. However this change of policy will mean that we spend less time responding to false alarms and more time available to deal with fires when they do break out."

The fire service will continue to respond to automatic alarms overnight and at weekends, when premises are typically unoccupied. Alarms from premises which contain vulnerable people such as hospitals, hostels, care homes and schools are not affected by this new policy.

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