FIREFIGHTERS will no longer respond to alerts from fire alarms at more than 20,000 businesses and organisations in the county.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service will not attend fire alarm activations at 21,000 non-residential properties between 9am and 5pm during weekdays unless it receives a call to confirm there is a fire.

Responses to hospitals, schools, residential care and flats about four storeys have not been affected by the changes.

Rick Hylton, area commander, said: "More than 20,000 businesses/organisations will be affected and letters have been posted to these addresses to inform them.

"At these addresses, only confirmed fires will be attended by a fire engine between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. We will continue attending automatically outside of these hours.

"The reason we have made the change is because these types of call place an additional burden on our resources and can delay us from attending genuine emergencies.

"Over the last five years, 98 per cent of calls to automatic fire alarms prove to be false alarms. A fire alarm's primary function is to notify the occupants of a potential problem, not to contact the fire service."

INFORMATION: If you are unsure if the changes affect them or need further information, visit www.cambsfire.gov.uk or e-mail feedback@cambsfire.gov.uk