UFAS and duty holder fire investigation
Fire Investigation and Changes to SFRS UFAS Response from 01/07/2023
The investigation requirement into all fire alarm activations within premises is in response to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) initiative to cease all attendance of Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals (UFAS) throughout Scotland as of the 1 July 2023.
This is a national decision taken by the SFRS to re- assert the Duty holders' responsibilities for Unwanted fire alarm activations and false alarms, this aims to minimise the SFRS attendance to Unwanted fire alarm activations which is limiting their resources and impacting response times to actual identified fire incidents across Scotland.
''SFRS will no longer automatically respond to fire alarm activations the duty holder will be responsible for the fire investigation and the 999 callers will be call challenged for confirmation of Fire, Smoke, Smell, or risk to life prior to SFRS response.
There is no exemption for the building's significance, listing or heritable value, and this re-assertion of the duty-holder's responsibilities will need to be managed locally to minimise the risk to any church buildings.
This will include all church buildings including the ones which are fitted with sophisticated fire detection systems which are monitored via an external ARC (Alarm Receiving Centre). The ARC will still be required to communicate the existence of fire, smoke or smell prior to any fire appliances being dispatched. (They will accept that where the ARC has indicated that more than one detector has been activated within a building that this is a strong indicator of fire and will respond accordingly).
Previously where a fire was suspected, evacuating the building and calling 999 would immediately prompt a response from the fire service and this would ensure the dispatch of fire services to call at the location and carry out the fire investigation and take the necessary actions, this response model will now be replaced with a "Call Challenge" which will require the 999 caller to confirm the existence of Fire/Smoke/Smell prior to the dispatch of the fire services.
You should now review your current fire safety risk assessments and local evacuation procedures and ensure that the duty holder(s) responsible for the fire safety at your building(s) has made suitable and safe arrangements for evacuation and safe fire investigation protocols prior to the 999-emergency call or response to the (ARC) Alarm Receiving Centre.
Please refer to the Activated Fire Alarm (AFA) guidance document attached to the links below to assist with ensuring safe investigation protocols and evacuation of the building(s).
For Further Information and guidance refer to the other fire safety guidance within the online health and safety toolkit or contact:
The General Trustees Fire Safety Officer Robert Speedie on 0131 3766343 or email: email@example.com