Businesses are being urged to ensure their fire safety procedures are adequate before a major change comes into effect this summer.

The way firefighters respond to ‘unwanted fire alarm signals’ in commercial premises across the local area will be different from the start of July.

When an alarm is activated, premises such as shops, offices and leisure facilities will have to investigate and confirm there is a fire or sign of fire before an emergency crew will be sent to the scene.

Those with fire safety responsibility within a building, known as the dutyholder, are required to investigate the cause of the alarm and call 999 once a fire has been confirmed.

It is only premises with sleeping accommodation, such as care homes, hotels and domestic dwellings, that can expect the current level of emergency response.

David Farries, director of service delivery for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), is urging local businesses to play their part in reducing the number of false alarms that take place.

“These types of incidents account for almost one third of our activity and are often caused by cooking fumes, dust or a lack of maintenance,” he said.

“Responding to false alarms places a significant drain on frontline services and causes lengthy interruptions to workplace and business premises whilst members of the public wait outside buildings for firefighters to confirm there is no fire.”

Investigating each incident can involve nine firefighters and two fire appliances as part of the response.

Mr Farries said that, by changing their response to these types of alarms, firefighters will have more time for other activities, such as training and fire safety prevention work to support local communities.

He added: “More importantly, these measures will ensure that our crews are available to attend real lifesaving emergencies.”

The SFRS is continuing to support commercial workplaces to prevent false alarms by working with dutyholders to make sure they understand their obligations. 

Businesses can also get more information about the changes by visiting