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Automatic Fire Alarm Consultation 2024  

Royal Berkshire Fire Authority is asking people to consider how their fire and rescue service responds to Automatic Fire Alarms as part of a public consultation. The consultation will run from Monday, 4 March to Monday, 13 May 2024.  

The consultation, which will run for 10 weeks, is asking for people’s views on how their fire and rescue service responds to Automatic Fire Alarms in buildings such as shops, offices, leisure centres, colleges, sports grounds, libraries, schools and health centres. A full list of all buildings affected by the consultation is available on the RBFRS website.   

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service will continue to send fire engines to automatic fire alarm notifications at higher risk buildings, where anyone sleeps, such as hotels, hospitals, care homes, houses, and flats. Most importantly, the Service will continue to maintain an emergency response to 999 calls, confirmed fires and to automatic fire alarm notifications from residential homes.  

RBFRS needs to change the way it responds to automatic fire alarm notifications to ensure communities and firefighters are kept safe. This is because 99% of the automatic fire alarm calls received are false alarms. Attending these types of incidents takes time and resource and therefore causes significant disruption to the delivery of essential services and training.   

The Fire Authority is encouraging as many people as possible to have their say on the three options detailed within the Automatic Fire Alarm Consultation Document. For all the proposed options in the consultation, there is the same change to how the Service responds to category A buildings (for example; shops, offices, warehouses, leisure centres, colleges and universities). For category B buildings (for example; libraries, primary and secondary schools and doctors’ surgeries), there are a number of options proposed for consideration.

Chair of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, Councillor Jeff Brooks, said: “False alarms account for 45% of all the incidents we attend and the majority of these are the result of Automatic Fire Alarm systems, of which we know 99% require no action by our service.   

“This causes significant disruption to the delivery of essential services and training, therefore on balance, and in line with national changes to how all fire and rescue services are responding to automatic fire alarms, we recognise that we need to change the way we respond to automatic fire alarm notifications to ensure our communities and our firefighters are kept safe.  

“The proposed changes do not offer monetary savings – our focus is solely on reducing risk by minimising disruption to key activities. No decisions have been made and your feedback will be vital for the decision-making process.” 

To take part in the consultation, residents can:  

The Service will also be holding online Q&A sessions as part of the consultation, which will take place on:  

Additional dates added:

1 May 2024 between 4pm-5pm;

7 May 2024 between 2pm-3pm; and

9 May 2024 between 12pm-1pm.

Residents’ can register in advance for these sessions on the RBFRS website.   

Alternative Formats 


The web version has been created to be more accessible, easier to search, and can be translated into different languages using the Google Translate tool on RBFRS’ website. Additionally, the survey is available in a selection of languages. If you need the survey in an alternative language, please contact us.

Romanian – Survey

Urdu Survey

Punjabi Survey

Polish Survey

After the consultation has closed, all feedback received will be conscientiously considered by the Fire Authority at a meeting in June 2024.