FIRE crews in Barnsley will no longer respond to automatic alarms in commercial businesses – after bosses revealed 97 per cent of related call-outs have been false alarms.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue automatically sends an engine to premises the moment an alarm is triggered but will only attend if it’s a confirmed blaze from January 6.

It will not apply to ‘sleeping risk’ premises like universities, hotels, hospitals, heritage sites or high-rise flats, with fire engines still being automatically deployed to alarms at those premises.

Crews have responded to 3,457 automatic alarms in the last three years across South Yorkshire, with just three per cent of those being recorded as a fire.

Area manager Andy Strelczenie said: “False alarms make up a massive proportion of the incidents firefighters are mobilised to.

“Crews wasted more than 1,000 hours investigating the cause of those false alarms, time which could have been better spent training, working in the community or being available to attend other, genuine incidents.

“While we will always attend incidents when our services are definitely required, our frequent attendance at false alarms disrupts training and increases road risk to firefighters rushing on blue lights to incidents which later turn out to be false alarms.

“It’s long been the responsibility of businesses to ensure their alarm systems are regularly checked and maintained properly and it’s important they do this before the change we’ve outlined comes into force.”