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1 June 2013, 09:02
Firefighters will no longer automatically go to around 21,000 Cambridgeshire businesses when fire alarms go off during office hours.
From today (Saturday) Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service says crews will only be sent if somebody has dialled 999, as 98 percent of business call-outs are false alarms.
The reason given for the change is that false alarms can delay crews from attending genuine emergencies.
Letters have been sent to the premises affected explaining the changes.
Premises such as hospitals, schools, residential care and flats above four storeys are not affected however.
Rick Hylton, Area Commander for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "Over 20,000 businesses/organisations will be affected and letters have been posted to these addresses to inform them.
At these addresses, only confirmed fires will be attended by a fire engine between the hours of 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
We will continue attending automatically outside of these hours.
The reason we have made the change is because these types of call place an additional burden on our resources and can delay us from attending genuine emergencies.
Data over the last five years shows that 98 per cent of all calls to automatic fire alarms prove to be false alarms.
A fire alarm's primary function is to notify the occupants of a potential problem, not to contact the fire service.
Premises should have in place systems to respond to a fire alarm and contact the fire service if needed."