We work closely with our communities to prevent fires and other emergencies from happening, but it’s important for your home or business premises to be prepared just in case.
At home, you should have at least one smoke alarm on each floor, especially outside sleeping areas. All alarms must carry the British Standards kitemark:
If needed, we can arrange a home visit and fit a smoke alarm for you.
Test your smoke alarms once a month by pressing the TEST button. If the ceiling is high, use a broom handle or pole to push the button.
Dust builds up over time, so gently vacuum your alarms once a year.
Landlords are required by law to make sure their properties are fitted with working smoke alarms.
This video highlights the importance of having working smoke alarms to give early warning of fire. It includes a recording of a real 999 call reporting a serious house fire in Newcastle, where a family was trapped upstairs:
Our response to Automatic Fire Alarms
However, they can also be the cause of false alarms. This means that fire crews are not available to attend genuine emergencies where people’s lives may be at risk, or to carry out training or community safety work to help prevent fires from happening in the first place.
For this reason, we do not respond to investigate AFA calls from non-residential premises between 8am and 6pm (including bank holidays).
We will always respond to calls 24 hours a day if:
- a back up call is received through 999 reporting a fire or signs of fire (such as a smell of burning)
- you have been granted an exemption by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service
We will always respond to:
- single private domestic dwellings and sheltered accommodation schemes
- other residential premises such as hostels, hotels and care homes
- education premises such as universities, colleges and schools including pre-schools and nurseries
- registered Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) sites
- premises who have successfully applied to us for exemption (see ‘Exemption Criteria’ tab below for further information).
Our AFA response policy applies to calls received directly from premises and through alarm receiving centres.
Contact us for more information on our AFA response policy or applying for exemption.
We recommend that automatic sprinkler systems are fitted where appropriate, in both business premises and in our homes.
Information gathered from every Fire Service in the UK shows that sprinkler systems:
- contain or put out the fire in 99% of cases
- reduce damage to residential properties by 75%
- reduce damage to non-residential properties by around 50%
- are very reliable – the probability that a system will operate as it should is 94% across all buildings
Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill quickly and without warning.