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UFAS Consultation


The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) closed its 12-week consultation on Monday, 11October where it sought the views from the people of Scotland on the Service’s response to automatic fire alarms.

Each year, the SFRS attends more than 28,000 false alarms from workplace automatic fire alarms, known as AFAs. The aim of the consultation was to gather views on the options, reduce the number of false alarms attended and allow firefighters to use that time to do more for the communities of Scotland.

The consultation received around 600 responses from members of the public, staff, partner agencies and businesses who may be impacted by the Services proposals.

We are grateful to our partners and members of the public for sharing their views on our proposals.  UFAS alerts account for almost one third of fire and rescue activity across Scotland. They place a drain on front line services, increase risk to road users and cause interruption to the business sector and communities.

If we can change how we respond to these alerts, potentially 64,000 hours per year of our staff’s time can be released for other activities, including training and developing firefighters with additional skills to meet the changing needs of Scotland and help keep people safer than ever before. We will also be able to invest more time to support workplaces and prevent false alarms from happening by working with those who have a legal responsibility for fire safety, known as a duty holder, to understand their obligations.

The SFRS will now analyse and consider all responses before a report, with the recommended preferred option, is prepared for the SFRS Board’s consideration in December 2021.

The SFRS will look to start implementing any changes in 2022, through a carefully planned and managed approach, which will include working with stakeholders and staff directly affected by any changes implemented.

Why change?

Changing the way we respond to AFAs in the workplace will allow us to use our resources more effectively and help to make our communities even safer. This means freeing up staff time so firefighters are available to deal with real emergencies. We will also invest more time on other activities such as training and prevention work. 

Chief Officer Martin Blunden explains more:

This consultation is not about how we respond to fire alarm signals from private homes and we will continue to respond to these.

Get involved

Read our consultation document and consider our proposed options. It’s important that you fully understand how things might change before you share your views.

Watch the videos that explain the three options, exemptions and call challenge. 

UFAS Consultation: Call Challenge Explained


UFAS Consultation: Exemptions Explained


UFAS Consultation: Option A Explained


UFAS Consultation: Option B Explained


UFAS Consultation: Option C Explained

Make your voice heard and take part in our short survey before 11.59pm on Monday 11 October.

Help us make Scotland an even safer country for everyone.

More Information

Find more information in our FAQs.

Read and download the following documents:

Time for Change: Reducing Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals - Summary document

Time for Change: Reducing Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals - Plain text version

Time for Change: Reducing Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals Survey - Plain text version

UFAS Time For Change Consultation document – Gaelic PDF

UFAS Time For Change Consultation document – Gaelic Word document - this also includes the survey form in Gaelic for completion 

Get In Touch

You can get in touch with questions or comments relating to this consultation via the contact details below.

Or to receive a printed copy of ‘Time for Change: Reducing Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals’ and the consultation survey or in an alternative format including large print or translations, please:

  • write to FREEPOST SFRS Communications, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Westburn Drive, Cambuslang, Glasgow G72 7NA 

What will your response help to achieve?

An analysis of responses to this consultation, including a preferred option, will be considered by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Board in December 2021.

Any changes to service delivery will be implemented from early 2022 in a carefully managed process and in partnership with directly affected stakeholders.