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Fire service may charge owners for false alarms.

Byline: GARETH HUGHES

HOME-OWNERS and companies could find themselves with a bill from the fire service for false alarms.

The Government is consulting fire authorities on charges for special services.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service already hands out bills for dealing with spillages or leaks following road accidents,and for tackling floods in commercial premises.

Since 1996,it has not charged for freeing people trapped or in distress,attending road accidents,chemical or radiation incidents,domestic flooding or for rescuing animals.

The aim of the Government in the Fire and Rescue Services Bill,however, is to introduce a uniform policy. But North Wales Fire Authority's executive panel heard yesterday there was no provision in the Bill for charging for false call-outs from automatic alarms.

``It would be useful tool in driving down the number of false alarms,'' said Assistant Chief Fire Officer Peter Slee.

Anglesey councillor John Chorlton asked whether it was proposed to charge for individual and council-owned homes, but clerk Ian Miller said the details would be discussed at a later stage.

Meanwhile, Coun Chorlton also expressed concern about a move to train fire fighters to near- paramedic level to treat injured people.

He said while he had no objection to the principle he feared it would be the thin end of the wedge and that, with the ambulance service being short of funds, the fire service would be used as a substitute.

Denbighshire councillor David Morris said people injured in an accident would not be concerned about who was helping them,but Coun Chorlton said it also raised concerns about possible legal action if the right treatment was not given.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 23, 2004
Words:274
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