1. Automatic Fire Alarms

County Durham and Darlington Fire Rescue Service (CDDFRS) will not automatically respond to investigate fire alarm activations in non-residential premises between the hours of 8am and 6pm, 7 days of the week.

For more information, please watch the below video and scroll down for the full detailed procedure, including lists of the premises included in this change and the actions that should be taken in these premises.  

CDDFRS will always respond to calls 24 hours a day if: 

  • A confirmation call is received through 999/112 reporting a fire or signs of fire (such as a smell of burning). Any call received reporting a confirmed fire or signs of fire will receive the full pre-determined attendance;
  • A premises has been granted an exemption by CDDFRS (see below for further details on exemptions).

CDDFRS will always respond to:

  • Single private domestic dwellings and sheltered accommodation schemes;
  • Other residential premises such as hostels, hotels and care homes;
  • Registered Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) sites;
  • Prisons;
  • Known heritage sites; (A list of these can be found by following this link: Known Heritage Site List)
  • Premises who have successfully applied to CDDFRS for an exemption.

CDDFRS will also respond to educational premises such as universities, colleges and schools including pre-schools on weekends, bank holidays and during school holiday periods (as detailed on the Durham County Council website for education premises in County Durham www.durham.gov.uk/schoolholidays and as detailed on Darlington Borough Council website for education premises in Darlington Borough www.darlington.gov.uk/education-and-learning/school-years/school-holiday-dates). 

The AFA response policy will apply to calls received directly from premises and calls received through alarm receiving centres.

Does this affect my building? What do I need to do?

Firstly, decide if this police change affects you. There is no change in our response to an automatic fire alarm system within residential premises and premises with an exemption. We will continue to respond at all times of the day, seven days of the week.

For a full list of premises classed as non-residential follow this link: Non-residential Premises List

For more information on AFA exemptions follow this link: AFA Exemptions

If you are responsible for a non-residential premises listed and do not have an exemption, then you will need to:

  • Ensure you have procedures in place to safely investigate the source of a fire alarm activation between the hours of 08:00 and 18:00 hours 7 days a week.
  • Ensure your staff are aware of the procedures and trained to safely investigate the source of an alarm and make a back-up 999/112 call.
  • Ensure that you update your procedures with your alarm monitoring company, so they are aware of our updated response to automatic fire alarms.
  • If your updated procedure requires keyholders to be contacted to respond outside your hours of opening, ensure your keyholder details are up to date with your alarm monitoring company.
  • Consider if you would like to apply for an exemption.