Firefighters in East Renfrewshire will no longer respond to all incidents involving automatic alarms after a public consultation backed plans to reduce unnecessary callouts.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said crews of up to nine are routinely mobilised to false alarms.

However, from April next year, the SFRS will establish if Automatic Fire Alarms (AFAs) in workplaces have been triggered by an actual fire before sending a crew.

Hospitals, residential care homes and “sleeping risk” premises will remain exempt and crews will continue to be sent to any fire alarm activations in these facilities.

Stuart Stevens, SFRS Assistant Chief Officer, said: “False alarms account for almost one-third of fire and rescue activity across Scotland. They place a drain on frontline services, increase risk to road users and cause interruption to the business sector and communities.

“Making this change means we can carry out more training, community safety and fire prevention activity, as well as improving road safety and reducing our carbon impact.

“These unnecessary blue light journeys bring risks to our crews, other road users and pedestrians, as well as impacting the environment.

“Businesses will also experience less disruption, as they no longer need to wait for us to attend to give the all-clear after a false alarm.”

Between 2015/16 and 2019/20, the SFRS responded to an annual average of 28,479 unwanted fire alarm signals (UFAS) caused by alarms in workplaces.

Mr Stevens added: “The legal responsibility for dealing with an AFA alert lies with the duty holder of a property and most UK fire and rescue services now seek confirmation of a fire before attending.

“Now the SFRS is making this change too.”