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False Fire Alarms - FAQs

 

FAQs

What is a false fire alarm?

A false fire alarm is when the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is alerted to attend a premises in response to an alarm where there is no fire.

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Why is DFES introducing a fee for attending to false fire alarms?

The fee is part of an overall DFES strategy to minimise the number of false fire alarms attended by firefighters. It is anticipated that reducing the number of false fire alarms will help to resolve the following problems:

  • Firefighters are unable to attend to genuine emergencies if they are attending to false fire alarms;
  • The ineffective use of DFES resources, which means that DFES is not serving the community as effectively as possible; and
  • The increased risk to firefighters and the community when firefighting vehicles are driven under emergency conditions.
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What is the aim of introducing the fee?

The aim of introducing the fee is to encourage owners and occupants to take appropriate steps to avoid false fire alarm activations occurring at their premises. Owners and occupants need to understand their responsibilities where a monitored fire alarm system is installed within their premises.

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How much is the fee?

DFES will charge a fee of $750 per false fire alarm attendance.

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What happens if multiple attendances occur within the same 24 hour period?

If this occurs, the attendances will only be calculated as one (1) attendance to allow owners/occupiers time to rectify the issues causing the false fire alarms. (a 24 hour period is calculated from midnight to midnight)

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When will DFES apply the false fire alarm fee?

The false fire alarm fee will apply after the third false fire alarm attendance to a premises in a financial year. DFES will issue an invoice upon the fourth (4th) false fire alarm attendance and every false fire alarm attendance thereafter.

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Who will receive the invoice?

Under the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1998, DFES is required to issue the invoice to the owner or the occupant of the premises dependant on the circumstances of the alarm.

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What if I receive an invoice and I’m not the correct/current owner or occupant of the premises?

You will need to contact DFES and provide the correct details as well as inform the alarm monitoring company of the changes.

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What power does DFES have to charge for an attendance to a false fire alarm?

The power to charge a fee for the attendance in response to a false fire alarm exists under section 36ZL(1)(d) of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1998.

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How frequently do false fire alarms occur?

In the 2014-15 financial year, firefighters responded to 9,839 false fire alarm activations. This equates to approximately 27 false fire alarm attendances each day.

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Is Western Australia the only State that charges a fee for attending to false fire alarms?

No, Western Australia is the last State/Territory to introduce a false fire alarm fee. All other States/Territories within Australia charge for false fire alarm attendances and have done so for many years.

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Whose responsibility is it to maintain a fire alarm system?

The owner of the premises is responsible for ensuring the fire alarm system and detectors are correctly installed, comply with relevant Australian Standards (AS), suitably placed and regularly maintained in accordance AS1851.

The owner must also ensure the fire alarm system is sufficient and adequate to the current floor plan, layout and purpose of the premises.

The occupant of the premises must also ensure the fire alarm system and detectors are adequately maintained and free of items which may cause a false fire alarm such as cobwebs, dust and insects.

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What if I don’t agree with an invoice I’ve received?

If you believe you have been incorrectly charged a fee for an attendance to a false fire alarm, owners and occupants are able to lodge an Application to Waive a False Fire Alarm Fee, for DFES to reconsider the fee. The application is available by clicking here and can be submitted by:

Mailing it to:

The False Fire Alarm Administrator
Department of Fire and Emergency Services
PO Box 1174
PERTH WA 6844

or via email to: falsefirealarms@dfes.wa.gov.au

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On-Billing

DFES has no control over the practices adopted by the owner of premises in relation to on-billing costs for false fire alarms.

DFES does not support forwarding false fire alarm fees onto a third party. Should this occur, it is a private matter between the two parties.

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