BUSINESSES could soon be charged for false alarm calls which waste fire brigade time and resources.

West Yorkshire Fire Service is currently consulting firms on who should pay for non-genuine call-outs.

Fire chiefs are contacting more than 2,000 businesses and organisations asking for their views.

New Government legislation means fire authorities can now charge for attending false automatic alarm calls.

This includes when there is no fire or the alarm is faulty or there is a persistent problem with the system.

West Yorkshire Fire Service has warned that repeatedly being turned out to false alarms takes them away from real emergencies and does not give taxpayers value for money.

Fire chiefs previously revealed that in the past 12 months the brigade was called out to 228 premises which had more than three false alarms.

This included 88 calls to schools, 41 to hospitals and 21 to care homes.

In the same period, fire chiefs have revealed that 12 different premises had more than 20 false alarms – 11 of them hospitals.

It was estimated that a charge of £350 plus VAT could recoup £500,000 a year for the fire service.

Assistant chief fire officer Craig McIntosh said: “I hope that businesses will take part in the consultation and give us their honest view.

“It is important to understand that the charge would only be levied in specific circumstances.

“This would be for business premises only, not false calls to people’s homes, and it would only apply if the automatic alarm was repeatedly and falsely calling us out due to there being a malfunction or an incorrect installation.

“We would welcome the opinion of organisations throughout the county.”

The authority says while there has been a reduction in the number of false calls it remains a “major concern.”

On average, West Yorkshire Fire Service attends more than 5,000 calls to commercial premises each year as a result of a fire alarm activation – with 98.7% proving to be false.

In real terms, that is 4,935 attendances per year, or almost 14 false alarm calls every day.

The authority says false alarms are also damaging to business.

Persistent false alarms instil complacency among the workforce and downtime caused by evacuations can prove costly.

To take part in the consultation, which will run for two months. go to: