3. Exemptions

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service do not automatically respond to investigate fire alarm activations in non-residential premises between the hours of 8am and 6pm, 7 days of the week. However this will not affect premises with an exemption

You can read more about this change by following this link: AFA Policy change

We will continue to respond to premises with an exemption at all times of the day, seven days of the week. There are two types of exemption that you can apply for. 

Fire Alarm Exemption

To be considered for this exemption, your fire alarm system must meet certain criteria. You will need to provide:

  • Certification confirming that the fire alarm detection system has been installed to BS 5839 Part 1 or equivalent standard (preferably with third party accreditation);
  • Evidence that the fire alarm detection system is serviced and maintained in compliance with the recommendations of BS 5839 Part 1 or equivalent standard;
  • Certification confirming that a fire signal output is only obtained when at least two independent triggering signals are present at the same time (preferably with third party accreditation). This is referred to as a ‘Coincidence Alarm’ in BS5839.

Where such a system is provided in premises, and approved by the Fire Safety Team, CDDFRS will respond in accordance with the full pre-determined attendance at all times of the day, seven days of the week.

Exceptional Exemption 

You can apply for this exemption for your premises if:

  • The premises does not meet the criteria for Fire Alarm Exemption;
  • The Responsible Person for the premises believes that there are exceptional circumstances. 

You will need to explain the exceptional circumstances in full.

Applying for an Exemption

All applications are considered on an individual basis and will also consist of a full audit of your premises under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005; to note, a broadly compliant audit outcome is required as part of the exemption process.

Remember, it is not the responsibility of the Fire and Rescue Service to evacuate your premises. This must be part of your organisation’s Fire Evacuation Strategy and Evacuation Procedures should be practised regularly to ensure that they are timely and fit for purpose.

Exemption applications based solely on the need to evacuate users of the premises will not be granted.

Exemptions will be reviewed and may be withdrawn following any mobilisation to false alarms.

Please send Exemption application to Firesafety@ddfire.gov.uk