Cleveland Fire Brigade pilot new scheme to reduce false alarms

It's hoped the pilot will reduce the number of false alarms Credit: PA

Cleveland Fire Brigade will not attend automatic fire alarms at 'low-to-medium risk' buildings unless a 999 call is made.

It's part of a year-long pilot scheme to reduce the number of false alarms crews are called out to.

Fire chiefs said they are changing the way they respond to the automatic alarms to ensure resources are available to tackle real incidents.

It will mean Cleveland Fire Brigade will not attend accidental fire alarms at low and medium risk premises at any point during the day or night, unless a backup call is received from the premises via the 999 system, confirming there is a fire.

Cleveland Fire Brigade

Low-to-medium risk premises include:

  • Schools

  • Industrial

  • Business and commercial premises

  • Leisure complexes

  • Hotels

  • Halls of residence

  • Other public buildings

High-risk, special-risk and residential properties will receive a fire engine to investigate the cause of the alarm, while some businesses may be exempt from the changes if there are exceptional circumstances. 

The pilot comes following a previous change to response implemented in May 2019, which saw a reduction to attendance at 139 automatic fire alarm calls in 2019-20, which allowed resources to be directed to other areas.

The fire brigade previously had a policy in place which meant between 7am and 6pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sundays they would not attend automatic alarms to low and medium risk premises unless a 999 call was made.

Cleveland Fire Authority considered and agreed the pilot scheme extending the strategy, having reviewed the impact assessment and consulted with businesses and the wider local community. 


Since the introduction of the strategy back in 2017 we have seen a 29% reduction in calls where there were no fires. This means resources are available to respond to real incidents, deliver our prevention and protection activities and we can undertake training and development. 

Joe Flounders, head of fire engineering

The pilot scheme commenced at the start of this month and will last for 12 months.