Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

Our Mission: Safer Stronger Communities - Safe Effective Firefighters.

Welcome to the Automatic Fire Alarm (AFA) Working Group

In 2012 Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MF&RS) changed its protocol for responding to fire calls generated from actuations of Automatic Fire Alarm (AFA) systems.

The key change to the protocol is that MF&RS will no longer send an emergency response to AFA actuations unless a back-up 999 call is received confirming that there is a fire.

Following concerns raised during consultation with stakeholders MF&RS agreed to phase in the implementation to allow responsible persons sufficient time to address any necessary changes in the management of fire safety in their premises.

PHASE 1: From 1 November 2012 to 31 October 2013 MF&RS protocol:

Between 7.30am and 7.30pm no longer send an emergency response to AFA actuations unless a back-up 999 call is received confirming that there is a fire.

PHASE 2: From 1 November 2013 MF&RS protocol:

The full protocol is applied regardless of the time of the day.


All exempted premises will continue to receive a full emergency response to all actuations of their Automatic Fire Alarm systems. Exemptions apply to both Phase 1 and Phase 2.


  •  All residential property - where the responsibility for the safety of the occupiers rests with the individuals who reside there.
  •  All Sheltered Housing, HiMO, and Multi-storey accommodation.

Double-knock Alarm Systems: British Standard for Fire Alarms BS 5839 part 1 coincidence actuation systems, if installed, will generate a full attendance.

Sleeping Risk: All sleeping risk premises such as hospitals, care homes, hostels and hotels will be exempt during night time hours only (Between 7.30am and 7.30pm).

Exception exemptions: Any request for an exemption due to significant risks will be considered by the Community Fire Protection exemption panel.

Any premises abusing their exempted status may have their exemption revoked.


If you hold responsibility for the fire safety management of any premises in Merseyside then you should:

  • Refresh your fire risk assessment to account for the changes outlined above;
  • Train your staff to safely investigate actuations of your AFA system;
  • Ensure that all persons on your premises are aware that in the event of a fire (or physicals signs of fire) being discovered or reported, a 999 back-up call should always and immediately be made;
  • If you are the responsible person and you have risk concerns for your premises as a result of the new MF&RS protocol that could put lives at risk then please contact without to delay to discuss the possibility of an exceptional exemption.

On your right you will find links to more information on the approach and other related areas, if this information does not answer your query/concerns please contact

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