AFA Procedure

Automatic Fire Alarm panel

Tri-Service Automatic Fire Alarm Procedure

Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service in conjunction with our Tri-Service partners, Derbyshire & Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Services, will be adopting a new unwanted fire signals procedure.

Attending false alarm calls is a resource intensive drain on our organisation and diverts us away from those that may need us most in emergency situations. It also impacts on the vital prevention work and training we undertake, whilst increasing the risk to other road users and the environment through increased numbers of fire appliance blue light journeys.

During 2017, we attended over 3000 calls to Automatic Fire Alarms (AFA) which turned out to be false alarms. This generated costs to our organisation in the region of £900,000.

We are committed to attending fires as quickly and as effectively as our resources permit, however a distinction needs to be made between a confirmed emergency call, where the caller is certain that our assistance is required, and an unconfirmed fire alarm generated by an automatic system.

To reduce the impact of AFA activations on our organisation, from 3rd December 2018 we will be undertaking call challenging 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This call challenging will place emphasis on the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) or Fire Alarm Monitoring Organisation (FAMO) to gather additional information from the occupier through further investigation of the premises. The outcome of this investigation will determine if an attendance will be made by us or not.

As an organisation we recognise that some premises present a greater risk to life and to the wider economic community of Nottinghamshire, as such we have determined that the following premises types will be exempt from call challenging as part of this procedure:

  • Domestic premises including Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO);
  • Residential flats;
  • Sheltered housing;
  • Residential care and nursing homes;
  • Local Primary Care Trust Hospitals and Private Hospitals which have sleeping on site;
  • Hotels during night-time hours only (21:00hrs - 08:00hrs) , During the day, hotels will be call challenged;
  • Other sleeping risks;
  • Sites that present a greater risk of injury to firefighters due to the hazards on site and where we have gathered detailed risk information;
  • Heritage sites listed as Grade I or Grade II by Historic England;
  • High rise premises with sleeping risk;
  • A premises not conforming to the above criteria but is locally determined to be unsuitable for call challenging


Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service are keen to support businesses and organisations through this transitional period and beyond. If you wish to discuss these changes in further detail or have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us either by email or by calling 0115 8388205


A copy of the AFA Tri-Service procedure is available by clicking here.

A set of frequently asked questions and responses can be accessed by clicking here.

Additional information from the National Fire Chiefs Council on reducing unwanted fire signals can be accessed by clicking here.



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