The Service intends to review and refresh its policy and attendance to incidents where an Automatic Fire Alarm (AFA) system is present in the premises and has activated.
In 2017/18, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service received 4,918 emergency calls.
45% of these calls (2,216) were false alarms, of which 67% (1,482) were caused by AFAs, often due to dust getting into a detector, or the wrong type of detector is installed in a building, causing it to operate unnecessarily. This number has fallen slightly on previous years.
AFAs and unwanted fire signals can have a major impact on the fire and rescue service, business, and the wider community.
Risks of attending AFA false alarms
The Service intends to review how it responds to road traffic collisions (RTCs). The review will focus on:
- The level of road traffic collision risk and 999 demand in Suffolk
- The type of fire engines provided
- The equipment carried on those fire engines
- RTC training provided for firefighters
- Modern vehicle technologies and emerging risks
The number of road traffic collisions (RTC) attended by the fire and rescue service has decreased from an average of 479 each year between 1994 and 1998, to 313 in 2017/18. Since 2013/14 the number has remained broadly the same, with only small annual variations. Road traffic collisions represent only about 6-7% of all 999 incidents attended. Almost all fire service response to road traffic collisions leads to us working in partnership with Suffolk Constabulary and the East of England Ambulance Service.
The Service has continued to evolve its approach to road traffic collisions to ensure fire engines, equipment and training has kept pace with new vehicle technology. This technology includes safety systems such as multiple airbags, passenger restraints and vehicle compartment strength, and an increasing range of vehicle fuel systems. These developments have changed the nature of incidents attended, injuries sustained, extrication techniques, and immediate priorities for those firefighters first on scene.
Every fire engine in Suffolk has trained firefighters and equipment to deal with road traffic collisions. In addition to standard fire engines, the Service has six ‘Pump Rescue Tenders’ and three ‘Emergency Rescue Tenders’ located strategically across the county. These vehicles carry more specialist rescue equipment for dealing with road traffic collisions, including those involving heavy good vehicles. 2018/19 has seen every fire engine provided with new and significantly improved battery-operated rescue equipment, replacing older rescue tools that had reached the end of their operational life.
Alongside these 999 emergency response arrangements, the Service carries out a broad range of road traffic collision prevention work, focussed at those drivers most at risk, including young male drivers and
motorcyclists. Much of this prevention work takes place in partnership through the Suffolk RoadSafe partnership board with Suffolk Constabulary and Suffolk County Council.
We will use this information to review and refresh our approach to provide the best response to those living, working and travelling through Suffolk, in addition to improving the safety of our firefighters and other emergency responders.