Firefighters see a fall in number of calls to false alarms across Wirral

Wirral Globe: A notice detailing fire service's risk-based approach is displayed at Birkenhead fire station. Picture: Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MF&RS) A notice detailing fire service's risk-based approach is displayed at Birkenhead fire station. Picture: Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MF&RS)

THE number of false alarms attended by Wirral firefighters fell by almost 50% over the last year, according to new figures.

Since October of 2012, there were 488 false alarms across the borough compared to 925 during the same period from 2011.

It means a fall of more than 47% since the introduction of “risk-based approach” to automatic alarms.

The change means not all alarm calls are responded by sending out a fire crew, and are now being challenged 24-hours a day.

Deputy chief fire officer Phil Garrigan said: "Although we are encouraged with the reduction in false alarms, we want to reduce the numbers even further.

"We need to have fire appliances available to respond to actual fires and emergencies, particularly as public spending cuts have seen the service reduce the number of its frontline appliances from 42 down to 28.

"There is no legal requirement for Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service to respond to calls originating from automatic systems."

Area manager Myles Platt said: "We have seen a 50% reduction across Merseyside so far in false alarms, which is improving as responsible persons work with us to prevent these occurring from automatic alarm systems.

"Our risk-based approach has been phased in during the last 12 months and it is reducing the disruption caused to business as well as to us.

"The fewer false alarms our firefighters are attending, the more they are freed up for more community safety work, training and risk identification visits."

He continued: “We understand this risk-based approach creates challenges for businesses and other building owners but, at a time of reducing resources and budgets, this is about having the resources ready and available for actual emergencies.

"Any responsible people with specific concerns about specific buildings should contact us directly.

All sleeping accommodation, such as hospitals, hotels and nursing/residential homes, will receive an immediate response during night-time hours, from 7.30pm to 7.30am.

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